Major Issues in Micro-irrigation Systems in Agriculture.
There are a wide variety of significant factors that affect the microirrigation systems in agriculture, including an immense impact on the bottom line. Understanding some of the crucial properties of water is essential as it will shed light on the potential issues that can arise, including some of the most popular water treatment strategies to resolve them. Water molecules have a polar alignment of the hydrogen and oxygen atoms—one side contains the hydrogen atom, which has a positive electrical charge, and the other side there contains the oxygen atom, which has a negative charge. Water has the full capability to dissolve a variety of different substances, which is why it is a good solvent in nature. In fact, water is also known as the “universal solvent” since it dissolves more substances than in comparison to any other liquid. This is an extremely important aspect of every living thing on the earth. In other words, wherever the water goes, either through the bodies or through the ground, it takes along with the valuable chemicals, nutrients and minerals. Water helps the plants and all other living things by transporting important nutrients through the plant. The nutrients are mainly drawn from the soil and are well utilized by the plant. Water carries the dissolved nutrients and sugar through the plant. Without having enough water in the cells, the plants can’t survive.
Water is essential for all living organisms to grow most things; however, the minerals and the nutrients are well transported by water which is not always beneficial in terms of an irrigation system or the plants that they are planned to nurture. Moreover, the waterborne issues that are impacting the irrigation systems include:
- Biomatter: It is a type of filtration process that can greatly minimize plugging problems. However, biologicals, algae, and other small plants and animals that tend to live in or seek the water can still pass through these filters as well. Microbes that usually pass through these filters can continue to grow from inside the system. While some organisms can build up in various numbers, it often tends to form clumps within the entire tubing at the point where the water enters the emitter.
- Scaling: The scaling is mainly caused by the presence of elements like iron, calcium, or manganese in the water. These elements are usually associated with iron oxides or limestone &are often dissolved in the sources of irrigation water. Using this water for irrigation purposes without the treatment for iron or calciumcan result in scaling & ultimately plug the irrigation system pipes or even the emitters.
- Iron and hydrogen sulfide slime: The water containing the iron-rich elements leads to the formation of iron bacteria that mainly convert the soluble iron to iron precipitates, insoluble in nature. The iron concentrations of 0.2 parts per million (ppm) are enough to support the growth of the bacteria. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in the irrigation water results in the formation of Sulphur bacteria, which is a whitish slime with an odour of rotten egg.
Other significant issues that can impact the irrigation system are as follows:
- Inorganic particulate matter: The sole cause of emitter plugging is due to the presence of foreign material, like particulate matter (mainly sediment) from the soil or any other water sources. These small inorganic particles easily pass through the filters & can cause plugging at the micro-emitter. If the overall size of the particles superceeds the diameter of the emitter orifice, or in case if the smaller particles stick together for the formation of a much larger mass, then emitter plugging is likely to be used.
- Organic particulate matter: Arthropods, such as ants, can enter the emitter from the outside during the idleness of the irrigation system and become stuck in the tubing as they constantly search for water, especially when the entire system is turned on.
Major Shareholders in Micro irrigation Systems Industry –
Micro-irrigation Systems Industry was valued at $ 9.13 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach a value of $ 30.26 billion in 2030 with a CAGR of 12.67 % during the forecast period of 2020 – 2030. Key players in micro irrigation industry are Netafim Limited, The Toro Company, Lindsay Corporation, Nelson Irrigation Corporation, Elgo Irrigation, Irritec, DripWorks Inc etc.