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Part of the cost is a capital investment useful for several years, and another part is due to the annual cost of disposable parts. Growers new to drip irrigation should start with a relatively simple system on a small acreage before moving to a larger system. Growers considering certified organic production should first become familiar with the National Organic Program (NOP) ( IE.htm) and the principles of organic production (Ferguson, 2004a,b; Treadwell, 2006).
Many existing small pumps and wells may be used to adequately irrigate small acreage using drip systems. Sweet corn production in Florida, EDIS Publication HS737, Production advantages: Combined with raised beds, polyethylene mulch, and transplants, drip irrigation enhances earliness and crop uniformity. Using polyethylene mulch also increases the cleanliness of harvested products and reduces the risk of contamination with soil-born pathogens. Safety: Drip tubing may be lifted by wind or may be displaced by animals unless the drip tape is covered with mulch, fastened with wire anchor pins, or lightly covered with soil. Leak repair: Drip lines can be easily cut or damaged by other farming operations, such as tilling, transplanting, or manual weeding with a hoe. Okra production in Florida, EDIS Publication HS729/CV127.
The goals of this publication are to present the principles behind drip irrigation and some practical guidelines for successful and profitable use of drip irrigation.