Farmers should adopt subsurface drip irrigation in sugarcane crop for saving water and achieve higher yield, said K. Vairavan, Dean, Agricultural College and Research Institute of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Madurai, here on Thursday.

Speaking at a brief function after taking a look at the performance of sugarcane crop under subsurface drip irrigation at the irrigation technology model farm at Anbil Dharmalingam Agricultural College and Research Institute (ADAC and RI) of the TNAU at Navalur Kuttapattu here, Dr. Vairavan said by adopting the drip irrigation technology in sugarcane, the farmers could save water up to 50 per cent and achieve higher yield of 60 tonnes per acre.

Dr. Vairavan said under subsurface drip irrigation the drop laterals and buried under the ground initially to a depth of 30 cm. In the later period during earthing up operation the laterals are buried to higher depth which helps in the operation of machineries inside the field without any hindrance.

G. Kathiresan, Dean, ADAC and RI, said that under subsurface drip irrigation with a spacing of six feet between laterals and with a work space of five feet between plant row, power tiller can be easily operated for intercultural operations. They avoid rodent damage and the buried driplines can be used for the subsequent ratoons crop for three to four years without disturbing the driplines. In the model farm sugarcane variety CO Si (SG) 6 is performing well under SDI with higher plant population and higher tillering, Dr. Kathiresan said.

S. Somasundaram, Assistant Professor (Agronomy), ADAC and RI, explained the fertigation schedule followed in the farm for subsurface drip irrigation sugarcane with water soluble fertilizers, viz. potassium nitrate, MAP (mono ammonium phosphate) for once in every two days.

S. Avudaithai, Associate Professor (Agronomy) and Heads of various departments of the ADAC and RI, were present.