The Advantages of Closely Spaced Emitters

Choosing the right drip tape emitter spacing can be more of an art than a science. This is because of the many variables that exist in each farming application, including tape placement, soil type, crop, plant population, soil and water salinity, tape quality and cost, etc. Fortunately, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s recent Drip and Micro Irrigation Design and Management Manual, published by the Irrigation Training and Research Center (ITRC) in 2007, provides a great deal of guidance for this important decision. In particular, the new manual discusses how closely spaced drip tape emitters can enhance salt management for seed germination, leach salts in permanent crops, and dilute soil salinity for salt sensitive crops. In addition, the manual highlights some of the agronomic and economic disadvantages of using widely spaced emitters.

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To help farmers, dealers, and manufacturers recognize and understand some of the problems that have been experienced with drip tape (problems that are quite different from manufacturing defects), the Irrigation Training and Research Center (ITRC) published a drip tape problem guide called “Diagnosing and Avoiding Damage to Drip Tape.” Problems that are quickly detected and properly identified can often be remedied, or be avoided in the future.

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