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Automation and innovation

Field Irrigation: Irrigation Systems and Their Applications

ByElliot Ernser

Apr 30, 2020

Irrigation is a common and necessary agricultural practice because water is an important factor for plant growth, along with the availability of light and heat. In some regions, frequent rainfall provides adequate rainfall. However, most farmlands need regular artificial irrigation. That being said, drip irrigation is the most popular irrigation method worldwide. The system of irrigating fields with artificial channels allows farming even in desert regions.

What is irrigation?

Irrigation or irrigation is supplementary watering in areas where natural rainfall is insufficient. Irrigation plays an important role in developing crops and increasing their yields.

Classification of irrigation systems

In agricultural practice, there are four main types of artificial irrigation of fields.

Surface irrigation

This irrigation system of farming assumes the distribution of water naturally, in accordance with the law of gravity. Surface soil irrigation does not require sophisticated and innovative technologies, but requires large quantities of water resources. Therefore, surface irrigation of fields depends on the type of soil and is only feasible if its infiltration capacity is low: it is applicable for clay soils and ineffective for sandy soils.

Surface irrigation is carried out in several ways: flood irrigation, furrow irrigation and strip irrigation.

Flood irrigation

This method involves building embankments around the perimeter of the plot and flooding it. The water stays on the surface of the field for a long period of time. This irrigation system is mainly used for rice cultivation, but is also suitable for wheat. Flood irrigation is used in flat areas and the surface is further leveled if necessary.

Furrow irrigation

In furrow irrigation, water fills long trenches that are at a level higher than the crops being grown. Water flows down the rows by the law of gravity or is delivered through siphon tubes and valves.
furrow irrigation

Strip-till irrigation

In this irrigation system, water is applied by running water over the strips using siphon tubes or valves, as in furrow irrigation.

Sprinkler irrigation

Crops are sprayed with automatic irrigation systems or manually operated equipment. Sprinkler irrigation systems are fixed for a set period of time or are in the field permanently, with the ability to move and rotate sprinklers. Sprinklers vary in head strength and droplet diameter, depending on nozzles and nozzles.

This irrigation system is not universal and is not suitable for irrigating some crops, as large droplets and high water pressure can damage plants, especially during flowering and pollination. In addition, sprinkler systems become clogged with insoluble particles that enter the system and damage the equipment. Water distribution in sprinkler irrigation depends on wind speed and direction.

Drip irrigation system

What is a drip irrigation system and how does it function? Water is delivered in droplets through a thin ribbon installed along the rows, which is why this irrigation system is called a drip irrigation system. A significant advantage of drip irrigation is the reduction of water consumption because the drops are delivered under low pressure directly to the crop. In addition, moisture deficit in rainfed areas prevents weed development. The absence of weeds saves nutrients in the soil.

Drip tapes are damaged by machinery and clogged if insoluble particles enter the system. If the applied substances are water-soluble, irrigation and fertilization can be combined. This method is known as fertigation.
drip field irrigation.

Underground drip irrigation

Water flows through the irrigation pipe and drip tape to the roots of the plants below the soil surface. As with above-ground drip irrigation, this system is characterized by minimal water consumption. In addition, because the water is delivered underground, it does not evaporate.

Intra-soil drip lines are damaged not only by insoluble particles, but also by plant roots, rodents, as well as by the movement of machinery and field cultivation.