All around the world, there are different methods of irrigation. As most of us know irrigation is supplying plants with regular intervals of water when rain is not enough. Irrigation equipment and techniques have developed as technology in the industry has changed.
There are many common factors between all methods of farming. The additional water supply must come from another source for most methods it comes from rivers, wells, lakes and dams that allow the flow to the fields by the force of gravity along pipes or canals
The main methods in agriculture include surface, sprinkler, drip, and center pivot.
- Surface: In surface irrigation, water moves over and across the land by simple gravity flow to wetland and soaks into the soil.
- Sprinkler: It’s a popular method, which pipes with a set amount of water to the fields and then sprays it directly over the crops with high-pressure sprinklers. The benefit is that the amounts of water can be controlled.
- Drip: With this type, water is delivered at or near the root zone of plants, drop by drop. This method is the most water efficient in irrigation. But is not common for large fields.
- Center pivot: It involves a self-propelled system in which a single pipeline moves on wheeled towers in a circular pattern.
Focusing even more on the center pivot methods because it is one of the most common of irrigation types in many agriculture-based countries. There are benefits of these systems as well as some setbacks.
The advantages of a Center Pivot include a high degree of automation- which can reduce the amount of labor needed, there is no need to level the land, a center pivot will have a service life of 20 years, low operating and maintenances costs.
As with most things, there are always disadvantages though. The sprinkler intensity at the end of the center pivot is usually fast which can result in short-term surface runoff; without the ground angle system, the leakage spray is large which can cause the investment per unit too high; dragging the transfer plot is not convenient.
When considering the irrigation industry there are many advantages and disadvantages as to why or why not you should implement an irrigation system in your field.
- Irrigation makes it possible to grow cash crops which give good returns to the cultivators. Examples of cash crops are; sugarcane, potato, corn etc.
- It improves the groundwater storage as water lost due to seepage.
- It improves the yields of crops which mean more income for the agricultural industry to prosper.
- Helps the growth of crops during the period of scarce or poor rainfall.
- Excessive seepage and leakage of water create marshes and ponds. The marshes and the ponds in some time become the colonies of the mosquitos.
- It lowers the temperature and makes the locality damp due to the presence of irrigation water.
- Excessive seepage into the ground raises the water, hence causing water logging in some areas.
These are just a few examples of the two sides of irrigation, but there are many important factors to implement these methods.
- Irrigation maintains moisture in the soil. Moisture is necessary for the germination of seeds.
- Water supplies two essential elements, hydrogen, and oxygen to the crop.
- Irrigation is necessary for the absorption of mineral nutrients by the plants from the soil.
It is essential for the growth of the roots of the crop plants.