How Float Switches Can Improve Drip Irrigation in Agriculture

Given that today’s agtech advancements are now readily accessible to both private and commercials growers, modern drip irrigation setups can be designed with float switches to provide the producer with even greater water control.

Drip irrigation is an automated watering method in which precise amounts of water and nutrients are applied directly to the roots of a plant. A typical lawn sprinkler will use between 4 and 20 liters of water per minute. A standard drip irrigation system, on the other hand, measures water use in liters per hour. This slower supply of water to the crops improves root take up and reduces water loss through ground percolation. This allows the water to be used more efficiently, with crop yields increasing through improved water and fertility management and reduced disease and weed pressure.

What Is Drip Irrigation Exactly?

Contrary to what its name suggests, water and nutrients are not always fed in a “drip, drip” fashion; depending on the system’s specific design, a spray or mist may be administered instead. Over time this difference in water delivery efficiency will make a considerable difference in crop production and the company’s bottom line. Drip irrigation systems are relatively inexpensive and easy to install, simple to design, and help maximize plant health due to the reduced moisture levels on fields.

How Does Drip Irrigation Work?

In effect, drip irrigation places small drip emitters in close proximity to the crops’ root systems. This provides a much-improved efficiency and makes the system much more controllable compared to other methods. The emitters release water in a slow and steady fashion. The emitters are very small, about the size of a US quarter and are arranged in an array in the ground. These emitters are directly connected to the water source by feeder hoses. Drip irrigation is renowned by growers because they boast efficiencies in excess of 90 percent when compared to average sprinkler systems. In addition to preserving the bottom line, drip emitters only apply water and nutrients to roots that actually need it.

Preventing Over and Under Watering With Float Switches

Drip irrigation reduces this risk with its unrivaled precision. Unlike hand watering, where over watering and under watering can be all too common, drip irrigation systems give just the right amount at exactly the right time. Of course, this is not to say that human intervention becomes unnecessary once the proper parameters are set; it merely allows the grower to step back from the mundane tasks so that he can focus on monitoring the progress of their crops.

Float switches can be customized to make these marvelous systems even more precise and fail-safe. In order for growers to be able to step back, drip irrigators have to be able to accurately perform their scheduled actions.

This is where horizontal float switches come into play.  Float switches can be used to monitor the amount of water that goes into the soil: if too much or too little is applied, then float switches can tell the water feeder or drip emitters to either continue or cease.

With future water supplies potentially becoming stretched, the need to improve water use wherever we can will likely see drip irrigation becoming ever more important to our agricultural needs.

Ready to improve your drip irrigation system? HSI Sensing can customize float switches to meet your unique needs. Contact us today to discuss your next agricultural project.