Drip irrigation is a technology to deliver water and also fertilizer along with water at the root zone of the plants. Compared to flood irrigation or relying on rainfall, drip irrigation increases crop yields by 40-50% and requires less labour, less fertilizer and less money is spent on diesel or electricity for pumping water. But this technology remains out of reach of majority of the farmers due to the requirement of high investment, installation and high regular maintenance etc. Lets learn how you can save costs of installation by fixing a drip irrigation system yourself…or with help from your local plumber.
Tips: If do not have the basics f performing a farm survey and layout you can hie a professional to do it for you.
Fixing the Tank
If there is no overhead tank then a water source must be created (i.e. a bucket, barrel, tank, etc.) It has to be installed above ground level on a stable support platform at the required height to achieve minimum pressure requirements for the system (minimum 1.5 meter). The system then can be connected to the water source.
Important: Increasing height will increase discharge through dripper correspondingly Irrigation time will also be reduced.
Before operating the system, end caps at the end of the laterals and sub-main are released so that if there is dirt in the tubes, it is washed away and air is also driven out. Open the control valve and let the water flow freely through the tubes for some time (flush the system). Then close the end caps and ensure that water is coming out from each emitter.
Basic Drip Kit Components
Here are the essential parts of a quarter irrigation system.
Filters– One of the most common and frustrating problems with irrigation systems is clogged emitters. To help prevent these, a filter is installed between the water source and irrigation line. Filters are crucial in most systems, but they are especially important if your water comes from an unfiltered source such as a lake or pond.
End Cap– After you successfully connect the drip lines to the water source, place an end cap on the end of the drip lines to stop water flow. This should be the same size as the drip lines.
Elbow/Bend– Elbow pieces are generally to guide irrigation pipe around corners rather than ‘bending’ the pipe which can cause kinking and therefore reduction of flow through the pipes. The elbow pieces are generally easy to fit and straightforward to use. Simply place the corner where it is needed and bending and kinking of the pipe is greatly reduced.
Tee– Used for adding an additional line into an irrigation system to allow for further lengths of supply pipe to be connected to the system.
Gate Valve– This is used for flow control in irrigation & water supply lines.
HDPE Pipe– Sub-main pipe used to carry water from the tank to the drip lines.
Drip Lines– The drip lines are laid on the farm and is used to carry water to the crops on the field.
Start Connectors– Used to connect drip lines and HDPE pipe.
- Connect the tank to the water source. The tank and header pipe should be set along a sloppy field.
- If you do not have a sloppy field then you should at raise your tank to 1.5m so that the water can flow into the drip lines using pressure. Fit in the gate valve and filter on the tank.
- Find out the spacing you need for your crops i.e. distance between crop rows and distance between crop columns.
- Calculate your row spacing on the header pipe using a tape measure and mark it using a coloured pencil or marker pen. Ensure you mark all holes on the same spot.
- Measure the distance for each drip connector point and make a small hole (around 0.5”) in the header pipe with a hot metallic rod nearly same size as the start connectors. Preferably a ’17 or 18 bolt’ which can be found in a car hardware. You can join the bolt with a long wire through welding to make it easier to burn the holes on the header pipe. Make sure you don’t burn up-to the other side. The hole needs to be smaller than the connector to avoid leakage.(This step is very crucial, call us for guidance if you do not understand)
- Fit in the rubber into the hole in the header pipe followed by the start connectors one by one.
- Make sure the drip holes face upwards. Measure the farm and decide on the drip line length for your farm. The drip lines need to be the same size. Roll out the drip lines on the farm.
- Insert the drip lines into the start connectors and screw them together.
Recommended Design Layout
- After setting the drips on the farm, test them see if all holes are emitting
- You can now sow your seeds or transplant your crops to the
After Installation, flush the entire system to remove dirt/ debris.
- Keep the sub-main straight & maintain laterals with proper straight
- Always use proper tools/products for installation/maintenance of Drip
- It is always recommended to flush total system including filter before start of irrigation. This is to avoid entrance of dirt / sand / silt in
- Check the emitter discharge at start of lateral and at the end of lateral. It shall not vary more than 10%.
- You can irrigate total system at a time only for 30 m², 100 m², 250 m² & 500 m² areas. For 1000 m², 2000 m² and 4000 m2area it is always recommended to operate one valve at time for better performance.
|GF Gravity Drip Kit (m²)||Valve Operation (at a time)|
|30,100,250, 500||Total System|
|1000, 2000 & 4000||One Valve|
Fertigation System & Chemigation equipment is a need for today’s irrigation system. Optimum and efficient use of fertilizers is one of the major advantages of drip irrigation systems. We are well aware that success of micro irrigation system lies in precise application of fertilizers.
Fertilization via drip irrigation system besides irrigation is the most important management factor through which farmers control plant development, fruit yield and quality. The introduction of simultaneous irrigation and fertilization (Fertigation) opened up new possibilities for controlling water and nutrient supplies to crops and maintaining the desired concentration and distribution of ions and water in the soil.
Fertigation System & Chemigation equipment is a need for today’s irrigation system. Optimum and efficient use of fertilizers is one of the major advantages of drip irrigation systems. We are well aware that success of micro irrigation system lies in precise application of fertilizers. Fertilization via drip irrigation system besides irrigation is the most important management factor through which farmers control plant development, fruit yield and quality. The introduction of simultaneous irrigation and fertilization (Fertigation) opened up new possibilities for controlling water and nutrient supplies to crops and maintaining the desired concentration and distribution of ions and water in the soil.
There are basically two reasons why maintenance of drip irrigation system is so important.
- Water is never found in its purest form in It always contains some physical, chemical and biological impurities which may block the pipeline, laterals and drippers in the system.
- The function of dripper / emitter is to allow a gradual transition of water flow from optimum pressure to atmospheric pressure when it comes out through emitter, so as to get discharge in the form of a droplet. In doing so the flow of water has to pass through labyrinth, turbulent and minute flow path. There is always a chance of blockage of this flow path due to dirt particles or due to chemical precipitation.
In order to that your DripKit system works smoothly and efficiently for years together, it is very essential to maintain the system with great care.
However, periodic and preventive maintenance is essential for smooth system function.
Daily Maintenance Checks
- Clogging of emitters and wetting
- Check position emitter in right
- Flushing of sub-main & laterals by releasing the end
- Leakages in pipes, valves, filter, fittings,
- Flushing & cleaning of filter by opening and cleaning the screen
In order to get maximum efficiency and optimum results it is necessary to prevent clogging of emitters. Properly maintained filters will ensure maximum efficiency of DripKit systems, by avoiding clogging. Hence, filtration unit is the heart of irrigation system.
The fine particles and dirt are arrested on the filtering element of screen filter. This affects the filtering process. Therefore, it is essential to clean the filtering element every 15 days. For this, open the lid of screen filter and take out the filtering element. Rinse the element. Do not use wired brush, as it may damage the screen.
If the salts, algae and other impurities present in water enter into the drip irrigation system, then the laterals and drippers get clogged and may stop emitting water. Therefore, it is necessary to apply acid and chlorine treatments once in a month or as recommended in the water quality analysis report. (Do this only after doing a water test with a water testing company)
Do not perform both acid and chlorine treatment simultaneously.
Apart from physical impurities that can be separated by using a screen filter, there are dissolved chemical (mainly salts) impurities and also biological impurities like algae, bacteria, etc. present in some water sources. If the dissolved salts are more concentrated, they can accumulate and clog the emitters. Hydrochloric acid can be applied to the emitters to flush the salts. If bacteria or algae clogs the system, chlorine treatment in the form of bleaching powder (20 mg per liter) can be added to clean the emitters and inhibit slime growth.
- When you are transplanting crops to the main field keep the drip irrigation water running for at least 3-4 hours per
- Ensure the drip lines are straight when transplanting. Hold them down with
- Make sure the water is running when you are
- If you are soaking your seeds e.g Capsicums do not soak more than 12
- Install the dripline along each row and close to the plants, making sure that the dripline and the drippers will not touch the plants (to avoid rotting of the plant stems).
The following factors affect the water use on the farm;
- Soil type
- Growth stage of crop in the field
|Examples of Crops Suitable for Drip Irrigation System|
|Grapes, Banana, Pomegranate, Orange, Citrus, Mango, Lemon, Custard Apple, Sapota, Guava, Pineapple, Coconut, Cashewnut, Papaya, Aonla, Litchi etc.|
|Tomato, Chilly, Capsicum, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Onion, Okra, Brinjal, Bitter Gourd, Ridge Gourd, Cucumber, Peas, Spinach, Pumpkin, Sukuma wiki, Kunde, Watermelon etc.|
|3.||Cash Crops||Sugarcane, Cotton, Arecanut, Maize, Strawberry etc.|
|4.||Flowers||Rose, Carnation, Gerbera, Anthurium, Orchids, Jasmine, Dahilia, Marigold etc.|
|5.||Plantation||Tea, Rubber, Coffee, Coconut etc.|
|6.||Spices||Turmeric, Cloves, Mint etc,|
|7.||Oil Seed||Sunflower, Oil palm, Groundnut etc.|
|8.||Forest Crops||Teakwood, Bamboo etc.|
|Response of Different Crops to Drip Irrigation System|
|Crops||Water saving (%)||Increase in yield (%)|