TOP 10 BLUNDERS IN DRIP IRRIGATION
Drip irrigation remains one of the most innovative forms of irrigation today. It involves the passing of water to the roots of plants through the use of emitters lined in a tube like pipes.
Though a recent invention, Farmers in Nigeria are gradually embracing drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation in Nigeria is growing year in, year out.
Farmers in Nigeria are experiencing better crop yields by using drip tapes and other drip irrigation systems.
However, Veggie Grow Limited in its survey noticed that most Farmers in Nigeria do not know how to effectively and efficiently use the drip irrigation system.
Below are the top ten blunders we identified.
Buying Sub-standard Drip Irrigation System
In Nigeria today, every Tom, Dick and Harry sells drip irrigation system. In most cases, these sellers know nothing about drip irrigation. They mostly sell sub-standard merchandise and give their unsuspecting buyers poor advice. They attract buyers by selling poor quality drip tapes at ridiculously low prices. They often do not have a business address or any physical location. It is common to see these sellers asking intending buyers to pay down so they help them to pre-order.
Buying from this type of sellers is risky as you are likely to buy fake drip irrigation system that won’t last more than 2-3 months.
Using Drip Irrigation System without Fertigating Equipment
Fertigation is the passing of nutrients (Fertiliser solution) to plants through the use of irrigating equipments preferably drip tapes and venture Injector of Dosing pump.
With fertigation, a Farmer can record 100% more yield than soil application of fertilizer. In Nigeria, most Farmers just buy and install drip irrigation system without using any fertigating tools. This makes the Farmer less efficient.
With Fertigation, 50-70% of labour cost can be saved. Labourers won’t need to do the back breaking job of soil application of fertliser.
Veggie Grow Limited sells fertigating tools like Venturi Injector and Dosing Pump (Metering Pump).
Not Flushing Drip Irrigation System
It is advisable to flush drip tapes with water after every fertigation schedule. Failure to do this can lead to clogging of the emitters. When emitters are blocked, the drip irrigation system becomes useless as water won’t come out the block emitters again until when it’s unblocked.
Nutrients solution passed through the drip irrigation system can block the emitters. Hard water too can form deposits in the drip irrigation system and block the emitters. Acid solution can be used to unblock the emitters if water flushing does not work.
Using Drip Irrigation System without Filters
Installing and using drip irrigation system without filters can lead to blockage of the system. The emitters can get blocked and render the whole system useless. Filters are equipments that can bar sediments and other impurities from getting into the drip irrigation system. The Filters allow only clean and impurities free water to flow into the drip irrigation system.
Installing Drip Irrigation Systems without the Right Connectors
In Nigeria, it is common to see drip tapes connected to sub-main pipes using PVC Tees. This is inappropriate as the connections are not tightly sealed, water and nutrient solutions leak from these connections, hence leading to waste of resources (money, time, water and nutrients/fertilizer).
There are connectors specifically produced for drip tapes or tubes connection. An example is the Grommet and Take-off, this connector is used to firmly connect drip tapes to PVC sub-main pipes.
Using the wrong type of Drip Irrigation System
There are several types of drip tapes or tubes. Some are for flat farmland and some for undulating farmland. Some have a higher water emitting rate while some are very thick. Buyers are advised to contact experts like Veggie Grow Limited for consultation on the type of drip irrigation system good for their farm.
Not Chemigating with Drip Irrigation System
Chemigation is application of chemicals (pesticides) to plant roots and soil through the use of drip irrigation system (drip tapes, venture injector or Dosing Pump). Chemigation can be used in passing Nematicides, Fungicides, Bactericides etc to plant roots and soil to kill harmful microbes, worms, Nematodes and Insects. Like fertigation, chemigation can lead to a significant reduction in labour cost and increase in pesticides’ efficiency.
Using Drip Irrigation System without Guidance
It is advisable to get training before using your drip irrigation system. A Farmer needs to be trained on how to get the whole drip tapes pressurized, how to fertigate and how to flush and maintain the system etc.
Unfortunately, in Nigeria, most farmers go on the internet and get inadequate information before using the drip irrigation system. They often get low yields before retracing their steps.
Poor Design of Drip Irrigation Layout
If your farm is fairly big, you need to consult Experts to design a layout for your drip irrigation system. This layout is designed taking into consideration your source of water, water flow rate, water pressure, length of drip tapes and length of main and sub-main pipes etc.
Using the wrong Water Pump
Using the wrong water pump can mar the efficiency of your drip irrigation system. Veggie Grow Limited has seen farms using 0.5hp of submersible pump to power 8 acres of farmland. This is grossly inadequate as water won’t reach the last emitters on the drip tapes. Using the right water Pump is necessary for an efficient drip irrigation system.
Veggie Grow Limited stocks good water pumps for irrigation purposes. We also advise on the best type of pumps for your drip irrigation systems. You can contact us for your drip irrigation needs.