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Azud: Solutions for citrus cultivation in the face of water scarcity

"Underground drip irrigation can radically transform citrus agriculture"

Efficient irrigation is fundamental in modern agriculture, especially in drought-prone regions like southern Europe, where a drastic reduction in the water supply has tested the viability of traditionally water-intensive crops.

In Spain, the Region of Valencia is the leading citrus producer, both in terms of acreage and production volume. According to a report for the 2023/2024 season from the region's Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, the production volume is expected to fall by 4% and stand 17% below the average of the last ten campaigns. This is due to the lack of water, which besides a reduction in the supply of commercial sizes is also causing production costs to increase.

3D scheme of underground drip irrigation.

"Faced with this challenge, which is also affecting other regions of Spain, AZUD offers underground drip irrigation (UDI) systems that ensure efficient water distribution directly to the plants' root zone. This technology minimizes loss through evaporation and dispersion and also makes use of moisture sensors that adjust irrigation in real-time based on the specific needs of the crop. These systems not only help cope with water restrictions, but also ensure optimal fruit development, which is crucial for Spanish citrus to remain competitive in the international market."

Irrigation efficiency in citrus agriculture in Spain
"Recently, AZUD collaborated with a large Valencian company on a 5-hectare farm devoted to orange cultivation that faced significant challenges with its old irrigation system. The problems ranged from frequent breakdowns to high water consumption, further complicated by interactions with animals that damaged the installations. There was a clear need for a more efficient and less damage-prone solution."

Citrus farm in Spain.

"AZUD experts recommended the implementation of an underground drip irrigation system with the AZUD Premier PC AS emitter pipe range, featuring self-compensating and anti-suction drippers, and AZUD Luxon LCA automatic mesh hydraulic filters. This solution not only addresses existing problems by doing away with surface pipes and reducing wildlife damage, but also helps optimize water use and keep a better control on weeds."

"The transformation has been remarkable. The new localized underground irrigation system has allowed a more efficient use of water, achieving a 10% saving and completely avoiding evaporation and runoff. The need for nutritional products has also been reduced by around 20% by applying fertilizers directly to the root zone. The need to maintain the vegetative cover is also significantly lower, and the system demonstrated greater durability and reduced maintenance costs."

Orange farm in the Region of Valencia.

"The system's implementation has not only been beneficial in terms of costs and efficiency, it has also led to improvements in the quality of the production. Proper irrigation without surface moisture has helped prevent fruit waterlogging problems, allowing for higher yields and better root system development."

"This project illustrates how innovation in irrigation systems can radically transform citrus agriculture. With AZUD technology, the company has not only overcome specific challenges, but has also set new standards in efficiency and sustainability in agricultural irrigation. This case can serve as a model for other producers facing similar challenges and shows that adaptation and modernization are key to the future of sustainable agriculture."

For more information:
AZUD System, S.A.
Avenida de las Américas P.6/6 – Apdo 147
Polígono Industrial Oeste, 30820 Alcantarilla, Murcia, Spain
Tel.: +34 968 808 402
[email protected]