Meet Hector Manuel Perez Turner

"The results we've had have greatly surpassed our original expectations...average increase of 60%...going all the way up to 100% or more."

-Hector Manuel Perez Turner, Agricultural Engineer

A Clear Perspective on Quality of Drip Irrigation

Using a drip irrigation system in sugarcane production has proved to be an incredibly rewarding choice for the growers at Los Mochis, a sugarcane plantation located in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico. The results that they have achieved using Rivulis Irrigation products have surpassed all expectations.

In Los Mochis valley, Sinaloa, a semi-arid agricultural region, crops rely exclusively on irrigation, so it’s of utmost importance that the materials used are of excellent quality and durability.

More than 10 years surpassing expectations

Hector Manuel Perez Turner, an agricultural engineer who works at the Los Mochis plantation has openly expressed his satisfaction with Rivulis Irrigation irrigation products and shares his impression on the products after more than a decade of use.

“The results we’ve had have greatly surpassed our original expectations, considering we had expected an increase in production of 30 to 35%. We’ve had an average increase of 60% to 65% more or less, going all the way up to 100% or more within the years we’ve used the system.” *

What also impressed Perez Turner was the life span of the drip tape, which he began using in 1998 when they first installed the drip irrigation system. When he set out, he was expecting the tape to last for a maximum of five years, but — surpassing all expectations — the Rivulis Irrigation’s drip tape continues working to this day, over 13 years later, with no problems.

It’s all about design, management and maintenance

This agronomist attributes the duration of the system to a combination of factors, from using a drip tape with good features and quality to its good design, proper management performed by the irrigation operators, and the maintenance of the system as a whole. Perez Turner specifically advises that the tape should be flushed frequently. He also suggests making sure to apply the proper amount of chlorine, acids and herbicides to avoid obstructing the drippers by building up of sediments, mineral or organic matter and roots entering the tape. Fertilizers must be managed properly because their misusage can result in plugging, which can decrease the useful life of the drip tape and lead to the general failure of a project.

Having been able to see the earlier system, furrow irrigation, and the drip system operate simultaneously in different plots, Perez Turner has a clear perspective on the quality of Rivulis Irrigation’s products, which was made evident by general improvements in the production process after the switch was made. He found that the benefits of drip irrigation materials are wide-ranging and highly sustainable if properly managed and maintained.

Rivulis Irrigation provides the most reliable integrated Ag water management solutions with superior channel partners to growers that want to optimize operations and output.

Quality and Expertise, a Winning Combination in Drip Irrigation

At Ingenio Los Mochis a sugarcane operation in Sinaloa, Mexico, they have been using a Rivulis Irrigation drip irrigation system for more than one decade and they are highly enthusiastic about the benefits of the system and its positive results.

The irrigation system at Ingenio Los Mochis has been working well since it was installed in 1998. Irrigation engineers explain that good management and maintenance of the system has contributed to its longevity.*

Hydraulic design and water management

According to the operators, it is not enough to only have the materials — proper knowledge and application of techniques is required to yield the best possible results from the system. In fact, one of the most important aspects to keep in mind for drip irrigation systems is the management of water resources. The type of crop, amount of rainfall, and evaporation rates are all factors that help determine the amount of water that is applied to the soil.

The design of the hydraulic mechanisms by the irrigation system supplier is also critical in ensuring the proper amount of water distributed in the soil is delivered to each plant, which largely affects the quality of the crops and thus the success of the operation.

Thinking of switching to drip irrigation? Read on

If you are a grower who is considering the transition from furrow irrigation to drip irrigation, there will naturally be several things to take into consideration.

Among them are the origin, quality and quantity of available irrigation water, a reliable supplier, the investment required for the system, as well as a commitment and going through cultural changes in irrigation management.

For instance, with the furrow system, frequency of irrigation is low, ranging from 15 to 35 days between events, plus the water runs above ground; while in drip irrigation, frequency may be daily and irrigation takes place underground, which is one of the main differences in supervising and setting irrigation events. Therefore, you have to be mindful not to exaggerate the amount of water you apply to the crops.

Going along with proper water management, maintaining a balanced level of humidity is also important because this encourages optimal growth conditions for extended periods of time. Crops have a better chance for healthy development.

While all of these methods have proven to be fruitful in terms of growth and production, without the durability and reliability of Rivulis Irrigation’s supplies these sugarcane growers would not have the same successes with the system despite their extensive knowledge. They stress that in order to succeed, you must have a winning combination of both expertise, and the right materials and equipment to get the job done.

Rivulis Irrigation provides the most reliable integrated Ag water management solutions with superior channel partners to growers that want to optimize operations and output.

Sugarcane under drip irrigation, a success story

Los Mochis Valley in Sinaloa, Mexico is a semi-arid region with an average of 10 inches of rainfall annually. Under these climate conditions, local agriculture depends fully on irrigation. In this region agriculture is a highly competitive industry. It’s also known for the high levels of ag technology due to the large number of vegetable crops, many of which are grown under protected culture. Pressurized irrigation systems, drip irrigation in particular, are quite common in this area, due to the water efficiency and yield improvements associated with drip irrigation systems.

Those were some of the factors leading to the implementation of Rivulis Irrigation’s T-Tape drip irrigation system at Los Mochis sugar mill. The drip irrigation system that began at an experimental level in 1998, turned into a commercial project one year later. Currently, this operation encompasses 22,500 acres of sugarcane fields. Twenty thousand acres will be harvested this year, out of which 5,000 acres are under drip irrigation.

Comparing two co-existing irrigation systems

The original expectations of this drip irrigation project forecasted significant water savings and yield increases of 30 to 50%, a three to four-year payback on the equipment, and five years of life-span for the drip tape ― a duration comparable to that of the crop life cycle (up to four ratoon crops) and three to four cuts.

After over 13 years, Rivulis Irrigation’s irrigation tape still provides irrigation uniformity and consistent yields due to good management and maintenance of the tape (both of which are essential to the longevity of tape). However, these are not the only expectations that have been widely exceeded after more than a decade. Maintaining several plots with two different irrigation systems: furrow irrigation and drip irrigation, has enabled growers to make interesting data comparisons between both systems.

Los Mochis sugarcane plantation has had an average production increase of 60% to 65%; and even up to a 100% production increase in plots under drip irrigation, and yields ranging from 60 to 100 ton/acre depending on the plantation date, 50 to 70 ton/acre in first ratoon crops and 40 to 50 ton/acre in later stages over 13 years, with 25% less cost per sugarcane ton.*

This increase in production is due to the basic drip irrigation principle of frequent low-volume spot watering. Maintaining moisture at more steady levels than the ones produced by furrow irrigation along with the application of fertilizers according to the stage and real crop needs provides optimal conditions for an extended period of time, resulting into better crop development.

Drip irrigation provides optimum growing conditions

Furrow irrigation leaves the soil fully saturated after each irrigation event. As time elapses, the soil moisture drops gradually until reaching the optimal level for the crop to develop its full potential. However, the moisture level continues declining, until more irrigation is needed, creating again the non-ideal water saturation conditions. In fact, out of the thirty day-interval between irrigation events, the crop is subjected to excessive moisture conditions from 6 -12 days and to water stress for another few days thereafter. Instead of growing one inch under ideal conditions, sugarcane will only grow half an inch every day. As a result, a fraction of sugarcane’s potential growth is lost every month.

On the other hand, drip irrigation manages moisture consistently, as well as the ability to applying fertilizers through the system according to the specific needs of the crop allowing for the crop to grow to its maximum potential for a longer period.

That said, a crucial feature determining the efficiency of drip irrigation is an accurate measurement of the necessary soil moisture level taken at the right place. Measuring too close or too far away from the drip irrigation tape will provide distorted data.

Another advantage to drip irrigation systems is water savings and the possibility of applying nutrients according to crop requirements, at the right time and the exact rate.

Additional efficiencies and final recommendations

Besides the most obvious benefits, drip irrigation offers additional efficiency advantages over other irrigation systems. For instance, the increase in production results in more efficient use of the machine-harvesting time and the distance travelled by the harvester. Furthermore, sugarcane supply at the mill is more consistent, producing less downtime and less fuel consumption.

Not everything can be considered an advantage. Drip irrigation cost per surface area can be higher, mainly due to the energy and pumping power required to pressurize the system. It is also necessary to consider the additional cost of some soluble fertilizers, the need for greater supervision and maintenance and a higher initial investment. However, higher production yields and the benefits linked to increased overall efficiency offset by far the capital investment.

Like with any other commercial systems, we recommend you to conduct a detailed analysis of the cost and resources needed; purchase high-quality materials and equipment according to your crop and geographical location requirements; choose the right design for your system; make sure that your supplier will give you technical assistance and follow strictly the handling and maintenance recommendations provided.

Rivulis Irrigation provides the most reliable integrated Ag water management solutions with superior channel partners to growers that want to optimize operations and output.