Back to - Step 4.3 - What needs to be considered in the planning, design, cost and management of subsurface drip irrigation (SDI)?
Step 4.3.6 - Installation of SDI
SDI system suppliers can design the system and help with the selection and installation of the various components. It is important to make sure that the designer visits the site to familiarise themselves with its features. You should talk to other farmers using SDI in your area to learn from their experience and also discuss your plans with service providers and with DPI staff. A poor design, inappropriate selection of system components or substandard installation will reduce efficiency and/or increase cost of the system. The installation should be done well before planting so that the site can settle evenly. Care is essential with the installation. The location of all components needs to be accurately delineated on maps and in the field. Before installation of drip tape, the soil needs to be prepared by ripping to the root depth. Cross-ripping will promote the movement of water laterally from the drip tape.
An outline of the installation of SDI is described below
|Select the site where you want to install the system.|
Construct the right size pump shed from where the system will be operated. An existing shed on the site can also be used.
|Install the main line from source of water to the shed.|
The installation of the drip tape is the next step. The drip tapes pass through injectors which install the tape to the required depth and spacing. A GPS unit on the tractor ensures correct alignment. The depth and spacing of the installed tape should be checked periodically as it is laid to assure correct placement. The emitter opening should be toward the top so that the emitter blocking can be minimised.
|The sub-mains are installed at the upstream and down stream ends of the field. Normally the trench should be 1.0-1.5 m wider than the main and sub-main so that the pipe can be installed easily and accurately. The depth of the sub-main and flushing manifold is deeper than the drip tape in order to minimise debris entering the tapes and allow for proper flushing of the system. |
|The drip tapes are then joined to the sub-mains via connectors (supply tubes) and other equipment associated with the sub-mains, such as air release valves, flow meters, flush valves, and automation. The downstream sub-main will require air release and flush valves. Ensure all joints are well made because loose or weak joints will be problematic when the main and sub-main are buried and it becomes hard to detect and repair leaks.. |
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- Check the filters and back flush them manually
- Make sure the pressure reducing valve is adjusted to the desired pressure as recommended for the design
- Run the system in manual and auto mode, and check for leaks and that all components are working properly. If there is any leakage, shut down and repair the system
- Flush the system and once the system is flushed close the flushing valves
- Check the system also works properly on auto mode
- Attach fertiliser unit with the system and test it for manual and auto mode
- Bury the main and sub-main
- Allow time for the earthworks to settle before crop establishment
- Initiate your regular maintenance schedule