Evaluation of the Performance and Sustainability of a Drip Irrigation System in a Small-Scale Corn-Based Diversified Farm in Kay-Anlog, Calamba City
Manolo G. Villano1 and Arthur L. Fajardo2
Considerable corn-producing farm lands still exist in some barangays of Calamba City. Indeed, the annual profitability of these farms must be improved to avert their conversion to other land uses. A promising option is through crop diversification with off-season high-value crops as being practiced by one farmer in the area who installed a drip irrigation facility to just less than 4 % of his 3.5-ha farm. Producing bitter gourd (ampalaya) during dry months, the farmer claimed high profits that he immediately recovered his investment.
Performance of the drip irrigation system was evaluated in terms of adequacy and uniformity of water applied, and crop yield level. Design criteria evaluated include adequacy of: emitter capacity, pipe sizes, pressure heads, and the pump and prime mover. The capability of the farmer to sustain its operation in the long term was also analyzed.
Results indicate the water being applied is less than required by about 60% and the average uniformity coefficient just 46 %. Not surprisingly, the actual crop yield is only one third of its potential. Contributing to the low performance include lesser irrigation time, high land slope on the upper section of the manifold, non-servicing of the filter and non replacement of damaged drip tapes even beyond its life.
With some improvements in design, appropriate operation, timely maintenance, and availability of drip system components at reasonable costs, the farmer could sustain augmenting his farm income through drip irrigation
Keywords: drip irrigation, irrigation performance, operation and maintenance, drip irrigation system design
1Associate Professor, Land and Water Resources Division (LWRD) and 2Assistant Professor, Agricultural Machinery Division (AMD), Institute of Agricultural Engineering IAE), College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology (CEA T), University of the Philippines Los Baños, 4031 College, Laguna, Philippines.