A few months ago, we had an article about the different types of irrigation systems that are used all over the world. Single-use drip tape is becoming a more common system for growers in California. The following 10 explanations offer a bit of light to a trending irrigation systems.
1. Initial Cost
Even in recent years, the cost of drip tape has given growers reason to re-use it for multiple seasons. However, some manufacturers, are introducing drip tape designed for single use at a price that makes it a feasible option.
2. Labor Savings
From frequent, ongoing checking and repair of drip tape throughout a season to the lifting, removal, and storage process at the end of season, the cycle of re-using drip tape demands a great deal of manual labor. There’s also the biggest labor-savings potential in eliminating drip tape welding at season’s end a time-intensive process that includes cutting out damaged spots and plastic welding the tape back together.
3. Worker Optimization
The idea of eliminating timely manual tasks on a farm might sound good to growers, yet scary to those who depend on these jobs and are still interested in working in the fields. Rather than a single-use drip tape strategy costing existing workers their jobs, they can instead be re-assigned to tasks that deliver more bottom-line benefits to the operation.
4. Water Savings
Re-used drip tape is bound to have a bit of wear and tear after being removed for the season and re-laid. Cracks and cuts in the drip tape lead to leaks, which waste water. Using fresh, high-quality drip tape each season guarantees leak-free operation and maximum water use efficiency.
5. Repair Costs
Closely related to water waste issues that come from damaged drip tape is the cost to repair. It’s not uncommon for there to be a handful or up to two dozen leaks per acre of drip tape, making these repair costs add up quickly.
6. Storage Space
Drip tape must be properly stored during their off season. Depending on the size of their operation and how much tape they use, growers potentially need to allocate a large amount of space to store.
7. Food Safety
Speaking of cleanliness, reusing drip tape puts a grower at risk for food safety violations due to contaminated drip tape. Pathogens can be transported to other field locations, too when tape is reused. Single-use eliminates the potential spread of soil-borne pathogens.
8. Tape Recycling
When drip tape finally reaches the end of its re-use life, it’s important growers properly dispose of it. Drip tape recycling is encouraged and most growers want to recycle as part of their efforts to be ethically-responsible. The requirements growers must meet to recycle drip tape are strict, and often times don’t have the time or manpower to meet them.
9. All Crops
As the biggest agriculture economy in the country, California is home to numerous crops, from lettuce and broccoli, to berries and citrus fruits. Any type of crop that’s drip irrigated is compatible with single-use drip tape, opening the opportunity to all growers with drip irrigation systems.
10. Crop Rotation
A final, key advantage of single-use drip tape is for growers who frequently rotate crops. Certain crops may require different size drip tape. Single-use drip tape offers a fresh start at every growing season and new crop rotation to select the right combination that will best accommodate the crop and maximize yield potential.