By Mordi Schwartz, Area manager Spain / Portugal
Low flow drip irrigation is the name of the game, and the news is now spreading all over Spain, which is a vast producer of a wide variety of vegetables, in some 100,000 Hectares.
There is a need to feed close to 80 million mouths in Spain within the 42 million strong population and the huge tourism industry.
The use of heavy and thin wall drip lines using Netafim DripNet drippers, with flow rates from 0.4 liters per hour to 1.6 liters per hour, are major elements in knowledge sharing workshops currently being held throughout the country under the banner of the “Quality Low Flow Irrigation by Netafim” campaign.
Low flow irrigation offers clear advantages to the farmer and grower:
- Reduction of the water used: since the irrigation efficiency gets near to the 100%, there is no need to apply overdosing of water.
- Reduces the amount of fertilizers: since the fertilizer is efficiently distributed at the active root-zone level, the plant receives a high percentage of the amount distributed, leading to lower quantities of applied fertilizer.
- Reduces capital equipment: Since the water flow-rate is lower, it is possible to utilize lighter/smaller infrastructure (tubing, valves, etc.) thereby lowering system cost.
Furthermore, this additional flow reduction makes the whole infrastructure of the system lighter – lower pressure meant less pumping required from water sources, which in turn meant less energy requirements. These lower energy requirements result in less gas released into the atmosphere, making the entire system more environmental friendly, while also increasing yields and improving the quality of the crops.
With this clear message in mind, growers of a wide range of crops have been invited to one of the 25 events now being held in varying locations, where experts share information and techniques as well as showing samples of a range of the latest products now available to the Spanish Market. Each meeting is also accompanied by the famous Spanish tapas & wine at the end of the workshop where participants also have the opportunity to chat informally with the presenters.
50 growers, dealers and customers attended the first event in Valencia and up to 60 participants are expected at each of the other workshops.
Together with Pablo Carcinero from Regaber and along with invited experts from Netafim, such as water quality expert Sebastian Schifris and Danny Feinberg, irrigation products manager, we lead 2-3 lectures and presentations at each workshop, with the participants invited and encouraged to ask questions and offer insights from their working practices.
Reaction and feedback from the first workshop was very positive with many expressing gratitude at having had the unique opportunity of such an in-depth look at the latest advances in the agricultural sector.