Drip irrigation is inarguably one of the most efficient types of irrigation to use on your farm. Irrifarm Irrigation Systems will help you with the intricacies of installing a drip irrigation system, from A-Z.
If you’re considering using an irrigation system on your farm, then drip irrigation is likely the right choice for you. This method is more water efficient (up to 60% more efficient than other methods), less costly over time, and leads to increased yields of up to 90%.
A drip irrigation system delivers the right amount of water and nutrients at the right time, directly to the plant’s root zone, so each plant gets exactly what it needs, when it needs it, to grow optimally. This allows farmers to save water, fertilizer as well as power while rising yields.
Before you settle on installing a drip irrigation system, there are a few things you need to consider;
- Drip Irrigation Requirements and Budget
A drip irrigation system can be highly complex. A drip irrigation kit consists of several components that need to work perfectly for the entire system to be efficient.
The complexity of the drip irrigation kit you need depends on factors such as the area to be irrigated. The larger the scale of the drip irrigation system, the more complex it is.
Please note that while small-scale drip irrigation systems are less complex and require fewer components/equipment, they can also be complex since the basic components are the same.
Other factors such as the nature of the field to be irrigated also contribute to the complexity of the drip irrigation system.
The more complex the drip irrigation system, the higher the cost of installation and maintenance. So, it’s important to accurately determine your drip irrigation requirements to get an accurate cost estimate that will not go above your planned budget.
- The Crop To Be Planted
The crop to be cultivated using the drip irrigation system is a key consideration to make before installing the system.
Most farmers using a drip irrigation system cultivate high-value crops such as onions, capsicum, tomatoes, cabbages, etc. Each of these crops has different requirements and needs different types of drip irrigation systems.
Various crops have different requirements in the drip irrigation system, including spacing and water pressure. For example, cabbages are planted further apart and require more water than onions. This means that one drip irrigation system cannot be successfully used to cultivate the two crops on the same field.
It’s also important to consider crop rotation requirements. As a farmer, you understand the need for crop rotation through the planting seasons. You need to consider which high-value crops are the best fit for your farm and have similar requirements for a drip irrigation system. This way, you don’t have to make changes to the drip irrigation kit season after season.
- Water Source and Storage
The source of the water to be used in the drip irrigation system is another important consideration to make.
Firstly, the water source has to have sufficient water to meet your irrigation needs. This can be easily calculated. For example, if you have a drip irrigation system that has 100 emitters, each releasing about 1 litter per hour, you need about 2400 liters per day. Your water source should be able to consistently meet this need.
Your source can be a river, borehole, dam, or any reservoir with adequate water.
You should also consider how water will be drawn from the water source. Some sources can use gravitational force, while others need the use of pumps. An expert will help you determine which is the best option depending on the scale of the irrigation.
It’s also important to determine the type of impurities to expect from the water source. A drip irrigation system can be highly sensitive to impurities in the water as the emitters are susceptible to clogging/blocking. Knowing which impurities to expect will help determine the best filtration system to use to prevent blockages.
Besides the water source, it’s important to have a water storage system. You need to have adequate tanks to irrigate your farm for a while should there be a problem accessing water from the selected source.
If you’ll be using pumps, it’s crucial to know how long it would take the pumps to fill your storage tanks to capacity. Such details are essential for planning purposes.
- Land Topography and Planning
The nature of the field you plan to irrigate should be considered. A complicated field with multiple slopes will require a more complex drip irrigation kit than a field with a single shape or flat ground.
A complex field increases the material/equipment needed in order to direct water as required, and this will make the plan both labor and cost-intensive.
Land topography also affects aspects such as the sizing of the beds. The typical beds for drip irrigation are 15 cm high by 0.8 m to 1.5 m wide. The recommended path between beds is 40 cm to 50 cm.
The size of the beds determines if the drip irrigation system will be 2 or 3 lines per bed.
Land topography can influence the number of subdivisions on the farm and the size of your beds ____ and thus the type of drip irrigation system to be installed on your farm.
- Future Plans
As a bonus, remember to consider your future plans. You may decide to expand your operations in the future. If so, consider installing a larger-scale drip irrigation system that would effectively serve a large piece of land than the one you begin with.
For example, if you have a 5-acre land but plan to install a drip irrigation system on one acre, consider installing a 2-acre drip irrigation kit as you may decide to expand your operations in the future.
Get An Irrigation System Expert
There is a lot of technical knowledge that goes into planning, assessing, and installation of a drip irrigation system.
If you’re thinking of using an irrigation system in Kenya, contact Irrifarm Irrigation Systems for expert advice. At Irrifarm, we will walk you through the things you need to know before installing a drip irrigation system, assess your farm for you, determine the most effective system depending on your needs, and install a state-of-the-art drip irrigation system that will see you save water, save costs, and increase your yields.