Cotton - Uzbekistan
TCT Agro-Cluster, Cotton Irrigation System, Uzbekistan
Location: Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Application: Cotton irrigation
Water source: River
Solution: Automated thin wall drip irrigation system
Uzbekistan is the eighth largest producer of cotton in the world. The country produces approximately 1 million tonnes of cotton fibers annually, which is around 4%-5% of the total global cotton production.
TCT Agro-Cluster is a cotton producer with 1200 hectares of cotton fields in Tashkent region, Uzbekistan.
The climate in the area is challenging with temperatures ranging from -2°C to 35°C over the course of the year. The summers are hot, arid and clear, while the winters are cold, snowy, and partly cloudy.
TCT Agro-Cluster was using the traditional furrow irrigation method of canals to bring water to the fields.
However, this method is now recognised to cause a continuous decrease in soil quality, as well as severe environmental damage due to salinization of the soil and the water sources.
As a result, the Uzbekistan government has instructed farmers to upgrade to pressurized drip irrigation system which has absolute control over the amount of water and fertilizer distributed to the plants.
We designed, supplied and installed an automated drip irrigation system. We divided the fields into four different zones. Each zone has its own independent irrigation system including pumps, controlled electric valves, automatic filtration, water meter and precise fertilizing station with mixing tanks. We used layflat pipes to distribute the water in the fields and thin wall drip lines to irrigate the individual plants. Each zone also has a reservoir to collect water from the river. This ensures that water can be supplied to the fields all year round, regardless of the river level or flow rate.
One of the key factors of our solution was an automation system to monitor and control the amount of water and fertilizer supplied to each plant. This ensures each plant get the exact water & nutrient quantity needed, preventing leaching of water and nutrients through overwatering, or drying out from underwatering.
As an automated system, labour expenses are significantly reduced. In addition, we supplied agronomic machinery to make the cultivation and land preparation processes more efficient, and more adequate for cultivation under drip irrigation.
We also provided experienced cotton growers from Israel to deliver on-site guidance to the local growers on how to use the new irrigation system and to help integrate the new technologies in the field.
The results of the transition to automated drip irrigation have been outstanding. TCT Agro-Cluster has seen increased yields, higher product quality, uniform growth, and significant savings in manpower and tractor hours. There has also been a reduction in the amount of water and fertilizer required for the growing process.
In addition, the soil composition and structure have begun to recover. There has been no leaching or sedimentation of the salts in the soil and fewer pathogens measured in the field.
All of the fields are planned to be shifted to the new drip irrigation system within the next five years.