Your crop’s productivity will depend on the irrigation system you choose. Your choice of irrigation system is just as important as choosing the right seed and working the soil in the best way to grow your crop.
There are many factors that influence the choice of irrigation method and the final decision about the best irrigation system. Grekkon Limited has provided a list of factors that growers should consider when making an irrigation decision. We will be discussing factors that affect the use of overhead and drip irrigation.
- Water available
Each irrigation method has its own water consumption rate. water efficient irrigation techniques are those that require less water to produce the same yield or higher.
- Farrow irrigation or basin irrigation. This is the practice to flood farrows or basins where crops are planted. This is common where there is ample irrigation water such as rice paddies. This is the oldest method of irrigation. It does not require any special technology, but it is possible to use basic tools. It is however the most inefficient irrigation method, as over 30% of water applied to the ground is lost to evaporation. The ground is rich in minerals, which can increase the cost of fertilizer. This is often added to offset this loss. Basin irrigation requires a lot of labor.
- Overhead irrigation. This refers to the use of overhead sprinklers and pivot systems, as well as the rain hose kit. This system also requires large quantities of water.
- Drip irrigation. This irrigation method is the most efficient. It delivers water directly to the plant’s base in drops. Drip systems are either sub-surface or surface. Pre-perforated drip lines are used for vegetables, but button drippers and online drippers can be used to water trees and orchards.
- Crop type
Basin irrigation is good for most crops. Some crops, such as strawberries, will not benefit from basin irrigation.
If moisture is left on the leaves for too long, solanaceous crops like tomato, potato, or cucurbits can be susceptible to fungal infection. Overhead irrigation is discouraged for these crop types.
All crops can be irrigated with drip. Overhead irrigation is used if there is a higher humidity requirement during the growing season.
- Size of the land
Basin irrigation can be used on medium- to large scale crops. From small kitchen gardens to large-scale growing, sprinklers can be used. The size of the sprinkler will depend on how much water is required.
Only large acreage can be used with the pivot system. Rain hose kits are for nurseries and small to medium acreage.
- Growing method
While a grower may choose from any of these irrigation methods to water his or her open-field crop, a greenhouse farmer is restricted to using drip irrigation.
Basin irrigation is the most affordable way to irrigate. Drip irrigation and pivot irrigation are more expensive.