Chemigation, in general, can be defined as the application of an agricultural chemical through any irrigation system, using the irrigation water to distribute the chemical. Chemicals include pesticides (insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, nematicides), fertilizers, plant growth regulators and other materials. Chemigation can be applied only if the product label allows such application, and only according to the label directions and restrictions.
The three basic crop irrigation systems include overhead/sprinkler, drip/trickle, and surface/gravity flow systems. The proper equipment, depending on the irrigation system, is essential for successful (as well as legal) chemigation. Although overhead irrigation and surface flow systems may be suitable for some vegetable crops, drip irrigation is widely used in vegetable production.
Many growers throughout the vegetable-growing regions of the U.S. are already using drip, or trickle, irrigation as a water management tactic. Chemigation via drip irrigation allows growers to apply pest control materials through a distribution system they already have in place (the drip system), thus saving significant time and money over ground-applied chemicals. Over the past 10 to 12 years, many field tests throughout the U.S. have demonstrated that application of insecticides via the drip system results in highly effective control of specific insect pests of vegetable crops using low rates of labeled insecticides.Continue reading