"Drip irrigation is not as mysterious or expensive as you think"
Carlos Hernando Azcárate, cane grower and who with his experience contributed to the production of the most recent book published by Cenicaña on this technology, shares his thoughts on the system.
“I have been a very fortunate cane grower to have the accompaniment of Cenicaña in the installation of drip irrigation in a small plot.
Although our land is not on the hillside or has soils with abundant stone, two conditions to which the efficiency of this irrigation system is usually associated, the decision to implement it arose from a permanent concern about water scarcity.
On the farm we depend on an insufficient deep well to irrigate the entire farm; the site has micronivelación, good field design and good practices traditionally recommended to apply irrigation are used: water balance and irrigation with alternate groove; but even so, the demand for water could not be met.
From the beginning of the project we advised in Cenicaña with Professor Armando Campos and his team. They were our tutors. We learned, together with the suppliers of equipment and services, that it is not so mysterious or expensive to set up a system with these characteristics.
Today, in our farm, after two harvests, we have drip irrigation system in the middle of the area planted in cane. There we have not only halved the total volume of water traditionally used in the crop cycle, but where the system was not installed, we water in a timely manner with the water supplied by the well, which was previously insufficient.
Irrigation work was greatly simplified; the manual work almost disappeared in the application, since only valves are manipulated to irrigate, without watering, without surveillance and without waste of water.
In addition to this technology, we have the possibility of using liquid fertilizers in a fractional way through fertigation, which can be done in many events; and neither equipment nor personnel are required for the application, therefore it is more precise, timely and efficient.
Also, it is evident the decrease of costs in the control of herbicides, because when not watering the streets there are no other plants competing with the sugar cane.
The book Drip Irrigation in Sugar Cane Cultivation illustrates the theoretical foundations, the characteristics and benefits of the system and the materials available in the market; It also makes appropriate recommendations on its installation and maintenance in a simple and appropriate way to the fishing environment of our Cauca River Valley.
The commitment to sustainability implies the prudent use of water, soil protection and cost reduction, three aspects that are being achieved with this irrigation system. Hence the importance of validating the use of these new alternatives for water management in the crop.
This is what Cenicaña is doing through this recent publication, which should become reference material for the Colombian sugarcane agribusiness in order to be more sustainable and innovative ”.
The book Drip Irrigation in Sugar Cane Cultivation It is a 180-page technical document that gathers the knowledge acquired in the experiences of adopting the irrigation system in farms of farmers in the Cauca River Valley. It is composed of five chapters in which the operating conditions of the system, its components, advantages and limitations are presented.
This Cenicaña publication is authored by Professor Armando Campos Rivera, who was linked to Cenicaña until 2017 as a researcher and advisor to the Agronomy Program in the area of water management; and Doris Micaela Cruz Bermúdez, collaborator in the research and technological development projects of irrigation systems with reduced flow and drip irrigation.
The publication is available for consultation at www.cenicana.org with access code.
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