Watering Your Crop: Drip Irrigation

Advantages of Drip Irrigation

  • Reduced water use
    25-50% water used by sprinklers
  • Less foliar disease
    foliage stays dry, no soil splash
  • Reduced weed pressure
    no water to stimulate weed growth
  • Customizable to fit your scale—if using rows
  • Does not require high pressure
    needs 20-25 psi at field entrance and 10 psi at tape
  • Easily automated—with irrigation timer
  • Can be used with plastic mulch

Disadvantages of Drip Irrigation

  • Economic investment
    $500-1200/acre, plus maintenance and replacement
  • Frequent maintenance
    easily cut or damaged by tools, repair leaks regularly
  • Can get in the way
    must work around or move drip tape when using tools
  • Need filtered water
    must use 200-mesh screen or risk clogging emitters
  • Set emitter spacing—match to plant spacing
  • Disposal—labor and cost
  • End of season clean up
    must be removed from field and stored