When it comes to a high-value crop like avocado, reaching commercial production during the second year of cultivation or increasing yield by 30% means big profits. Precision irrigation, fertigation and modern planting practices can make this possible for you.
I know that many avocado plantations are irrigated by micro-sprinklers. Should I consider it as a viable solution over drip irrigation?
Micro-sprinklers can be excellent precision irrigation emitters in avocado plantations as they create a wetted pattern that is well correlated with the avocado's root zone. Some farmers prefer micro-sprinkler systems because not only can they tolerate poor quality water, but the visual inspection of the system is easier and the water jets can be clearly seen. Micro-sprinklers are also a good fit for rocky soils where water distribution may be disrupted by the inconsistent soil texture.
However, micro-sprinklers require 20%-30% more water than drip irrigation, and potential damage, or wear and tear, means higher maintenance costs. Although both methods are recognized, we have seen a global shift towards drip irrigation using two laterals of driplines per line of trees.
What are the benefits of drip irrigation in rainy areas?
In rainy areas, drip irrigation will allow you to deliver water during dry spells and offer an efficient fertigation system all year round. Precision irrigation lets you spoon-feed your avocado to prevent leaching and ensure that every drop of fertilizer is delivered directly to the root zone.
Avocados are very sensitive to water stress due to their shallow root systems, and irrigation in the dry season (a big problem in Africa) can help improve yields a lot.
What is the expected yield for a drip irrigated avocado plantation?
While the average yield is influenced by many factors including climate, variety and the age of the plantation, typical yields of Hass avocado, for example, reach 20-30 tons per hectare on a yearly average. In Africa, farmers can reach 20 tons of avocado per hectare, with a higher percentage of export-quality avocado.
Can drip irrigation systems be activated remotely?
Yes. Advanced digital tools enable you to activate and manage your irrigation and nutrition from the palm of your hand, giving you remote access by mobile, tablet or computer - wherever you are. It is possible to add other digital tools, such as soil or weather sensors, to optimize your yields and resources. Learn more about our digital farming solutions.
How does drip irrigation benefit my farm operation?
Growing avocado requires an intensive farm operation that is simplified with precision irrigation. Farm employees can work in the plantation without being dependent on irrigation or fertigation scheduling. The delivery of plant protection and fertilizers via the system itself reduces operational complexity and allow access of agromachinery to the field at any time.
Can I use fertilizers in my drip system?
Yes! Not only can you use them, you also have full control over how much fertilizer you use. Various trials and global best practices have shown that fertilizing in small amounts throughout the growing period keeps the plant root zone continuously nutritional, ensuring the avocado reach their optimal size, quantity and quality. Even organic farms can use organic fertilizers in the drip system.
The next 50 years of farming won't be like the last 50. The agricultural system that served us until now needs to change. Growers need more control. We're farmers and innovators committed to bringing innovation to Africa, evolving together with our customers.Learn more about Netafim Africa