Evaluation of an underground micro irrigation in sugarcane in Las Tunas.

Diaz G. A. F. , Avila C. J. M. Evaluation of an underground micro irrigation in sugarcane in Las Tunas.    

University of Las Tunas Vladimir Ilich Lenin , January 9, 2014 , Cuba .
Water and Irrigation . Vol : 5, No. 1:1-3, January, 2014 , Spain .

The study provides the most important parameters to evaluate the economic feasibility of an irrigation system , obtained with the use of underground micro-irrigation  in sugarcane to the soil and climatic conditions in northern Las Tunas province, Cuba. The number of irrigations applied was 170 , with a total irrigation cost of 551 $ / ha , for a vegetative cycle of 20 to 21 months in the cane plant.It was found that from an investment of 2,275 $ / ha and cost one irrigation  of   3.24 $/ ha, time to payback is 4.6 years and the benefit-cost ratio is  1.22 $ . We conclude that it is efficient to invest in this technology in the cultivation of sugarcane.

The micro-irrigation is a new way of applying the water and ensuring rigorously supply directed towards the roots of plants, small amounts of water mixed with fertilizer , using special devices called dispensers, Vermeiren and Jobling , 1984.It was used by first time in England at the end of the 1940s and in Israel at the 50s . Its commercial importance is developed in the 60s following the work of tuning made ​​in Israel and to have relatively inexpensive tubes in plastic. The first applications were made in plots in desert regions where traditional methods of surface irrigation or sprinkler , gave unsatisfactory results due to the nature of sandy soils and saline waters . Under these conditions, micro-irrigation systems have produced very encouraging results in relation to surface irrigation or sprinkler . Moreover, the Micro Irrigation raises indeed a great interest in his own right as it appears as a potential opponent of the classic irrigation methods .

Depending on the type of transmitter used and their placement , there are several techniques of micro-irrigation such as: Drip , pipeline transmitter, microsplinkler and micro-diffusion. In recent years , the underground micro-irrigation systems for tapes have been used in large-scale cultivation of sugar cane , for countries like the United States in Hawaii , Australia , Mauritius and South Africa. The results were satisfactory , with yields of 137-257 t / ha in long cycles and of 77-171 ton / ha in short cycles. Although these systems require a high initial investment (1900 – 2500 USD / ha) , it will return in the short term at the cost of additional production and will reduce water consumption for irrigation by up to 45 %.

In Cuba , from 1976 began to introduce the technology of Micro Irrigation in sugarcane, with satisfactory results in terms of yields and water savings. However, early systems have the disadvantage that they were installed on the surface, and thus hampering the mechanization . In 1986 the introduction of small-scale underground pipe double chamber for the sugar cane, with which the downside of the removed surface systems began. Later this technology was applied to different soil and climatic conditions , demonstrating its effectiveness and its economic advantages even in regions with difficult enhancement features , such as North Las Tunas, in the presence of Vertisols and acute water shortage


Actuality the irrigation systems have been installed in more than 900 ha area, most of them in the eastern provinces , where the rainfall pattern is more unfavorable . The population of the sugar cane in the evaluated systems was 14 to 20 stems per meter of furrow and height exceeding 3.5 m stems, and in some cases reached 5 m. Yields were obtained from 206 to 224.34 t / ha for sugarcane plant 20 to 21 months and between 91 and 154 ton / ha in the offspring . Monthly yields reached to 11.81 ton / ha in plant cane , equivalent to the best results reported for sugarcane in Cuba .

Our research is based on analysis of 109 ha with underground micro-irrigation laterals in alternate ridges:

Irrigation system Soil Climate Lateral Disposition
Jesús Menéndez enterprise Vertisols Arid To 3 meters distance, in alternate ridges.
Irrigation system Province Yield     t/ha
Strains- No irrig.-Irrigated
 Jesús Menéndez enterprise Las Tunas Several—89.80—149.15

Economic indicators

Irrigation system    IB USD/ha Cost of one irrigation USD/ha TR years Relation B/C TIR
Jesús Menéndez enterprise 2275 3.24 4.6 1.22 0.12

IB : Value Investment
TR : Investment recovery time                                                            B / C: ratio benefit / cost
TIR: Internal Rate of Return


1-Con Micro Irrigation underground technology in sugarcane crop yields of 149.15  t / ha were achieved.
2-La population of sugar cane in the evaluated systems was 14 to 20 stems per meter of furrow and stalk height of 3.45 to 5.09 m .
3 – Save 50% on the laterals when placed in alternate ridges.
4 It was managed to meet crop water needs throughout all cycle .
5 It was get efficiency water use with values ​​between 9.7 and 11.6  ton/ha.100mm.
6 – Reduction of energy consumption by up to 40 % compared with the sprinkler irrigation.
7- Save up to 50 % by the application of herbicides.
8-Increased  life of the strain in more than two years .
9- Reduced over 20% of the cost per ton of cane produced and harvested .



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