Conservation Training

Microirrigation for Small Vegetable Farms

April 19, 2022

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Location: Online

Join us as we discuss the basics of microirrigation terminology, layout, components, planning and design considerations with emphasis on small vegetable farms within the context of NRCS Conservation Practice Standard (CPS) Code 441 (Irrigation Systems, Microirrigation) and its criteria.

Microirrigation is defined as frequent application of small quantities of water as drops or miniature streams and spray through emitters or applicators placed along a water delivery pipeline. Micro, or more specifically drip, irrigation is the most preferred method of irrigating vegetables in urban and rural settings. Small vegetable farms in rural and peri-urban settings typically range from a fraction of an acre to a few acres in size that may also include low and high tunnels. In urban settings, it is used to irrigate a host of backyard small containers and raise beds, rooftop plots, and larger community gardens to name a few. Regardless of the size, microirrigation systems must be planned, designed, installed, and maintained properly or the system will perform poorly or even fail. The focus in this webinar is on small vegetable farms in rural settings with limited discussion on the unique challenges faced by irrigating in inner-city and urban environments. Access to capital, reliable water with acceptable quality, and initial design and installation are a few of the challenges facing adoption of microirrigation in small vegetable farms. Proper operation and maintenance are equally important. Observations suggest there is a lack of desire on the part of most third-party designers to engage small settings and a need for enhancing farmers’ technical knowledge of micro systems. This webinar is intended to enhance in-house awareness of key planning and design considerations for microirrigation in small vegetable farms with participants also exposed to design tools, templates, example design, and other information resources, handouts, and factsheets.