Appels and her colleagues have collaborated with Canadian firm Southern Irrigation, which has pioneered SDI use in Canada and has worked with Netafim (U.S.) for 35 years. Netafim (Israel) introduced the concept of SDI to the world, explains Southern Irrigation SDI sales rep Kees Van Beek.
“We have used their driplines for nurseries, market gardens, vineyards and greenhouses,” he says. “We installed the first 40 acres of SDI eight years ago in Gem, Alberta.” Across Canada, there are about 1,500 acres under SDI, mainly in Alberta, with a little in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Southern Irrigation installed its biggest SDI field, 620 acres, in 2020.
Worldwide, Van Beek reports that millions of acres are irrigated with SDI on a wide range of grain, forage and fibre crops including alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, soybeans and sugarcane. He says India and the U.S. are large markets for SDI, with extensive use of SDF in U.S. states such as Iowa and Idaho for corn and soybeans. All Mideastern countries use SDI, he notes, and most new irrigation acres in Africa are also SDI.
But in Van Beek’s view, “the main driver for SDI will be the water savings. We use 30 percent less water and we are 98 percent efficient.”