IRRIGATION SYSTEM PLANT
Water is essential to plants. It carries important nutrients from the soil and is an important trigger for germination and the process of photosynthesis. Without water, plants simply won’t grow.
Irrigation systems provide water.
When it comes to watering plants in our yards or gardens, most of us don’t always like to rely on the weather — we may use watering cans or sprinkler systems.
This is irrigation at its simplest level. And while this is fine for the home gardener, when you’re a farmer trying to water an entire field these methods become impractical.
Although the basin method is still popular, there are more refined methods of irrigation in use today:
- Surface irrigation such as border irrigation, furrow irrigation and other forms of irrigation that use flooding
- Overhead irrigation
- Trickle or drip irrigation
- Sub-surface irrigation and plastic mulch
First, let’s take a look at surface irrigation systems
Surface irrigation is arguably the least complex form of irrigation.
At its simplest, no attempt is made to stop fields from naturally floods. In general, this is only suitable in situations where the crop is of little value, or where the field will be used only for grazing or even recreation. Of course, while this method is simple and easy,
it is totally dependent upon a suitable water source.
A more refined variation, though still reliant on a plentiful supply of water, is basin irrigation.
Closely-spaced crops with deep roots are particularly suited to this method, and the growing of rice in paddy fields is an example familiar to most of us. The water is directed into the field by various channels and pipelines, or may even be brought in manually.
Border irrigation is similar, but in this case the field is not entirely enclosed by dike. Instead, it is watered from one end and allowed to drain from the other. Border irrigation works well with sloping land, as does furrow irrigation, in which the water is further controlled by the use of channels within the field itself. Water is directed along these channels, and by controlling the flow of water into each channel, the farmer can control the amount of water in different portions of the field surface.
An overhead irrigation system is a lot like a lawn sprinklers – the basic principle is the same. Water is pumped in under pressure and sprayed down onto the plants from flat spray nozzles.
These may be mounted on an overhead network of aluminum pipes or even simply mounted on the top of a stake.
Because it can be difficult to produce an even coverage, some more expensive systems may feature a moving overhead boom. This mechanism, which moves across the length of the whole crop, can then disperse the water in a much more even manner. Another overhead irrigation device is the water gun, which, as its name suggests, shoots water into the air and out over a field. A large water gun can cover several acres of land without needing to be moved.
Overhead systems are particularly useful when covering large areas of land, and some can even be dismantled and moved from field to field with little trouble.
Because overhead irrigation systems need a plentiful supply of water at a relatively high pressure, they vary greatly in complexity and cost depending on the acreage you’re covering.
Irrigation System Plant; while surface irrigation methods rely on watering the whole surface of the field and overhead irrigation leaves the plants wet and produces runoff, drip irrigation is far more controlled. Water is slowly provided to a very specific area, close to the roots of the plant, by a network of drip emitters.
Despite their name, these tiny nozzles – about the size of a quarter – don’t hang above the plants and drip but are actually laid along the ground. Linked to an appropriate water source by a main feeder hose, they provide a slow and steady flow of water. An alternative to drip irrigation is trickle tape – essentially a length of hose with built in drip emitters.
The advantage to using trickle or drip irrigation is, simply, control. This method of irrigation is precise and economical. The flow of water is so slow that it is easily absorbed into the ground. In a well-tuned system there is little opportunity for excess water running off and being wasted.
More recently, plastic mulch has become an integral part of many drip irrigation systems. By laying sheets of plastic across the fields, the horticulturalist can further improve conditions for their plants.
In developed countries we have a ready supply of fresh, clean water. It merely needs filtering before it can be used for irrigation; the finely-tuned systems used in drip irrigation are easily clogged by dirt or deposits from unfiltered water. Developing countries, however, may have to rely on rivers or seasonal rainfall for their supplies of water. While this may not always be reliable, the alternative is to create dams or canals, each of which may cause unwanted changes to the local environment.
Even though no one wants to wash away the fertile soil from their field, soil erosion does occur.
This is an unwanted and unfortunate side-effect of surface irrigation. In addition to this, the constant evaporation of water may also lead to a build up of salt in the upper layers of soil, particularly if the soil has a high saline content to begin with, rendering it unsuitable for farming.
So, if you read about Irrigation System Plant we’ve seen that while methods of irrigation vary in complexity and efficiency, they are all just ways in which farmers or gardeners attempt to simplify the task of watering their crops.
Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, which is why there is still such a wide range of methods in use.
For more information or advise, do not hesitate to contact PEEL Pumps at 01706 558352 or write to [email protected]