WHAT IS DRIP IRRIGATION METHOD?
The process of providing filtered irrigation water with or without soluble fertilizer into the soil or to the soil surface is called drip irrigation.
DRIP IRRIGATION SYSTEM PARTS
The drippers are the heart of the drip irrigation system. The drippers are made of plastic and are mounted on pipes with the diameter of 12- 32 millimeters which are called Lateral. Drippers drop water to the soil at a flow rate of several liters per hour. A drip irrigation system has the following 4 components apart from the drippers:
– Control Unit
– Main Pipeline
– Submain Pipeline
– Control Unit:
It consists of the filters, which filter the water and fertilizer, pressure gauges (manometer) which control the pressure, valves and fertilizer tanks. There are three filters in the control unit. The first is the Rough Filter (hydro-cyclone), through which the rough materials collapse due to their own weight, the second is Sand-Gravel Filter for the fine material, and the third is the Screen Filter through which very fine materials such as insoluble parts of the fertilizer and the tiny material which passed through the Sand-Gravel Filter.
– Main Pipeline:
Passing through the control unit, the water is conveyed to the submain pipes via the main pipeline. The main pipeline can be paved from PVC polyethylene, galvanized steel or asbestos pipes.
– Submain Pipeline:
It is a pipeline that takes the water from the main pipeline and conveys it to the laterals. The submain pipeline goes over the soil surface in some systems. In this case, the soft (polyethylene) pipe is used. The submain pipeline goes under the ground in other systems. In this case, rigid pipes (PVC or galvanized) are used.
The soft (polyethylene or soft PVC) pipeline on which the drippers are connected at certain intervals is called lateral. The laterals placed on the ground are preferred more than the ones placed under the ground.
ADVANTAGES OF DRIP IRRIGATION METHOD
– Water can be used very efficiently in this irrigation method. Because the water drops do not move in the air as it is in the sprinkler systems and the top part of the soil is not wetted. Since there is no loss of water due to evaporation on the surface of the leaves apart from the wetted soil, the loss of water is minimized in the system.
– More and higher quality crops are obtained from the drip irrigated plants. Since the plant and the soil surface get wet minimally, the development of plant diseases and harmful effects are also prevented by drip irrigation.
– If the soil is not irrigated frequently with brackish water in this method, the amount of salt in the soil will not reach to the extreme level and the plants will be protected from the damage of the salt.
– Drip irrigation method also contributes to the weed management to be more successful. Since they are not irrigated, the soil between the lines will remain dry. Therefore, weeds in this dry land will not be able to grow easily. In addition to this, thanks to the dryness of the surface of the soil, tillage, applying pesticide, picking up and handling works can be done even during irrigation.
– Drip irrigation is very suitable for plants grown under plastic cover. Because the lateral pipes can be placed under plastic covers. And also, the operation of the system is not affected by the wind and the fertilizer can be given with irrigation water in this system. This method can be applied more successfully and easily in sloping land without causing any water and soil loss compared to the other irrigation methods.
– Since the soil can be irrigated more frequently in drip irrigation method, the tension between water and soil is much lower than other irrigation methods (flood irrigation, sprinkling, and mini sprinkling). Since humidity is ensured at a continuous low tension at the root level in the soil, the plant can access the water without spending too much energy. The response of the plant to this type of irrigation method is positive. This is one of the main factors affecting the increase in yield.
– Since all the surface is not irrigated, the tillage works to break the crusting layer and to plow the soil after each irrigation will be almost eliminated therefore the labor and fuel can be saved.
– Since the fertilizing is carried out maximum 3-4 times in a season with other irrigation systems, much amount of fertilizer is mixed or sprinkled on the soil each time. Much of the fertilizer is washed away deep into the soil by the irrigation water before being received by the plants, and some of it is received by the weeds emerging in the field. And also, since the PH value is generally high in our soil, some of the fertilizer is kept by soil colloids and it cannot be received easily by the plants. Since fertilizer is given in each irrigation or two in drip irrigation, it is given gradually. Less fertilizer is given since it is given to the root level of the plant in the soil rather than the whole field.
– Since we irrigate frequently and gradually we ensure the WATER – AIR – FERTILIZER balance in the soil easily. Since the water is kept in the soil based on its capacity, the plants are protected from experiencing the stress of excess water, little water, excess fertilizer etc.
– While the soil becomes fully saturated in terms of water in sprinkling and furrow irrigation method, a little volume of soil gets wet in the drip irrigation method and only this volume is saturated with moisture.
Therefore, it is ensured to keep more air in the soil for the plants. This system also facilitates the emission of CO2 from the plant root level to the atmosphere.
– Since the plants’ parts over the ground do not get wet, and also the leaves, the development of certain plant diseases and pests and the washing of applied pesticides are eliminated. Thus, it ensures using less chemicals, increase in yield and quality, and prolongation of the harvest season.
– It is important to carry out all the operations at intensive agriculture such as irrigation, pesticide application, weed control, tillage and harvesting at the most appropriate time. The delays in the application of chemical substances, unmade tillage, delay in the irrigation due to the much humidity in the soil, it will result in loss in yield. These kinds of agricultural operations are much easier by drip irrigation application, and also, all of these works can be carried out simultaneously (For example, we can apply pesticide during drip irrigation so we do not wait for the soil to get prepared).
– Since the soil surface is not completely wetted and the water is not applied to the leaves in the drip irrigation method, the evaporation losses are minimized because the wetted surface of the soil is usually shaded by the petals. For this reason, the water consumption of the plant, therefore the need for irrigation water, is decreased.
– Because the drip irrigation method is not affected by the wind, irrigation can be carried out almost any time during the day.
– Since the application rate (flow rate) is usually very low, the amount can be adjusted according to the rate of infiltration thus preventing erosion due to surface runoff.
– Although the pressure is not usually much lower than the sprinkler method at the first location of the irrigation application, it is usually 1-2 kg/cm² in the laterals. Therefore it makes the use of thinner and cheaper tubes possible.
– The water in low quality (wastewater and brine) can be used in drip irrigation systems. Although this type of water is not used in sprinkler systems, it can be used in drip irrigation systems. There are many types of brackish water which can be applied by drip irrigation system and very good yield values can be achieved.
In the cultivation of vegetables and flowers, vineyards, olive groves, fruit orchards, greenhouses and open spaces.