Climate change has introduced a number of pressing issues concerning water availability and predictability around the world. Old irrigation practices such as flooding fields and imprecise sprinklers are outdated and wasteful. Without change many economies may be unable to produce enough crops or have water to drink. This has lead to a cultural shift in the farming industry with more farmers around the world embracing the necessity of utilizing environmentally friendly agricultural practices, such as drip irrigation.
In this article we outline the environmental impact of crop irrigation, as well as the importance of drip irrigation. We then demonstrate the advantages of drip irrigation systems, and how they can provide a sustainable way of reducing water usage and waste while increasing crop yield and profitability.
The Importance of Crop Irrigation
The farming industry is responsible for using the most water worldwide as food production plays a vital role in economic development and employment. Humans utilize various methods of crop irrigation throughout the world, which are very dependent on each region’s climate characteristics. What’s more, is that Earth’s growing population, steadily increases the demand for produce and therefore water.
The Challenges of Climate Change
Global climate is changing, making crop irrigation a more challenging task. Farming traditionally depends on rainfall, gravity based and surface irrigation practices. These techniques utilize the naturally available regional water sources such as rivers, lakes, and rainfall. However, climate change has had a variety of negative effects on natural water sources. Farms are highly affected by longer than average drought periods, reduced rainfall, and atypical weather such as the increasing unpredictability of monsoons, resulting in inconsistent, unstable, and poor crop yields.
Moreover, traditional irrigation offers low efficiency and can contribute to soil erosion and desalination. It also uses excessive amounts of water, resulting in high agricultural runoff. This is how agricultural contaminants such as fertilizers and pesticides are carried away from the fields to rivers and lakes, making agricultural runoff the leading source of water pollution. So aside from low crop yields and excessive water consumption, traditional irrigation practices are also harmful to the environment in our age of modern agriculture.
Drip Irrigation Advantages
Whether it’s smart farming, precision agriculture, or conventional crop farming, drip irrigation is an extremely versatile and innovative irrigation method. By its very nature, it is a system that delivers the exact amount of water precisely to the plant instead of spreading around the surrounding area. Even further, drip irrigation systems can easily be coupled with environment monitoring systems, using weather stations and soil sensors to provide a completely automated system.
These systems allow the farmer to monitor key environmental indicators, providing the ability to deliver the plants precise amounts of water and nutrients, according to the crops needs, in real time. This makes for an unprecedented amount of control and adaptability of the crop to the environment, and is what makes drip irrigation so efficient.
High Crop Yields
Although numbers vary according to location, climate and crop type, drip irrigation can highly increase a crop’s yield compared to traditional methods with drip irrigation offering double, or in some cases even triple the crop output compared to traditional methods.
Low and Efficient Water Usage
How much water does drip irrigation save? Precision irrigation is the most effective method of reducing farming water consumption. Depending on the conditions, it can reduce the usage of water for the same production saving between 20% – 60% of the water needed to irrigate your field in by traditional methods. Every drip irrigation system can be designed taking into account important variables such as: specific crop needs, elevation changes, topology, distances to be covered, and irrigation water properties. These factors play a critical role in achieving efficient water usage and high crop yields.
The Role of Recycled Plastics
Recycled plastics play a role in the fight against climate change as drip irrigation pipe can be manufactured with recycled plastics. With a 3 layer die head manufacturers can create pipe that is comprised of 3 layers. one recycled layer core (made up of up to 80% of the pipe), an inner layer and outer layer of raw virgin material completing the remaining 20%. This allows for a pipe created almost entirely of recycled plastic while only the inner and outer layers are virgin plastics allowing for an environmentally friendly and safe solution to saving on drip irrigation manufacturing.
Drip irrigation systems provide ecologic as well as economic sustainability. With precision irrigation, water use is optimized, crop yields are increased, and farming results become more predictable and less dependable to weather variations. These factors all make drip irrigation a key contributor to maintaining healthy profitability for farmers.
Moreover, drip irrigation minimizes the negative environmental effects of traditional irrigation, namely soil erosion, salinization, and agricultural runoff. Drip irrigation is the best way humans have to reduce agricultural water consumption, and protect the environment from ineffective methods of crop irrigation.
DRTS Leaders in Drip Irrigation Pipe Machinery
DRTS specializes in setting up new drip irrigation manufacturers, offering world class drip irrigation production lines and drippers for over 35 years. We can help supply you with everything from machinery and drippers to factory design and workforce training, DRTS offers a one stop shop for setting up new drip irrigation manufacturers. Request a free consultation with a drip irrigation expert to receive the latest information on drip irrigation, and get a custom quote tailored to your needs.