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Grape - Drip Irrigation

Roots of Peace: Kenneth R. Tourjee Considerations for Vineyard Drip Irrigation Systems 1. Advantages of drip irrigation 1. Drip is adaptable to fields with odd shapes or uneven topography. Drip irrigation can work well where other irrigation systems are inefficient because parts of the field have excessive infiltration, water puddling, or runoff. 2. Drip irrigation can be helpful if water is scarce or expensive. Precise water application is possible with drip irrigation. Irrigation with drip can be more efficient because evaporation is reduced, runoff is reduced or eliminated, deep percolation is reduced, and irrigation uniformity is improved so it is no longer necessary to "over water" parts of a field to adequately irrigate the more difficult parts. 3. Proven yield and crop quality responses to drip irrigation have been observed in onion, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, melon, tomato. Grapes were one of the first crops to use drip irrigation and it is widely used by California grape farmers. 2. Disadvantages of drip irrigation 1. Drip irrigation systems typically cost $500 to $1,200 per acre. Part of the system cost is a capital investment useful for several years and part of the cost is annual. Systems can easily be over-designed. Growers without experience should start with a simple system on a portion of the vineyard to gain management experience. 2. Drip tape has to be managed to avoid leaking or plugging. Drip emitters (the part of the system that delivers water to the plant) can easily be plugged by silt or other particles not filtered out of the irrigation water. Emitter plugging also occurs by algae growing in the tape and chemical deposits at the emitter. Tape depth will have to be carefully chosen for compatibility with other operations such as cultivation and weeding....

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