6 ways to irrigate crops

2024-06-07

    Irrigation is the controlled application of water for agricultural purposes through manmade systems to supply water requirements not satisfied by rainfall. Crop irrigation is vital throughout the world in order to provide the world’s ever-growing populations with enough food.

    Many different irrigation methods are used worldwide, including:

    Center-Pivot

    Automated sprinkler irrigation is achieved by automatically rotating the sprinkler pipe or boom, supplying water to the sprinkler heads or nozzles, as a radius from the center of the field to be irrigated.

    Water is delivered to the center or pivot point of the system. The pipe is supported above the crop by towers at fixed spacings and propelled by pneumatic, mechanical, hydraulic, or electric power on wheels or skids in fixed circular paths at uniform angular speeds.

    Water is applied at a uniform rate by a progressive increase of nozzle size from the pivot to the end of the line. The depth of water applied is determined by the rate of travel of the system. Single units are ordinarily about 1,250 to 1,300 feet long and irrigate about a 130-acre circular area.

    Disadvantages

    • Spraying in the form of water mist will accelerate water evaporation and cause more water loss.
    • Affected by the weather. It is difficult to irrigate evenly in windy weather.
    • Foliar spraying increases the chance of mold formation on the leaves.

    Drip

    A planned irrigation system in which water is applied directly to the Root Zone of plants by means of applicators (orifices, emitters, porous tubing, perforated pipe, etc.) operated under low pressure with the applicators being placed either on or below the surface of the ground.

    This type of irrigation mainly relies on capillary tension to infiltrate and diffuse, which can greatly reduce the evaporation waste of water resources.

    Disadvantages

    • It is difficult to regulate irrigation. This type of irrigation requires regulating the time and pressure of drip irrigation according to the crop and soil conditions.
    • The equipment needs to eliminate various factors that block the irrigation holes, such as particulate matter in the water, algae growth in the pipe, and pipe aging.

    Furrow

    Usually refers to plants growing in rows in furrows and gullies or on seedbeds, with water entering the fields along channels and flowing along the edges of gullies or seedbeds.

    This type of irrigation is widely used in developing countries.

    Disadvantages

    • It wastes water resources, requires more labor, and easily causes the groundwater level to rise, leading to soil salinization.
    • It is easy to cause the phenomenon of more water in some places and less water in others.

    Sub-irrigation

    Applying irrigation water below the ground surface either by raising the water table within or near the root zone or by using a buried perforated or porous pipe system that discharges directly into the root zone.

    This type of irrigation is generally used for commercial greenhouse products.

    In addition to irrigation, it can also be used for fertilization: soak the flower pots from the bottom with a water solution containing fertilizer, and then recover the solution.

    This fertilization method can save labor, water and fertilizer while lowering maintenance and operating costs.

    Tips: To save water, using some super absorbent polymer is a smart way.


    Gravity

    Irrigation is in which the water is not pumped but flows and is distributed by gravity.


    Rotation

    A system by which irrigators receive an allotted quantity of water, not a continuous rate, but at stated intervals.

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