With summer at its zenith in the Southern Hemisphere, farmers, homeowners, and businesses are all keeping a close eye on their land and gardens to ensure that the intense heat does not have an unwanted impact on the crops and plants they have in the ground.
Summer also happens to be a time when our natural resources are under added pressure, which means that water management in general, and irrigation in particular, should be closely monitored to ensure that you are getting maximum results at the lowest possible environmental and financial expense.
This is where micro-irrigation comes in. This innovative mode of water delivery is fast becoming the irrigation option of choice for agricultural professionals and private individuals around the globe, and with good reason. In this article, we’ll take a look at what micro-irrigation entails, and benefits thereof for the farmer, as well as their crops.
What exactly is micro-irrigation?
Micro-irrigation refers to the frequent application of small quantities of water to crops, normally as discrete drops, continuous drops or tiny streams through micro-emitters along a water delivery line. In layman’s terms, it’s a delivery tube with small spray nozzles mounted on a peg/riser. The emitters can be managed according to a static distribution pattern, or be set to rotate once the plants grow larger.
Micro-irrigation followed close on the heels of drip-irrigation, and although it was originally seen as a competitor product, it is now seen as a welcome addition to the forward-thinking farmer’s micro-irrigation arsenal, filling gaps that aren’t ideally served by drippers. Micro-irrigation emitters are laterally mounted and the spacing can be determined by the producer according to their unique requirements.
The benefits of micro-irrigation
Micro-irrigation is an immensely useful tool to have in your resource management line-up, and poses the following benefits for the farmer and/or private individual:
- Consistent quality and higher yields.
- Incredible water savings due to the fact that there is far less evaporation, runoff or waste.
- Exceptional land utilisation due to uniform irrigation regardless of soil type and typography.
- Low energy usage since these systems work on low pressure.
- Lessened soil leaching and an efficient use of fertiliser.
- Greater stability and lower risk since there is a lessened dependency on prevailing weather conditions.
In short, micro-irrigation delivers optimal return on investment while giving farmers a simple and efficient way to manage their crops.
But let’s talk about the benefits micro-irrigation holds for the plants as well, shall we? These include:
- Water and nutrients are highly available for absorption in a way that has been tailored to the plant’s particular developmental needs.
- There is good soil aeration and no over-saturation.
- Excessive fertiliser application won’t occur, which means high sality is avoided.
- Fungal diseases that occur due to wet foliage are avoided.
In short, micro-irrigation allows plants to receive water and nutrients in a balanced way for optimal growth.
Find out more about micro-irrigation
Micro-irrigation systems require more planning than conventional sprinkler systems because the emitter systems deliver water directly to the plant. The crop influences the selection of the emitter system, and there are many types of emitters to meet specific needs. As such, it pays to consult with a professional before you invest.
Would you like to find out if a micro-irrigation system is the solution you’ve been looking for? Get in touch with one of our knowledgeable Bekmar Irrigation consultants today for more information. Bekmar Irrigation is now conveniently located in six towns throughout Limpopo and Mpumalanga.