Improve your coffee production with precision irrigation

Coffee isn’t limited to India but is a major global crop that contributes to foreign exchanging earnings in a lot of developing nations, of course, which includes India as well. To turn coffee production, however, into a profitable business, and to keep up with the ever-increasing global demands, it is imperative that coffee growers exercise complete control over the crop yield, i.e. is control its quantity as well as quality. Precision irrigation, particularly, with partners like Netafim, proves to be a sure shot way to increasing coffee yield as well as improve its quality.

precision irrigation

Precision irrigation for coffee

Precision irrigation, one of the modern irrigation techniques, as opposed to the conventional ones, results in a lot of benefits to coffee cultivators. It is a sustainable solution towards coffee cultivation, and therefore, its acceptance is increasingly growing across the country. Here’s how precision farming helps coffee cultivators.

  • Helps achieve crop uniformity and reduces the number of fruit abortions
  • Increases the cherry size, and ensures optimum crop potential
  • Helps graduate the cultivation from the initial planting to full-fledged commercial production in only three years, thereby bettering the Return on Investment
  • Supplies the required amount of water and nutrients to the crop root zone, thus avoiding nutrient deficiency, and leaching
  • Prevents water evaporation or run-off
  • The digital aspect involved in precision irrigation helps control agricultural activities remotely, and the availability of real-time information, anytime and anywhere, fosters quicker and informed decision making

Things we often get asked:

  • Why should I choose drip rather than other irrigation methods that seem to be less expensive?

    It is not about cost. It is about making the best investment. It’s been proven that drip irrigation increases coffee yields, while also improving crop quality. In addition, drip technology leads to significant savings in water, fertilizer and labor. Economic calculations show that in the long run, drip is the most sustainable system for coffee production, delivering higher economic returns than any other method.

  • How much does a drip irrigation system cost per hectare of crop?

    The cost of drip irrigation varies greatly, and depends on the following two factors:

    1. Water conveyance from source to field:

    Normally, this is the most expensive component of the irrigation system, which depends on the distance and elevation that the water must be conveyed by the pipelines.

    2. Peak crop water demand:

    This is the amount of applied water needed to meet peak crop evapotranspiration (ETo) requirements during peak crop demand. The amount is a function of prevailing climate conditions, crop canopy cover, and irrigation system efficiency, phenological stages (flowering, stress, and fruit development).

  • If I'm growing coffee on a slope, can drip irrigation be implemented in my farm?

    Yes! With drip irrigation, you have the advantage of precise and even distribution of water and nutrients across your field. This prevents inconsistent flow rates of water to your coffee, promising healthier and more uniform yields regardless of slope.

  • What makes drip a better option than rainfed or pivot irrigation for coffee production?

    Drip irrigation promises optimal and uniform soil moisture with outstanding aeration, delivering water and nutrients directly to your crops. This significantly reduces risk of fruit drop and guarantees next year’s yield by continuously flashing. Increasing yields while lowering water and nutrient usage, drip is the most cost-efficient irrigation solution for coffee production. It is also lowest consumer of energy among pressurized systems – consuming approximately 40% less energy than alternative methods.

    Compared to rainfed irrigation, drip lowers your dependence on the weather, giving you greater control over your crops.

  • What is the average yield with drip irrigation in coffee?

    You can expect up to 100% increase in achievable yields as compared to rainfed crops.

    For Arabica: up to 3 tons/ha compared to 1.5 in drylands.

    For Robusta: up to 6 tons/ha compared to 2.4-3 t/h in drylands.

  • Will drip irrigation affect my field operation?

    Not at all. Drip doesn’t interfere with farm machinery or infield workers. It allows you to work even when the water is on, unlike other irrigation methods such as sprinklers, pivots or flood irrigation.

  • How often should I irrigate my coffee with the drip system? 

    For optimal results, you should irrigate your coffee every 1 to 3 days. Of course this depends on the weather, the soils water holding capacity and the development stage of the crop.

  • Can drip irrigation systems be activated remotely?

    Precision irrigation and automation can be very easily combined and can make your irrigation more efficient. It is possible to add digital tools, such as ground sensors and a remote control to optimize your yields and resources. Learn more about our digital farming solutions

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