3 Steps To A Successful Hemp Irrigation System
Having a good irrigation system is one of the keys to growing a profitable crop of hemp. There are three main factors that ensure a successful hemp irrigation system.
They are as follows:
First, the type of irrigation system.
Like most row crops, hemp will perform the best with a drip irrigation system. Hemp has high water and nutrient demands and requires a specific level of moisture in the soil. Therefore, an irrigation system that can apply a very precise amount of water to the roots without saturating the soil is essential. No other type of irrigation system can deliver the right amount of nutrients and water to the plant like a drip irrigation system.
Further, by applying water and nutrients only where the plant needs it, weed pressure and fertilizer waste is significantly reduced.
Finally, by keeping the water off the foliage of the plant, diseases will be prevented, and the overall quality of the crop will be improved.
Second, a reliable system design.
Row length, field topography, water quality and soil type are all technical considerations that need to be dealt with by a designer to provide a uniform irrigation system.
For example, where undulating terrain is an issue, a reliable designer would recommend products like Netafim’s DripNet PC, which will ensure that each emitter applies the same amount of water regardless of the topography.
It is important to take extra care that your system is designed by a certified designer so that you do not have to deal with repairing and maintaining a poorly planned system.
Finally, the management of the system.
Scheduling is critical to making sure that the plants are not over watered or under watered.
Understanding the soil’s water holding capacity, the climatic conditions, and the crop’s water requirements are crucial in order to properly schedule irrigation events.
Soil moisture sensors and integrated control systems such as Ranch Systems are excellent tools to assist growers with scheduling irrigation.
Hemp is not an easy crop to grow, however if the grower has the ability to deliver the right amount of water and nutrients at the right time and exactly where the plant needs it, this will lower costs and most importantly drive higher yields of a better quality crop.
Written by Frank Oostenbrink
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