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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Managing Water Availability and Quality to Maintain Or Increase Agricultural Production, Conserve Natural Resources, and Enhance Environment

Location: Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research

Title: Surface drip irrigation

item Stone, Kenneth
item Sorensen, Ronald

Submitted to: Popular Publication
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: September 17, 2012
Publication Date: September 28, 2012
Citation: Stone, K.C., Sorensen, R.B. 2012. Surface drip irrigation. In: Perry, C. and Barnes, E., editors, Cotton Irrigation Management for Humid Regions. Cotton Incorporated, Cary, North Carolina. p. 49-51.

Technical Abstract: For many years, surface drip irrigation has been used to irrigation high value vegetable crops. In recent years, surface drip of row crops has been increasing throughout the United States. Surface drip irrigation can precisely deliver water and nutrients to the crop root zone. This article provides a brief description and overview of surface and shallow sub-surface drip irrigation systems. Drip irrigation can also be used in irregular shaped fields to maximize the irrigated acreage. Advantages of surface drip irrigation include low application rates, precise water placement, and low operating pressures. Disadvantages of surface drip irrigation include the initial cost of the system, specialized equipment to install and remove tubing, and the annual system component replacement. Design of drip irrigation system components are discussed along with considerations for lateral placement. Lateral placement can be adjacent each crop row or alternative row middles. An additional discussion of whether to install the tubing on the surface or to bury it 2-4 inches below the surface are discussed. The estimated cost of installation for surface and shallow subsurface is compared with deep subsurface irrigation systems.

Last Modified: 9/1/2015
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