The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Micro Irrigation

It is encouraging to know many people are familiar with the term micro irrigation but I also know there are various interpretations mostly centered on the difference between drip irrigation and micro irrigation. Micro irrigation is a broader term for drip irrigation and I have found it spelled various ways. At Cal Poly San Luis Obispo you can take a class teaching micro irrigation design or read an article a Professor wrote about micro irrigation. I also found it spelled micro-irrigation on various websites. There seems to be as many ways to spell it as interpretations of what it means.


Useable Definition of Micro Irrigation

The United States Department of Agriculture describes a micro irrigation (they spell it microirrigation) system, also known as drip or trickle irrigation, as the distribution of water directly to a plant’s root zone by means of surface or subsurface applicators. That is a simple way to describe it, but for those of us who like more structure I suggest adding – micro irrigation has a maximum flow rate of 30 gallons per hour (gph). Traditional spray and rotor sprinklers apply water at a much higher rate (sometimes higher than 3 gallons per minute). One other distinguishing factor between drip and micro is most people believe drip irrigation is literally dripping water and would not include micro sprays and micro bubblers. Micro irrigation includes micro sprays and micro bubblers.


Benefits of Micro Irrigation

  • Increased yields – more crop per drop
  • Tremendous water savings allow more plants to be grown with the same amount of water
  • Crops mature faster resulting in higher and faster returns on investment
  • Nutrient loss and leaching are reduced due to low flows
  • Leveling fields is not necessary
  • Fields with irregular shapes are easily accommodated
  • Recycled non-potable water can be used
  • Fertigation can be implemented
  • The cost of fertilizer and the labor associated with fertilizing are reduced
  • Weeds are less of an issue because water is being applied directly to the plants root zone
  • Water distribution is highly uniform, controlled by output of each emission device
  • Leaves of plants remain dry, lowering the risk of disease
  • Because micro irrigation systems work at low pressure energy cost is less



No matter how you spell micro irrigation the benefits are many and every grower to gardener using supplemental irrigation should be using micro irrigation technology. World wide the demand for more and higher quality food is increasing daily. We need to continue to develop ways to do more with less. As all of us rise to the challenge of doing more with less we need to take advantage of a technology that provides a way to produce more in less time and improved quality.  If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing or following me on twitter @H2oTrends


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2 Responses

  1. Micro or drip irrigation you name as you want but
    IT SAVES RESOURCES and helped farming community all over the world to increase the quality and also quantity of farm produce

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