6 Types of Irrigation Systems used in Agriculture

Irrigation is a process of application of sufficient water to the soil to support the crop requirements.

With the advancement of technology, various irrigation methods have been developed to meet the specific requirements of crops and soil.

Types of irrigation methods are

  1. Drip irrigation method
  2. Sprinkler method
  3. Surface method

Drip irrigation method

drip Irrigation pipes laid beside plants
Soil is moist only around the plants in drip irrigation

Here water is discharged as small droplets to the soil at frequent intervals with the help of emitters.

It reduces water losses, minimizes weed formation, and increases productivity.

This system of irrigation is aimed to supply the water directly to the plant for consumptive use.

It is a highly water-efficient usage system among all methods of irrigation.

In arid regions of the world, it is considered the most suitable irrigation method.

The main problems in the arid region are limited water resources and undulated land; these problems can be overcome by installing drip irrigation.

It has mainly four components like the

  • Suction
  • Regulation
  • Control and the
  • Discharge

These are accomplished by a water-lifting pump, hydro cyclone filter, sand filter, fertilizer mixing tank, screen filter, pressure regulator, water meter, mainline, lateral, and drippers.

To supply water with pressure, a water-lifting pump is essential.

After lifting, water will pass through the hydro cyclone filter, sand filter, fertilizer mixing tank, and screen filter finally through drippers.

All these filters are essential to the smooth flow of water through drippers; otherwise, pipelines may tend to clog.

Modern variation also helps in prolonged slow irrigation to minimize human involvement.

One can use drip plant bags to irrigate garden trees once a week.

drip bag for plant growth
Drip bag irritates plant for many days with stored water.

Types of drip irrigation

High-pressure drip system

This works at an operating pressure of 30 psi or more.

Low-pressure drip system

It works at an operating pressure of less than 30 psi.

Advantages of drip irrigation

  • It saves around 30-70 % of water.
  • There is a reduction in the cost of labor as the chances of excess weed are low.
  • Suitable to use in hilly terrains.
  • It also decreases the weed problem.
  • There will be an increase in plant growth, vigor, and yield.
  • Facilitates easy intercultural operations.
  • Ease the fertilizer application.
  • Fewer incidences of various diseases spreading through the soil are minimized.
  • It is most suitable for light soils.
  • Utilization of low-quality water like hard water or salt water without contaminating the farm.

Sprinkler irrigation method

In the sprinkler irrigation method, water is applied over the field under pressure in the form of a spray.

Watering by Sprinklers-One of the types of irrigation
Watering garden by sprinkler method

Surface irrigation method

Here the water is applied to the field with the help of gravitational force.

Around 85% of irrigation in the world is given by surface irrigation methods.

Surface irrigation

Surface irrigation is mainly used in field crops and orchards.

In this method, gravity is used to supply the water from the source of irrigation to the crop with the help of canals, pipes, etc.

The efficiency of this method depends largely on the type of soil and crop, etc.

Among all irrigation methods, water losses are higher in this method, so it is said to be the least efficient method of irrigation among all methods.

Mainly there are 3 types of surface irrigation method

  • Furrow irrigation
  • Basin irrigation
  • Border irrigation

Furrow irrigation

  • Here water is irrigated to the field through the furrows spaced at 0.1 to 0.3 meters.
  • It can be operated with less technical knowledge, whereas drip and sprinkler methods require technical knowledge.
  • The furrow method also requires less capital investment. This regulation of water flow is difficult. It is suitable for crops like maize and sorghum which are sown in rows.
  • In the fields with higher slopes and low infiltration rates and in fields with lower slope, higher inflow rates are required to irrigate the field uniformly.
  • Generally, siphon tubes are used to supply water to the furrows from the ditches.

Basin irrigation

  • In this, a basin, which is proportionate to the size of the tree, is prepared.
  • It is mostly used in orchards. After making basins, all these are connected with each other and with irrigation channels.
  • The water moves from one basin to another basin by irrigating the previous basin.

In this method of irrigation, there might be the tendency of contamination of pests and diseases from one tree to another through irrigation water.

We can also practice inter-cultivation if we opt for this method of irrigation.

Border irrigation

Border irrigation is one Types of irrigation
Border irrigation uses more water for land irrigation.

It is an old method of irrigation. In this method, the field is divided into blocks, and borders are made with the help of the earth.

In this method, water flows between dikes that divide the sloping field into rectangular strips with free drainage at an end.

The purpose of the dikes is mainly to contain water as it flows across the field.

This method is most suitable for the fields with slopes compared to the basin method.

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  1. The normal plants need Soil aeration to absorb oxygen in the roots for respiration and release carbon dioxide
    Soil air is important in plant growth as it supplies an adequate quantity of oxygen into roots and also removes carbon dioxide for healthy growth of the plant


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