A new irrigation system rescues olive trees with up to 80 % less water

The DeepDrop® irrigation system has proven to be instrumental in saving large amounts of water and drastically reducing water stress on trees and plants. And the owners or managers of olive farms have been able to observe this after only a few months of its implementation. In addition, it is the only subway irrigation system that allows to check from the surface and with the naked eye whether or not the water is actually reaching the root system.

This year we have witnessed an increase in olive oil prices as we have not seen for a long time. The explanation is multifactorial, but it is clear to no one that drought and high temperatures due to climate change have had a lot to do with it. Both for olive trees and other crops. It has happened in Andalusia, La Rioja, Catalonia, Extremadura as well as other autonomous communities.

Faced with this situation, the DeepDrop® irrigation system allows farmers to use much less water and therefore rationalize the water available to them. In addition, the ability of this system to deliver water to the root system of the trees means that water stress is drastically reduced and the fruit does not suffer the ravages of drought.

In this article we will present the experiences of four olive farms to illustrate the success of the implementation of DeepDrop® in their olive groves:

Organic farming farm in Seville

Andrés has four hectares of table olives of the manzanilla variety.

It has 1,000 olive trees and last year introduced DeepDrop® in one of its plots with 333 olive trees. The soil type is sandy.

Before installing the DeepDrop® drippers, I had installed in-line drippers of 2l/h per meter with which I watered for 5 hours a day. With the new subway and localized irrigation system, he has installed a single DeepDrop® per tree that irrigates only one hour per day. With this change, Andres has gone from irrigating these 333 olive trees with 3,000 liters per day to 1,300 liters per day, saving 56.7% of water.

DeepDrop® customers are often recommended to test the system on a plot. We understand that since it is such a simple technological innovation, it is sometimes difficult to believe in its results. So did Andres and with these water savings and seeing the health of his trees he plans to expand the use of DeepDrop® to the rest of his olive trees.

Zagra Reservoir

Martilla Farm in Granada

Pepe manages a farm of 250 olive trees 15 years old of the hojiblanca variety.

The soil of this farm is clayey.

Pepe is part of the San Lorenzo de Zagra Cooperative which produces the extra virgin olive oil Castillo de Zahara.

When he installed DeepDrop® on his farm, he placed 3 “drippers” for each olive tree, following DeepDrop® technical advice, i.e. respecting the same points that he had previously placed with surface irrigation. The difference is that with them I went from watering for 2h30 every day with 8 liters/hour drippers to watering with 4 liters/hour drippers. In other words, it has reduced its water consumption by half and therefore irrigates with 50% less water than before. The results could be seen in less than 3 months.

Regenerative agriculture farm in Catalonia

The farm manages an agricultural project of 500 olive trees of the arbequina variety. The soil in which it grows is clayey.

The project opted for DeepDrop® in search of a more effective and efficient solution, since it previously irrigated with 10,000 liter tanks, which was equivalent to 25 l/m2. Since the introduction of this localized and subway irrigation system, it now irrigates 1 hour with a 4 l/h dripper with DeepDrop® drippers. Although the measures are not equivalent in themselves, the approximate water savings have been 84% (considering that the DeepDrop® devices can cover an area equivalent to 1 m2).

They are very satisfied with the large amount of water they save and the system also allows them to cultivate according to their way of working, since they do not use the plow, as they practice regenerative agriculture.

In addition, around the trees they put pine bark shredding to safeguard moisture and DeepDrop® which is fully compatible with the type of agriculture they advocate as a way not only to produce but also to care for the land.

Farm in Granada

Private property in Granada

Juan Cañadas is a retired natural science teacher who now focuses on making his small farm a place for self-sufficiency as well as a place of enjoyment.

As a good biologist, he is concerned about the water shortage situation and believes that DeepDrop® devices should be of social interest, given the havoc caused by the lack of persistent rainfall.

Juan has a small plot of land with 12 olive trees of approximately 50 years old of the hojiblanca variety that allows him to produce his own oil. He has also recently planted 10 new olive trees.

It also has trees of different varieties such as persimmon, quince, lemon, plum, walnut. It has also introduced flowering plants, shrubs always of native varieties in which DeepDrop® drippers are also incorporated.

It has a difficult soil since it is clayey with gypsum. Gypsum is treacherous as it can both dry out the soil and create water galleries. This is why DeepDrop® has been a relief for Juan, as these devices ensure that the water actually reaches the roots of his trees, avoiding the difficulties that this type of soil presents.

DeepDrop®System® growth data

DeepDrop®System started to be developed as a product in 2015 as an efficient irrigation system and water use rationalization solution for agriculture and gardens, both for plants, flowers, trees and shrubs.

In 2022 it became known in Spain and internationally thanks to the press in a context of severe drought that, for now, does not seem to be abating if we take into account the reality itself as well as the future forecasts that climate change experts have been warning us about for some time.

Since then we have distributed this simple and innovative irrigation system in Spain, Europe, Latin America and the United States for different types of crops.

Both olive oil and olives are a hallmark of Spanish cuisine. To preserve and protect the trees that give us these wonderful fruits and our “green gold”, it is urgent to find irrigation methods that rationalize the available water and, in turn, ensure that the trees drink from where they need it, from their own root system. And that is what the DeepDrop® System provides, simply and economically.

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