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Farmbiz Part 2

12 Apr 2016

Netafim advertorial 2

Doing more with less

Drip irrigation is gradually becoming the world’s leading irrigation method for crops with continuous expanding and improving in micro-irrigation technology. But how much do you know about this method of irrigation?

Drip irrigation, discovered by the founder of Netafim, Simcha Blass, allows water to drip slowly to the roots of plants. Water is fed either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters.

Saving for higher yield

According to Netafim, up to 50% of water can be saved by using drip irrigation rather than furrow or flood irrigation. Furthermore, fertigation the injection of fertilizers or other water-soluble products into an irrigation system, can be up to 30% more efficient when used with drip irrigation compared to flood irrigation. Finally, the combination of drip irrigation and fertigation can increase productivity with up to 200%, allowing the farmer to do so much more with so much less. In sugarcane production productivity increases of up to 133% have been tabled when applying these methods.

Water scarcity and recurring droughts has become a theme of many an agricultural conversation and we are all aware of the increasing need for higher food production to ensure food security. The growing concern has therefore placed more and more emphasis on doing more with less. Drip irrigation offers answers to many of the questions arising from this bringing along more efficient water use in the form of less soil evaporation, surface runoff, and many more advantages.

More control, better results

The greatest advantage being total control of water application to crops in terms of quantity, point of application and more. “The inherent ability to apply small irrigation amounts can allow better water-efficient decisions about irrigation events near the end of the cropping season. In widely spaced crops, a smaller fraction of the soil volume can be wetted, thus further reducing unnecessary irrigation water losses,” states a study by Dr. Freddie Lamm Professor of Kansas State University Colby in a study on the advantages and disadvantages of drip irrigation. Further advantages include less water quality hazards as runoff into streams is reduced or eliminated and improved opportunities for use of degraded waters. This is as smaller and more frequent irrigation applications can maintain a more consistent and lower soil matric potential that may reduce salinity hazards. Once again focussing on increased control, greater water application uniformity is yet another advantage which can result in better control of the water, nutrients and salts.

The fact that the farmer has better control of the irrigation, means that weeds can be deprived of water while the crop planted receives the water it needs for growth. Furthermore, lower plant disease occurrence is seen due to a drier and less humid crop canopy as only the necessary water is used.

An ag revolution

The advantages of drip irrigation are countless and the industry have developed rapidly from Blass’ discovery onwards. This discovery has ignited a revolution and is leading the agricultural industry into a new rapidly changing world. The drip industry has evolved for decades and drip irrigation has been installed in 110 countries worldwide. This represents 150 billion drippers covering 10 billion hectares that are maximising yield while saving precious water even in the most challenging climates on a daily basis. As Netafim's drip irrigation solutions rapidly spread worldwide, one innovative product followed another. Each decade brought with it new developments that addressed the changing requirements and demand across the globe. Netafim has been at the forefront of this development for the past 50 years, and with promises of innovation and quality plans to continue to drive growth in this industry.

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