12 keys to take care of your investment in drip irrigation

Thanks to its advantages, in recent months this irrigation system has gained momentum among sugarcane growers in the Cauca River Valley. Cenicaña presents some recommendations on this technology.

The drip irrigation system offers innumerable advantages for sugarcane growers, such as potential increases in productivity and the possibility of applying fertilizers in lower doses, in a fractional manner and adjusted to the demand of the crop. However, the installation of the system represents a high initial investment.

To get the most out of drip irrigation adoption, in a way that is profitable compared to other irrigation alternatives, it is important to verify if the property meets the system's requirements and to know what to do once the decision is made. to implement it. Cenicaña then presents 12 fundamental recommendations.


Currently, due to the effects of the El Niño phenomenon, drip irrigation has been widely adopted in the sector and it is estimated that the system is used in nearly 2000 hectares of sugar cane.

1Use detailed soil study, irrigator experience, and alternatives such as remote sensing technologies to identify areas where drip irrigation could be used; for example, where it is difficult to irrigate by gravity.

2Remember that drip irrigation generates high application frequencies with low sheets per irrigation event, therefore give priority to areas with low moisture storage capacity (associated with high infiltration rates and water consumption).

3Make the hydrological balance and the irrigation plan of the property, in order to determine the potential irrigation area with the available flow.

4 Adopt the drip irrigation system gradually to learn its management under the conditions of your farm.

Take advantage of the existing irrigation infrastructure on the farm, such as buried pipes for irrigation with gates and hydrants and the pressures present in the wells.

6 Note that due to its hydraulic similarities, low-flow irrigation with 16mm risers (for fine-textured flat-area soils) can be converted to low-cost drip irrigation.

7Ensure the quality of the water you will use by analyzing its physical, chemical and biological characteristics to prevent clogging problems that require frequent cleaning of the filters. If possible, preferably use well water.

8In the design phase of the system, review the regulations of the environmental authority, especially those related to the hours of pumping or water collection that directly affect the day and the area covered with a specific flow.

9In most cases, changing the gravity drip irrigation system must change the field design. In this modification, keep in mind the following:

- Avoid the 'saw'. Watering them creates additional costs for tubing and drip tapes.
- Adjust the groove lengths to the tolerances and allowable pressure differences on the sides.
- Draw collinear grooves.
- Take advantage of pressure irrigation to overcome small irregularities in the terrain.
- Eliminate alleys and make the most of growing areas.

10 During soil preparation, try to remove clods that limit the proper functioning of the system.

11 Train personnel in the installation, operation and maintenance of the system, with special emphasis on fertigation and careful handling of fertilizer solutions.

12 Design a recovery and disposal plan for drip tape residues so as not to contaminate the ground and harm factory processes.

In drip irrigation, tapes, ring filter and control valves are essential.
To consult

For more information about the drip irrigation system, consult the Cenicaña water management area. Telephone: (57) (602) 5246611 ext. 5130.

Information letter
Year 4 / Number 2 / April 2016

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