The quality of processing tomatoes is all about Brix. While many factors that affect Brix, water management is perhaps the most important as it has an immediate and significant impact on its level.
What yield can I expect with precision irrigation?
A good commercial yield of tomatoes with subsurface drip irrigation and best management practices (BMP) would produce between 120 to 140 tons/ha. Other irrigation methods would yield between 80 to 100 tons/ha. In sub-Saharan Africa, yields reach 50 to 60 tons/ha.
How much water can I save by switching to drip irrigation?
When compared to flood irrigation, you can save up to 30% of water and increase yields by more than 30%. For example, in California, USA, studies have shown an increase in yield from 82 ton/ha to 104 ton/ha while using less water.
Can drip irrigation reduce input costs when compared to other irrigation methods?
Yes! Drip irrigation requires less labor than flood or sprinkler irrigation systems. Flood irrigation and sprinklers both require someone in the field to operate the irrigation process. Precision irrigation systems are operated by pressing a button on your PC, or via your cell phone.
How much water should I use?
The amount of water is calculated by the ETo (evapotranspiration), climate conditions and by the crop phenological stage expressed by the Kc factor (crop coefficient).
The amount of irrigation (mm/day) = ETo * Kc. So, for example, if your ETo is 5.5 (mm/day) and your crop correlates to an 0.6 crop coefficient, you should irrigate: 5.5 * 0.6 = 3.3 mm/day.
Why should I choose drip over other irrigation methods that seem to be less expensive?
It’s not about cost, it’s about making the best investment. It’s been proven that drip irrigation increases processing tomatoes yield, while also improving Brix. In addition, drip technology leads to significant savings in water, fertilizer and labor. Economic calculations show that in the long run, drip is the most sustainable system for processing tomatoes production, delivering higher economic returns than any other method.
Moreover, you cannot irrigate tomatoes with sprinklers or center pivots because of late blight, and furrow also causes many diseases. Drip avoids all these disease issues and improves yield and the quality of the end product.
What are the advantages of drip irrigation over furrow irrigation?
Drip irrigation takes place throughout the entire crop cycle, as and when needed. This ensures that there are no water shortages or stress to the crops. Furrow irrigation occurs once every 10-14 days, which creates accumulated water stress in the plant.
Another benefit of drip irrigation is the ability to deliver fertilizers via the drip system. Drip improves fertilizer application (mostly potassium and nitrogen), ensuring your crops receive the right amount of fertilizer (based on the plant’s phenological development) at the right time, larger fruit size and better yield. In comparison, furrow irrigation limits application timing, making it less effective and accurate.
Can drip irrigation systems be activated remotely?
Drip irrigation and automation are easily combined and make your irrigation more efficient. It is possible to add digital tools, such as ground sensors and a remote control to optimize your yields and resources. Learn more about our digital farming solutions.
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