Thousands of acres of center-pivot irrigation around Las Cruces, N.M., have been converted to subsurface drip irrigation (SDI). Bill Cox, CCA agricultural consultant at CoxCo Ag Services, has been involved in much of that conversion.

SDI growers have been able to sharply reduce water waste compared with other irrigation systems like furrow and center-pivot irrigation. The experience of growers is that water use efficiency is not exactly water conservation.

“The goal isn’t necessarily to use less water, but to get more production with the water that you have,” wrote Tanner Ehmke for Crops & Soils magazine. The understanding should be that drip irrigation doesn’t save water.

 “[The crop] still uses the same amount of water it did before you switched to drip. The difference is you’re eliminating the waste. And if you can retrieve that waste, you’re able to farm a lot more acres with the same amount of water you were using before. You just diverted it. You’re putting it somewhere else to grow something with it,” Ehmke quoted Cox as saying.

Toro Micro-Irrigation used the article to promote SDI. The lengthy article can be reached by clicking here.