Soc. Agr. La Fagiana

Drip Irrigation On Rice


Soc. Agr. La Fagiana

Case Study Contents

About Farm

Farm Name

Soc. Agr. La Fagiana

Year of foundation



Veneto, Venezia province

Farm area/size of the organisation:

Large (> 100 ha)

Number of workers:

5 – 20

Farm main activity:

General field crops

Climate and soil characteristics

1 km from the coast, cropping area under drainage, silty-loam soil

Measure Information

Description of the measure

Micro irrigation on rice with dripping wings every 80 cm and emitters with every 30 cm for having uniform water application.Use of soil moisture probes as decision support. 15 ha equipped.

Six soil moisture probes installed and used for automated water application.

Objective of the measure

To increase the production of rice due to increased demand.

Justification of the choice

It allowed to crop rice in marginal fields, even without water.

Moreover, Carnaroli rice cropped by the farm is sensitive to fungi and sprinkler irrigation was then not suitable (since wet leaves could develop fungi). Drip irrigation is then better.

Where did You get information of the measure from?

Development of the idea after a University thesis. Technology proposed by NETAFIM producer after visiting the farm.

Description of the situation before the measure implementation

They were not cropping rice in the fields where nowadays the technology was applied.


Stakeholders involved


Description of stakeholders’ role

NETAFIM is working on the technology together with the farm for experimenting the technology together with the farm. Technicians are also coming from Israel (NETAFIM is Israeli).

Implementation phase

Description of the survey done for the implementation

15 ha irrigated, with a system divided in 8 sectors, allowing at the delivery maximum water depth of 12 mm/day (double of the maximum estimated daily evapotranspiration). System planned for 3 hours irrigation per sector.

Materials used

  • Driplines with emitters every 30 cm
  • 1 l/h emitters
  • Flexible pipes
  • Automatic irrigation controllers
  • 3-elements disc filter, self-cleaning
  • Engine pump

Costs for the implementation

  • 800 – 1300 E/ha for the materials (The 1300 E/ha cost include the assistance from the provider)
  • 200 E/ha for the maintenance

Utilization of subsidies

FEASR funding (PSR in Italy)

Implementation / building

Standard drip irrigation installing

Required maintenance operations

Pipes substitution, pipe maintenance, check and maintenance of controllers, pump standard maintenance

Recommended knowledge / skills / training / courses / education desired before starting the measure implementation

Skills in the control and removal of parasite plants of rice. They are not present in flooded rice (ponding water prevent the growing parasites plants, but drip irrigation not).


Reduction of 60% of water demand, and of eventual expenses for water.

Possibility of cultivating rice in soils adequate only to lower value.

Communication of the technique for marketing.

Reduction of CH4 emissions (rice pads are CH4 emitters).
The technology can impact positively the increasing global water demand for rice production (rice is the first cereal consumed at global scale).

Higher production costs.

Can induce non-homogeneous water application at the field scale.


Innovation elements

Use of drip irrigation to droop rice with limited water

Key element for success

Good quality of the filer and of driplines since the water volumes applied are high and there is also a high amount of sediment


Physical constraints

Potential problems if the water has fine sediment dissolved.

Problems given by parasite plants that grow because the field is not flooded.

Technological constraints

Difficult to have homogeneous water application in the early stages of drop development. Such inhomogeneity can cause difference flowering time and crop development

Acceptance constraints

Some resistance from the National Rice Authority, since this technology is not the traditional crop system for rice, that has some environmental co—benefits (groundwater recharge). This might also be due to the low quality of the experiments of dry rice cropping realised before this one.

Proposed solutions to above constraints

For the parasite plants: carry out appropriate control.
For the sediments: hand-cleaning of the filters
For the water application non-homogeneity: use a good number of soil moisture probes.
For the acceptance resistance: demonstrate the technology in real life and not in experiments that are not carefully managed by farmers

Lesson learned

Farmers’ experiences

“Apply a lot water in the early stages of the crop, since the root system has to develop adequately”

“Never let the soil dry, if the soils dry and it gets compacted (especially if the soil is heavy) it is difficult to reach a good water application after”

“Pest should be managed according to the phenological stage, that has a different timing with respect to the flooded rice. So the pest management should be ad-hoc and not based on the traditional timing”


“We made a test in 2020 with fertigation by applying less water, but it was unsuccessful”

“System automation can be a drawback if it is not working properly, and if it is not working it is better to go without”

Measure sustainability

Environmental sustainability

The application of drip irrigation reduces CH4 emissions

Economical sustainability

The technology is sustainable if the farm is not only producing rice but also transforming it.

With the technology proposed, the rice can be cropped in marginal lands. Rice is much more valuable than all the other crops that you can usually cropped in these areas (e.g. maize)

Transfer of the measure

Replicability conditions required

Water should be available all the year round and on demand, even if it is not that much.

Additional Required Conditions for spreading the measure

The technology is being tested all around the world (including dry areas), so the technology is widely out scalable. There are no limitations related to climate and soil.

Conclusion remarks

Future plans

Future research is needed.

Open problems

Improving the functioning of controllers and soil moisture probes. The system is currently very fragile.
Improve the control of fungi and parasite plants


Ask the support of technicians expert on drip irrigation

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