Micro Irrigation in Protected Cultivation

Micro Irrigation in India

The current agricultural scenario in India is fluctuating quite frequently with erratic monsoon, soaring temperature and shrinking availability of land and water. On the other hand the population surge and change in the food habits has aggregated the demand of high quantity and quality produce across the globe. Due to these factors, cultivation of crops under protected conditions becomes urgent need of the hour, which offers controlled humidity, temperature, light exposure, air-flow and water supply to the plants.

The accomplishment of a Greenhouse depends upon the operative management of agro Climatic inputs including watering and nourishment. One of the drivers in precision agriculture would be uniform irrigation discharge in optimum volume, which subsequently depends on the Crop grown and the type of soil and medium.

The Term Micro irrigation refers to those systems operating at low pressure and flow rates providing localized distribution of water in the proximity of the plant root system.

The watering system is one of the most important components for growing healthy flowers, foliage, fruits and Vegetable. Along with saving, water, labour and improving the harvest Quantity and Quality it offers multiple advantages such as:

Improved water use efficiency as water is supplied directly at the right place – the root zone, at right time and in the right quantity.( Low risk of runoff)
Uniformity of discharge results in better quality of the crop which matches the international standards
Enhanced Fertilizer Use efficiency as the nutrients along with water is supplied to the root zone ensuring a healthier crop
Reduced risk of weeds and pest infestation because of low air humidity
Prevention of Soil compaction

An irrigation system in protected scenario consists of the following main components:

Pumping Unit – Used to deliver the water from its source by maintaining the required head & discharge. Majorly submersible and monoblock pump are used.

Filtration Unit acts as the kidney of the micro irrigation system, it improves uniformity of water flow and reduces clogging. More filtration surface area defines the quality of the filters and an additional helical phenomenon creates an edge in the effective working of the system as it acts as the clog delayers.

Fertigation Unit -Any of the following ventury, fertilizer tank or injector can be used.

Main & Submain Line – It is the core component of irrigation system, depending on the field condition PVC or HDPE may be adopted. If it is on surface HDPE is recommended wheras in the subsurface PVC can also be selected.
Emitting Devices – i) Dripline- Majorly the inbuilt Driplines are adopted in the Greenhouses, and the quality is well defined by the Bureau of Indian Standards in various Classes on the basis of Discharge uniformity. The permissible limit for the Coefficient of variation for Class A is 5% and for Class B the limit is 10% hence one should preferably opt for Class A drip lines.

Fogger/ Micro Sprinkler/Mister- These devices should always be of high grade engineering. The Quality parameter for selecting foggers / misters is the fineness in the particle size of not more than 100 micron and for micro-sprinkler the uniformity coefficient which should be more than 84%.

In addition to the above components the system can be automated by installing solenoid valves, sensors and controllers to further increase the efficiency.

Another significant factor to consider for maximum capacity utilization is the right guidance for Crop selection and Schedule for irrigation. To have adequate information one must always be in association with an organization which has the technical competency and agronomic expertise.

Last but not the least any system in the world cannot operate optimally without timely maintenance and care. For proper functioning most important is regular flushing of the Filters, Mainlines, Submain lines and Dripline.

“Water is the driving force of All Nature”
Leonardo Da Vinci

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *