Which type of irrigation is best for you?

Irrigation has been used by farmers since farming began. Without irrigation, crops could not be grown and food could not be produced. Actually, the same is true today, although irrigation has come a long way from its primitive beginnings.

There are several irrigation methods available and before deciding on which is best for you and your crops, you need to first understand the layout of your fields, the types of soils, and available water sources.  You should also consider which crops you plan on growing, as well as the pros and cons of each method, along with costs and benefits.  Here is a short description of some matters to take into account to help you decide:

  1. Soil: Soil that is relatively sandy may need to be watered frequently so that the roots are kept moist.  In comparison, clay soils are more dense and hold the moisture for a longer period.   
  2. Layout/ topography: Inclining or hilly landscapes are challenging and in this case, drip irrigation should be considered. 
  3. Weather: For windy and/or very dry regions, the use of sprinklers is not recommended due to uneven watering and rapid evaporation. Drip irrigation is best here as well.
  4. Water availability: The amount of available water and its cost are major factors when choosing the right irrigation system.

 

As stated above, there are many different irrigation methods on the market, and we will focus here on just a few:

 

Drip Irrigation
Localized irrigation that delivers drops of water and sometimes added nutrients directly to the plant roots. 

 Applications:  

  • Agriculture
  • Horticulture
  • Greenhouses
  • Landscape

 

Micro Sprinkler Irrigation
Provides water using very fine droplets or spray through narrow tubes, directly to the base of the plant.

Applications: 

  • Horticulture
  • Greenhouses
  • Landscape

 

Sprinkler Irrigation
Water is distributed through a system of pipes to spray heads and then applied over the entire surface of the soil.

Applications: 

  • Agriculture
  • Gardening
  • Golf
  • Landscape

 

Pivot Irrigation

Applications: 

  • Agriculture
  • Horticulture

 

Center pivot  

Distributes water through sprinklers located on a center pivot that moves on wheeled towers, anchored at one end and rotate around a fixed central point.

 

Lateral move irrigation
Similar to the center pivot method, but does not have a fixed point and moves up and down as opposed to circular.

 

If you are not sure which irrigation method is right for you, we suggest seeking advice from an irrigation consultant.

Whichever method you decide to use, water filtration is essential for most, especially if you choose drip or sprinkler irrigation.  Filtration can prevent emitters from clogging (one of the most significant problems in irrigation) and extend the life of your irrigation system.  Here too there are several options. 

Read our  previous post "It's all about the filter" to get a better idea of what is available.

We have put together a handy infographic highlighting the most common  irrigation methods  Download it here

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