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Optimal Dripline Selection: Choosing the Best Drippers for Crop Growth

Dripline selection is about making the right choice after considering the main aspects. These include crop spacing, crop type, land topography, crop duration, and soil type. Also, it is advisable to opt for quality products to get the most from your investment. Whether you have to choose between a thin wall drip system, a heavy wall drip system, a modern dripper, or a basic dripper, make sure to go with quality products. The market offers a wide array of options, each with its unique attributes and applications. Hence, it is crucial to carefully consider all factors to find a dripline catering to your needs suitably. Overall, you should strike a balance between exceptional drip irrigation performance and your budgetary constraints, without compromising on quality. 

Dripline selection is based on factors such as Crop type, Crop spacing, crop duration, Land topography, soil type, etc.

Finding a balance between Cost and Performance in dripline Selection

If you want to be successful in your farming expeditions, you have to consider a range of factors. Be it soil preparation or harvesting practices, farmers and experts have to decide suitably. However, various aspects are also beyond the farmer’s control.

Now, for starters, you, as a farmer, have to select the irrigation method and approach. Moreover, you are required to choose the products to be cultivated in your vineyard, orchard, field, or farmhouse. After considering these variables, you have to decide on the optimal irrigation system, whereby drip irrigation is a frontrunner. Thereafter, you have to make decisions regarding the configuration of the irrigation system.

Make sure to rely on the experts to know about the different types of irrigation methods, along with their pros and cons, to make informed decisions.

Drip irrigation can help farmers get good returns, after harvestation, from their yield. More so, they can increase the longevity of the dripline via timely maintenance and proper operation. Nonetheless, they must choose a suitable dripline for maximizing their returns.  

Understanding Dripper Data

With the sharing of technical dripper data, you may come across some terms describing certain engineering features. Through these features, you can learn more about the performance of the dripper. When it comes to farms, drippers should supply adequate water to the plants. Well, drippers can perform the job of supplying water only if they are clean. Avoiding dripper clogging is a must; otherwise, the seamless flow of water after clogging becomes difficult. Besides dripper design and quality, clogging prevention depends on its efficient maintenance.

The ability of the dripper to stay clean depends on the amount of turbulence. In fact, with the evolution of dripper designs, one of the most important additions to drippers was that of the teeth to the flow path to create turbulent flow. By doing so, clogging is preventable since the particles are kept in suspension during the turbulence period.

What You Need To Know Dripper

A typical dripper needs to reduce its inlet pressure from 1 bar to 0 bar to achieve the desired discharge rate in l/h through it. A complicated mathematical equation explains the pressure difference between the inlet of the dripper flow path and the outlet. All we need to understand is that the pressure difference comprises two aspects: Turbulence (Measured as a Turbulence Coefficient) and Friction Loss (Measured by Filtration Area).

Pressure loss = turbulence + friction loss

It is important to understand the interaction between these two aspects. The less turbulence the dripper creates, the more it must resort to friction loss for the requisite pressure loss. Friction loss does not contribute to keeping a dripper clean. Rather, there are more chances of the dripper being kept clean with more turbulence and a high turbulence coefficient.

K: Turbulence coefficient - The higher the better

A higher turbulence coefficient translates to a more turbulent flow path in the dripper, lowering the risk of clogging. The dripper will be better at keeping itself clean, depending on the labyrinth depth, width, length (number of teeth), and design and manufacturing excellence.

A few engineering features contribute to a higher turbulence coefficient:

Number of teeth – Less is better

Flow path length – Shorter is better

Flow path depth – Deeper is better

Flow path width – Wider is better

Filtration area: The bigger the better

The other important contributing factor to a dripper’s ability to stay clean is the size of the effective filtration area. The larger the area of a dripper’s filter, the more area is available for contaminants to accumulate and the longer it will take for contaminants to invade the entire filtration area. Therefore, a dripper with a larger filtration area will last longer.

Cost-performance Ratio

There are various other factors to consider when making your selection of drippers and driplines. The designer and/or farmer must determine which attributes are necessary for the crop and circumstances.

The main objective is to maintain a balance between dripper cost and performance. Also, equipment cost is determined by a host of factors. A comprehensive portfolio of drippers and driplines covering a wide range of crops and applications is available.

Consider a dripline selection graph where the y-axis is cost, and the x-axis is a composite of application, durability, clogging resistance, and other factors considered in dripper comparison. Movement along the x-axis will result in movement along the y-axis, which includes increases or decreases in price. For example, the higher the given values, the longer the dripper will last, but the higher the cost. The thicker the pipe wall, the longer the dripline will last, but the higher the cost.

Take note, that quality is not listed on the virtual x-axis. Whether selecting a thin wall drip, a heavy wall drip, an advanced dripper, or a dripper with fewer features, do not compromise on quality. Although selecting quality products while maintaining the optimal balance between drip irrigation performance and your budgetary restrictions may seem challenging, it is possible to do so.

Always consider the important specifications to determine the reliability of driplines. Look for products that are designed to decrease clogging risk and deliver water uniformly and efficiently while lasting longer.

It all comes down to your crop requirements. The experts would, for example, not recommend the same equipment for irrigation with hard, murky water for a single season and irrigation with similar water for many seasons. Similarly, the same equipment will not be used for irrigation with varying water quality.

Dripline selection is all about selecting the right product as per the crop and weather conditions. The general recommendation is to select a quality product that can perform the job in harsh conditions while offering the best return on investment.