Wet Your Whistle
With These Different Irrigation Techniques
Farmers across the globe are looking for the perfect way to water their crops. If done correctly, it could mean a larger yield after a long season. Plus, the added benefit is more food or material for the average consumer. In this whole equation, water is the most important element. It’s needed for anything to grow, but exactly how does a farmer water multiple fields of crops? There are some ingenious irrigation techniques out there, we’ll take a look at a few.
Flood irrigation is probably the oldest and most well-known type of irrigation there is. Some believe that it was the first type of irrigation that humans used to water their crops. In fact, a lot of people are still using this ancient style. Flood irrigation simply means that the water flows through pipes or a ditch onto the ground surrounding the crops. Not only is flood irrigation very simple but it is also fairly cheap and many people around the world use this method. However, a percentage of the water never gets to the crops and instead is evaporated. For this reason, it is not considered to be the most efficient of the irrigation techniques.
Another highly popular irrigation technique that also utilizes a series of pipes is drip irrigation. But, flood irrigation is a lot less wasteful as there is less water that gets evaporated. Instead of soaking the ground around the crops, each pipe has holes centered over the root systems of the crops. Over time, the water slowly drips out into the crops. Sometimes, the pipelines are buried so that the water goes directly to the base of each plant. Drip irrigation is used in a lot of areas where water is scarce and cannot be wasted.
Out of all the different irrigation techniques, spray irrigation is probably the most recognizable. While spray irrigation is certainly a more modern method, a lot of machinery is required so it could be a more costly option. You might see this type of irrigation system in place at bigger farms. Interestingly, if you’re in an airplane, most likely you’ll be able to spot them from the sky. Typically, spray irrigation systems are connected to a main water source. From there, the water is sprayed over the crops, much like a hose. The systems themselves can either be fixed to one spot or moveable. Rotating systems can cover a much broader area and is the popular choice. However, spray irrigation requires that you use a lot more water. Some of the water is blown away, while some of it can get evaporated so it can be wasteful and very costly.
As you can see, there are many different irrigation techniques. Some are more popular than others, while some are more environmentally friendly. It’s important to recognize the different techniques so we can continue to grow as a society.