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Michael Esmeraldo - Netafim South Africa

"It is important to adapt to market trends in order to supply the industry with what it needs in the field”

A variety of factors must be considered in dripper and dripline selection. The designer and/or farmer must determine which attributes are necessary for the crop and circumstances. The purpose is to maintain a balance between dripper cost and performance.

Jerry Austen, Product Manager at Netafim South Africa, explains that equipment cost is a sliding scale determined by a host of factors and a comprehensive portfolio of drippers and driplines is available that cover a wide range of crops and applications. “One of the attributes to consider is wall thickness. The thicker the pipe wall, the more durable the pipe is, but the more plastic it requires and the more expensive it will be. A thinner wall thickness will make the dripline much cheaper but will potentially open it up to a higher occurrence of dripline damage.”

He adds that an aspect of a dripper’s specification is whether it is to be used in heavy, medium, or thin wall pipe. “A big, advanced dripper meant to last a long time, will therefore go into a heavy wall dripline with suitable durability. At the other end of the spectrum, a small dripper which is at greater risk of potentially getting clogged and is only purposed for a single season, will be welded into a thin wall dripline.”

It all boils down to what your crop needs. Experts would, for example, not recommend the same equipment for irrigation with hard, murky water for a single season, as for irrigation with the same water where the equipment needs to last many seasons. Similarly, the same equipment will not be used for irrigation with much better water quality.

Thin Wall Driplines
Thin wall driplines are specifically designed to be used for one to three seasons on vegetables and certain field cash crops. It is also perfectly suited for temporary installation for strip wetting for germination. Thin wall driplines are also the perfect solution in circumstances where a farmer may not have the capital outlay for the intended and preferred heavier wall dripline. A lower cost thinner wall can be used initially and upgraded to a heavy wall later once the crop brings in sufficient income.

If the attributes of advanced heavy wall driplines aimed at multi-seasonal use are more than your crop needs and your circumstances allow, these driplines become a waste of money and labour - something that cannot be afforded in modern farming, where efficiency is crucial to survival. Thin wall driplines can lead to significant cost savings when some attributes are no longer crucial.

According to Michael Esmeraldo, Managing Director of Netafim South Africa, the irrigation industry is seeing a global phenomenon that farmers are shifting to increased use of thin wall driplines. “We prioritise the needs of our end-users and it is therefore important for us to adapt to market trends in order to supply the industry with what it needs in the field.”

Netafim South Africa is mostly known for its premium heavy wall driplines. “Netafim’s focus is to help any farmer in any circumstances grow more with less. By offering thin wall, medium wall and heavy wall driplines with ranging dripper features and capabilities, as well as our wider range of precision irrigation solutions, we know that we can help any famer overcome challenges in the field.”

Netafim South Africa has always been able to supply local farmers with the full range of drip solutions, our locally produced offer however needed one more piece of the puzzle. “With the announcement of local Streamline™ X production, we can proudly say that our locally produced dripline offer is complete, and we can nimbly react to the needs of our end-users,” says Esmeraldo. 

Gerdie de Lange, Marketing Manager of Netafim South Africa, spoke to Michael Esmeraldo, Managing Director, and Joe le Roux, Factory Manager, about Netafim South Africa’s local investment.

The Toughest Thin Wall Dripline
Regular users of thin wall driplines know that in-field dripline damage becomes a significant challenge when moving towards thinner wall driplines. Farmers do not have the time to treat driplines with kid gloves. In the field, you need irrigation equipment that does the job and survives the often tough conditions.

Understanding this challenge, Netafim set out to create an extremely robust thin wall dripline that would still uphold the high level of efficiency of Netafim products. The aim was to create a durable dripline and to reduce the damage that occurs when driplines are installed or retrieved. Enter Streamline™ X. What makes Streamline™ X so special? “It is the toughest thin wall dripline ever made. This was confirmed by extensive testing at our headquarters in Israel and on local soil,” says Esmeraldo.

The toughness of Streamline™ X can be attributed the longevity of the dripper on the one hand, and the durability of the dripline on the other hand. Internal and external reinforcement ribs enhance dripline durability and protect the pipe from damages on the pipe surface and close to the dripper. This makes installation and retrieval easier than ever before. Netafim’s advanced dripper technology is what makes this tough dripline even better. It ensures optimal turbulence, self-cleaning capabilities as well as wide water passages and a large deep and wide cross section for high dripper clogging resistance. The dripper's large filtration area efficiently prevents the entrance of sediments into the drippers, ensuring optimal performance even under harsh water conditions. 

Both dripline and dripper characteristics were put to the test when the Netafim product management team tested and compared Streamline™ X against two competing thin wall driplines.

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