Drip Irrigation Laterals on Center Pivot Irrigation
Freddie Lamm, January, 2003
At the present time (January 2003), K-State is not involved with any research using surface driplines trailing behind moving center pivot irrigation systems. This technology has been researched at various times at least since the 1980s. Efforts were made to commercialize the technology as early as 1992 under the name of Drag-N-Drip * by Sherman Fox of Trickle Irrigation Specialties Co. of Salt Lake City Utah. Newer efforts at commercializing the technology are being made by T-L Irrigation of Hastings, Nebraska, www.tlirr.com under the trade name of Precision Mobile Drip Irrigation (PMDI). These mobile drip irrigation technologies should not be confused with subsurface drip irrigation (SDI). Each system type would have their own advantages and disadvantages. Lamm at K-State has recently (Fall 2002) summarized many of the advantages and disadvantages of SDI. Mobile drip irrigation technologies and SDI are both types of microirrigation, so general microirrigation concerns apply. The number one cause of microirrigation system failure in the world is clogging of the emitters, the points where water is discharged from the dripline. So both systems require filtration of the water for successful long term use. The mobile drip irrigation technology also must contend with evaporation directly from the emitter surface. Evaporation can potentially leave chemical precipitation and biological growth on the emission point which can start the clogging process earlier and at a faster rate as compared to subsurface drip irrigation systems.
As with most new irrigation technologies, there can be issues that must be addressed before the technology can be successfully used by irrigators. Below are some photos showing some issues on a mobile drip irrigation system in Kansas. This technology may develop further and be adopted as an additional irrigation system option in the Great Plains region. However, when combining moving lateral irrigation systems with microirrigation technologies, the constraints of both systems must be recognized and addressed.
* Mention of tradenames is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Kansas State university nor any preference over any unmentioned competititors should they exist.
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