Changes and advances in the irrigation industry have led to new technologies that bring drip irrigation’s benefits within the reach of farmers everywhere. As such, manufacturers of drip systems will need to stay on top of the latest technology in manufacturing to keep up with increasing demand while still producing a high quality product. Drip irrigation is particularly useful in drought-prone regions to help minimize water use while still growing healthy crops. Water is pumped along thousands of feet of pipe and fed from drippers directly to the plant only where it’s needed which helps prevent weeds from getting adequate nutrients. Growers control the amount of water and fertilizer delivered by optimizing both the flow rate and type of the dripper at a specific plant and by incorporating smart technology to monitor local conditions.
Implementing drip irrigation can cut water consumption by as much as 60% while increasing yields. While there is an initial investment in the system, particularly when solar powered pumps and electronics are employed, the cost savings can provide a return on the investment. New irrigation systems which use pressure compensating (PC) drippers require less pumping power, further lowering energy costs and making solar powered irrigation a feasible solution. It’s up to manufacturers to educate consumers on the cost advantages of introducing advanced drip irrigation technology into their system.
For systems that use lower pressure pumps, PC drippers maintain a constant flow rate to plants both at the beginning and end of the pipe. Low flow PC dripline can operate at 1/10th the pressure requirements of traditional systems. Low flow systems not only use less water they also improve yields and allow for smaller pumps thereby conserving energy as well.
Every drip irrigation project has unique parameters and requirements, from accounting for the local weather and infrastructure to local requirements on water consumption. Advances in irrigation systems allow farmers to create customized plans that account for all these variables while keeping costs under control and, in some cases, significantly reducing operating costs. Particularly in regions where water is scarce, minimizing the use of water is key to keeping an operation viable.
Smaller operations such as home gardens and landscape projects can also benefit from the efficiency of drip irrigation over traditional sprinkler systems. The lower cost of drip irrigation can make landscaping feasible in areas where it otherwise isn’t possible, not only arid parts of the world, but also bringing gardening to rooftops in the city where the water weight of soil is a critical factor in garden size and placement.
Further, smart systems can incorporate local information via weather reports and soil sensors to deliver water in a timely fashion and ensure plants are not over watered. These systems minimize soil erosion or compaction by delivering water over time and allowing it to seep through the soil.
Additionally, taking advantage of smaller pumps powered by solar technology means farms large and small are drawing less power from the grid and able to maintain operations even during power blackouts. Cost savings coupled with more consistent and higher per acre yields are enough incentive for most operations. Being environmentally friendly by conserving resources is an added bonus.
DRTS is always looking at ways to improve drippers and create new irrigation production machines that continue to make drip irrigation a cost effective solution for every application. We want to help irrigation manufacturers produce a product for their customers that is both cost effective to produce and implement.