In the face of stricter environmental regulations, California dairy farmers are now able to apply for NRCS cost-sharing grants to implement Netafim’s innovative Effluent Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI-E) system for forage crops.
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Recognizing the need to develop a drip irrigation solution that meets the needs of modern dairy farmers, Netafim USA teamed up with the California-based Non-Profit Organization Sustainable Conservation. The companies have been working together since 2014 to develop a Subsurface Drip Irrigation solution that enables the consistent and reliable application of dairy effluent as a nutrient-rich fertilizer. Using advanced filtration and proprietary, patent-pending technology developed by Netafim, the innovative SDI-E system blends dairy wastewater with fresh water at an optimum ratio. This is accomplished through monitoring of the electrical conductivity (EC) in the water as it passes by a sensor. As the EC of the water changes, Netafim’s NETBEAT system is able to make real-time adjustments to the blending valves in order to keep the fertilizer mixture in a prescribed ratio as it is delivered to the plant’s roots though drip irrigation tubing buried below the surface.
Following successful trials on four California dairies over the past 3 years, the USDA has included the innovative SDI-E technology among the list of environmental practices for which financial incentives are offered in 2020. Available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), cost-share funding is currently available for $2,871 per acre to implement the SDI-E system. System costs range $2,500 to $3,300 per acre depending on a multitude of factors.
“While the water-saving and yield productivity benefits of sub-surface drip irrigation are well documented, the use of readily available, nutrient-rich liquid effluent as a forage crop fertilizer is a continued challenge for dairy producers. This technology will enable more efficient utilization of this readily available and sustainable liquid effluent as a forage crop fertilizer. We believe this could lead to wider adoption and more efficient application practices for dairy operators,” said Mike Hemman, President and CEO of Netafim USA. “The SDI-E system removes many operational challenges and the NRCS funding makes the implementation of this system a cost-effective solution for dairy farmers in the nation’s #1 dairy state.”
In addition to the water savings provided by drip irrigation, field trials showed an increase in nitrogen use efficiency of up to 47 percent. This results in more of this organic fertilizer being taken up by the plant, preventing the leaching of excess nutrients from the soil to the groundwater below. The system has also shown to help decrease the emission of greenhouse gases.
More information on Netafim’s innovative Effluent Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI-E) solution is available by visiting www.netafimusa.com/effluent.
ABOUT NETAFIM USA
Netafim USA, based in Fresno, CA, develops and manufactures drip irrigation systems for agriculture, landscape & turf, greenhouse & nursery, mining and wastewater. Netafim offers an extensive range of irrigation solutions including driplines, filters, sprinklers, valves, water meters and digital farming equipment for complete dripline system installations. For more information go to www.netafimusa.com. For more information about Netafim’s Effluent Drip Irrigation Solution go to www.netafimusa.com/effluent.