In pursuit of increased profitability, sugarcane farmers are always after higher yields, higher sucrose content, extended ratoon life and lower operational costs.
That's why they've been switching to drip irrigation.
There is a lot that you cannot control in a sugarcane field, but if you have a way to control every drop of water and dose of nutrients delivered to the plants – and you can apply both with precise timing – you’ll be able to produce higher and more uniform yields while increasing sucrose content and extending the life of the plantation.
Subsurface drip irrigation goes beneath the soil to deliver water and nutrients straight to the root zone of each plant. This allows uniform delivery of water and nutrients directly to the plant - on demand.
In addition to increasing annual yields, having the crop grow with perfect conditions of water and nutrients significantly extends ratoon life, giving you an average of eight to ten ratoons, and reaching as many as fifteen ratoons with high productivity.
Subsurface drip irrigation fits onto any plot, and can be applied on all topographies, field sizes and soil types. You can maintain optimal soil moisture and nutrient levels, whatever your conditions.
If you invest in digital controls for your system, you’ll be able to monitor, optimise and irrigate remotely, gaining data about every aspect of the field. Wherever you are, you can ensure high, top-quality yields every season, with less labour cost, resulting in bigger profits.
Why should I choose drip irrigation over other methods?
Drip is the irrigation method that brings the best return on investment compared to any other irrigation system. When working with a limited water source it is an easy decision since drip has the highest water-use efficiency. This will allow you to take the water resource further by increasing productivity or allowing you to add more hectares using the same water quantity. Unlike any other irrigation method, it also allows precision application of plant nutrients (Nutrigation™). This boosts yields and extends ratoon life by optimising the use of plant nutrients according to the crop development stage, and by improving overall plantation health.
Should I use surface or subsurface drip irrigation?
Subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) systems are the most recommended solution for large-scale sugarcane production. Compared with on surface systems, SDI has lower labour requirements and lower operational complexity.
On surface systems are best for small to medium-scale sugarcane production. While these systems require a lower initial investment, they do carry a higher operational cost.
If I have a lot of rainfall, will drip still be a good investment?
Definitely. While having ample rainfall is obviously a huge advantage, rain is never timely enough to allow the crop to reach its full yield potential. This is even more evident with sandy soils that have a lower water-holding capacity. On top of that, drip is also a nutrient delivery system that allows you to fertigate and control the nutrient levels in your soil in a precise and economical way. Applying all of your fertiliser in just a few applications can be wasteful, especially under rainy conditions that provoke leaching. Splitting your nutrient application along the season guarantees that your crop gets what it needs when it needs it. This is what makes drip systems the perfect tool for increasing productivity in previously rain-fed plots.
What if I have an uneven topography or irregularly-shaped fields?
Drip irrigation fits all plot shapes and sizes, all soil types and all topographies. You can use pressure-compensating drippers that maintain the same flow rate across different pressure levels, so every plant in the field gets exactly the same amount of water and nutrients no matter the elevation changes or distance from the water source.
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