Drip Irrigation for Vegetable Production

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Drip or trickle irrigation is a very efficient method of applying water and nutrients to crops. For many crops, the conversion from sprinkler to drip irrigation can reduce water use by 50 percent. Crop yields can increase through improved water and fertility management and reduced disease and weed pressure. When drip irrigation is used with polyethylene mulch, yields can increase even further.

These benefits are only possible when a drip irrigation system is properly designed, managed, and maintained. Irrigation system design is complex and is beyond the scope of this publication. You should consult with a qualified agricultural engineer or irrigation equipment dealer to design your drip irrigation system. However, you should understand many design factors to assure that your drip irrigation system is properly designed and operated. System components, basic design principles, practical applications, and operating guidelines will be discussed in this publication.

William J. Lamont Jr.
Michael D. Orzolek
Jayson K. Harper
Lynn F. Kime
Albert R. Jarrett
Pennsylvania State University