Holger Weckwert

Challenges and Advantages of Drip Irrigation

The world’s water supply is a topic on many minds – and for good reason. As I shared in a previous Crop Science blog post, scientists have estimated that by 2030 the gap between expected water withdrawal and existing supply has the potential to reach as high as 40 percent. That’s a systemic problem, but fortunately, it’s one we can begin to address.

With 70 percent of our fresh water supply currently used to support agricultural production, innovative farming techniques are paving the way for a more efficient and more sustainable future. When it comes to a harmonious alignment of water conservation and increased yields, Bayer and its partner Netafim are tackling the water scarcity issue head-on with the DripByDrip irrigation solution.

Confusion, Concerns and Challenges When Implementing a Drip Irrigation System

While implementing and managing a drip irrigation system to replace less efficient flooding practices and/or sprinkler applications presents a host of opportunities, farmers are also concerned. It should be noted that a drip irrigation system that manages only water is less complicated to implement than a solution that combines water and plant protection products. For the latter, some concerns are: Will I get the mix of water distribution and application of the plant protection products right? Will I have an even distribution of products throughout my system? Will I cause leakages into the ground water?

Holger Weckwert
Holger Weckwert
Holger Weckwert,
Global Segment Manager Fruits & Vegetables and Insecticides, Bayer Division Crop Science

We have listened to farmers and have come up with a concise list of questions where the farmer should answer by simply “checking the box.” This checklist covers the areas of:

  • Installations: tank storage, pipes, drippers, filters
  • Metering and controlling: dosing, calibration, leakages, gauging (measuring/controlling)
  • Download the Drip Irrigation Checklist

With this simple checklist, the farmer can quickly get feedback on the status of his irrigation system. If the farmer cannot check one or more things off the list, he can connect with the experts from our partners at Netafim and at Bayer. We are confident that with this small checklist, which is adaptable to specific country conditions, we are offering a “Quick Remedy Tool.”

What are Some of the Advantages of Implementing a Drip Irrigation System?

“The water scarcity is reflected in the business figures, because any major drought is accompanied by a corresponding reduction in the cultivation areas that we manage,” says Bayer customer Mr. Daniel Cardenas Cevallos of Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico. “In the mid 2000s, there were some droughts, and we reduced our cultivation area by 30 percent. “Without a drip irrigation system, we would have had to reduce our cultivation areas by 60 to 70 percent instead of 30 percent during the recent drought. That would have been a catastrophe.” Those are real results.

In fact, drip irrigation provides water-use efficiency of more than 95 percent. That translates to a water-use reduction of more than 60 percent over traditional flooding methods. It’s more efficient, can be automated and is less labor-intensive.

Additionally, these innovative crop solutions could include critical pest control measures such as root-knot nematode and/or white fly control, as well as effectively managing a range of suitable plant-disease products. By connecting all the right technology and solutions, we reduce incidence and spread of viruses while boosting phytotonic effects. What is the net result? DripBy Drip programs have the capacity to provide increased crop/fruit size, improved yields and longer shelf life – all of which contributes to a stronger bottom line for growers.

I continue to enjoy meeting and working with so many of today’s growers, sharing how a strategic DripByDrip solution will provide a long-term positive return on investment while also helping address the global water scarcity problem. It’s a scenario I’m proud to share!

In my next post, I’ll share critical considerations to successfully implement a drip irrigation solution.

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