|Camp Jr, Carl|
Submitted to: Decennial National Irrigation Symposium
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/19/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) has been a part of agricultural irrigation in the USA for about 40 years but interest has increased rapidly during the last 20 years. Initially, SDI was used primarily for high-value crops such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and sugarcane. As system reliability and longevity improved, SDI was used for lower-valued agronomic crops, primarily because the system could be used for multiple years, reducing the annual system cost. Design guidelines have also evolved to include unique design elements for SDI, including air entry ports for vacuum relief and flushing manifolds. Specific installation equipment and guidelines have also been developed, resulting in more consistent system installation, improved performance, and longer life. Crop yields with SDI are equal to or better than yields with other irrigation methods, including surface drip systems. Water requirements are equal to or lower than surface drip and fertilizer requirements are sometimes lower than for other irrigation methods. Interest in the use of wastewater with SDI has increased during the last decade. The future of SDI is very promising, including its use in wastewater systems, and especially in areas where water conservation is important or water quality is poor. SDI is a very precise irrigation method, both in the delivery of water and nutrients to desired locations and the timing and frequency of applications for optimal plant growth.