To preserve water, Pandak Farms uses drip irrigation and rain-guns, saving up to 80% water while growing fruits, vegetables and fodder. Pandak Farms has adopted the modern drip irrigation system from the beginning to conserve water and reduce the use of fertilizers. Drip irrigation has arguably become the world’s most valued innovation in agriculture in modern times. It offered the first practical alternative to flood irrigation. Pandak Farms uses dripper-lines to supply water directly to the plant roots.
Following components (listed in order from water source) are used in drip irrigation system at Pandak:
-Submersible pumps in the sub-surface water source
-Overhead storage tank, which could also be used for gravity irrigation
-Filtration system/sand separator
-Fertigation system (which injects the soluble or liquid fertilizers into the irrigation system)
-Pressure Control Valve (pressure regulator)
-Main and service lines (larger diameter pipes and pipe fittings)
-Control valves and safety valves
-Smaller diameter polytubes (often referred to as “lateral pipes”)
-Poly fittings and accessories (for connections)
-Emitting devices at plants (emitters or drippers and inline drippers)
Drip system at Pandak mixes soluble or liquid fertilizer with the irrigation water (fertigation). This can save up to 80 percent on fertilizers. Drip irrigation also helps achieve water conservation by reducing evaporation when compared to other types of irrigation such as flood or overhead sprinklers since water can be more precisely applied to the plant roots. In addition, drip can eliminate many diseases that are spread through water contact with the foliage. Finally, in regions where water supplies are severely limited, as in Pakistan generally and Pandak Farms area in particular, drip irrigation is the most suitable technology.
At Pandak, we experienced the following advantages of drip irrigation:
-Fertilizer and nutrient loss is minimized due to localized application and reduced leaching.
-Water application efficiency is high.
-Field leveling is not necessary: fields with irregular shapes are easily accommodated.
-Moisture within the root zone can be maintained at field capacity.
-Soil type plays less important role in frequency of irrigation.
-Soil erosion is minimized.
-Weed growth is minimized.
-Water distribution is highly uniform, controlled by output of each nozzle.
-Variation in supply can be regulated by regulating the valves and drippers.
-Fertigation can easily be included with minimal waste of fertilizers.
-Foliage remains dry, reducing the risk of disease.
-Reduced energy costs.
Use of Rain Guns for Fodder and Grain Crops
Since drip irrigation cannot be used for grain crops and fodder, Pandak Farms has installed hydrants for rain guns through out the farm. The use of rain guns obviates the need of flood irrigation and thus prevents waste of water.