The irrigation system that provides the most control over water management in your vineyard is drip irrigation, commonly known as trickle irrigation. Drip irrigation involves dripping water onto the soil at very low rates. This system uses long plastic water supply lines that run down each row of vines in the vineyard. This ensures each individual grapevine has its own individual dripper.
Is a drip irrigation system right for your vineyard?
When deciding if a drip irrigation system is right for you, there are multiple factors to consider:
- The type of soil on your property
- The soil depth
- Effective rooting zone of the vines
- Vine density
- Water quality
- Land formation
- Economic factors such as the capital and operating costs
Why use drip or trickle irrigation systems in your vineyard?
Drip, or trickle irrigation, is the system in which water is frequently and slowly applied directly to the crop root zone. The idea of a trickle irrigation system is to irrigate only the root zone instead of the entire field surface. A drip irrigation system is a great solution for vineyards with dry, saline, low drainage soils. And for crops where soil moisture maintenance may result in high insect pests and disease incidence.
Benefits of installing a drip irrigation system.
Installing a drip irrigation system is beneficial for the farmer and beneficial for crop production:
- Crops are irrigated immediately when soil moisture drops below the threshold, ensuring easy management of soil moisture level
- Easy application of fertilizers and pesticides combined with irrigation
- When using a trickly irrigation system, farmers generally experience reduced weed growth and reduced management of farm activities in the field due to localized soil wetting
- Irrigation can be stopped at any moment (if rain occurs) which prevents overirrigation
- Easy to install, design, and if done right, it can be an economical investment
- Possible to implement on almost any terrain, soil and crop type
Ways to optimize vineyard irrigation
Irrigation of vines is a necessary part of vineyard management. It’s often essential where winegrowers completely or partly rely on irrigation water. With drip irrigation, winegrowers are manipulating vine growth and grape quantity and quality. Since water is a limited resource, and its price constantly rises, winegrowers tend to improve vineyard water use efficiency, using natural resources more sustainably. Drip irrigation is a great way to achieve this:
- Find the drip irrigation system that best suits your situation
- Install a rain shut-off switch. Rain sensors will turn off your system automatically when a certain amount of rain has fallen
- Check your trickle irrigation system for leaks regularly to ensure you’re not wasting a huge amount of water
- Water deeply and less frequently. This reduces run-off and encourages your plants to grow deeper and stronger
- Replace traditional irrigation systems in planting beds, tree and shrub areas with drip irrigation. Drip irrigation has been proven to be up to 90% more efficient
- Tailor your watering schedule to the specific plant requirements and landscape conditions. This is the best way to save water
As the Barossa’s irrigation specialists, the team at Graetz Irrigation is happy to help out with all your drip irrigation questions. Either give us a call 08 8562 1333. Or contact us online, we’ll be in touch.