Toro has introduced an easy-to-use “how-to” guide to subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) that helps producers adopt SDI systems for field crops, such as corn, cotton, soybeans, sugarcane and alfalfa. The guide arrives on the heels of recent news and several case studies that show producers have harvested record crops by utilizing subsurface drip irrigation, in spite of the recent drought. The guide seeks to educate growers about the benefits of SDI and provide considerations and tools for designing SDI systems.

In addition, the guide provides an overview of the technology, along with written and graphical elements illustrating the benefits of SDI, which include increased yields, decreased costs and water use, improved ability to farm in drought conditions, and improved flexibility and convenience. The guide also explains system setup and the lateral selection process.

Selecting the correct lateral (drip tubing) model is integral for successful SDI systems, but is often challenging because emitter flow rates range from .07 gph to .53 gph, emitter spacings range from 6 inches to 24 inches, internal diameters range from 5/8 of an inch to 1 3/8 inches, and wall thicknesses range from 4 mil (.004 inch) to 15 mil (.015 inch). To help ease the selection process, an easy-to-use, four-step lateral selection tool was developed that translates soil, water and crop information into specific lateral (drip tubing) choices. This allows users to choose from Toro’s wide product offerings, including Aqua-Traxx premium drip tape, Aqua-Traxx PC (pressure-compensating) drip tape and Toro’s new Thinwall dripline.

“The lateral selection guide helps users quickly narrow the list of eligible models that will successfully satisfy grower objectives given site specific soil, water and crop conditions,” says Inge Bisconer, technical marketing and sales manager for Toro Micro-Irrigation. “We believe this unique, innovative format of translating GPM/Acre or Inches/Hour into a lateral choice will make SDI lateral specification easier for irrigation dealers and producers, alike.”

The brochure also summarizes important considerations in SDI design, installation, operation and maintenance, and points to other helpful resources, such as the Toro Micro-Irrigation Owner’s Manual and AquaFlow drip irrigation design software. To download the subsurface drip irrigation guide or to learn more about SDI, visit driptips.toro.com.