This article shares the importance of sprinkler irrigation over flood irrigation and sprinkler irrigation, understanding basics like operating pressure range and water distribution efficiency to improve the yield of the crop.
Irrigation is considered an important practice for growing crops in agriculture. The timely and right amount of water applied to crops results in a higher yield. Excess water can cause wastage, whereas, less water application can reduce the crop yield. Therefore, it is necessary to decide which method should be adopted between sprinkler irrigation and flood irrigation to give better yield and income.
Flood irrigation is one of the oldest methods of applying water to the field in which water is pumped in or drained into an agriculture field or orchard and is allowed to soak into the ground or runoff. It is repeated as needed. It is very inefficient but it is cheap since there is little investment. If water was priced accordingly, this type of irrigation would be the first to go. Unfortunately, due to the low cost of this valuable resource, these methods are still around.
Another major problem with flood irrigation is that the water is not always applied evenly to all plants. Some plants might get too much water, and others get too little, causing crop growth in the field not even and farmers’ yield will reduce significantly.
Waterlogging is also an issue associated with flood irrigation. It can stop the growth of plants and delay it further until excess water drains out or dries up from the root surface.
Sprinkler irrigation is a method of providing rainfall-like irrigation to the crops. As water is not allowed to flow over the land surface, the water loss and uneven distribution of water are completely eliminated. Hence, compared to surface irrigation methods, high irrigation efficiency is achieved in the sprinkler irrigation method of water application.
If we compare sprinkler irrigation to flood irrigation, about 20-40% of water can be saved with a 10-30% increase in crop yield.
The advantages of sprinkler irrigation are as follows:
- Crop grows in a better way which ultimately enhances its quality.
- A Lesser amount of water is required than flood irrigation.
- The root development is very fast and quick.
- Intake of fertilizers is very high than flood irrigation. About 90% of the fertilizers are absorbed by the crops in sprinkler irrigation.
- Crop yield is more in sprinkler irrigation due to the even distribution of water.
- Sprinkler system is easy to install and affordable.
- Time, labor, and maintenance cost is saved in sprinkler irrigation.
More area under sprinkler irrigation would lead to more yield or production to fulfill the needs of the population. More yield would fetch more income to the farmers. It would provide more employment opportunities for them. Their supplement income can provide them with more capital for further investment in non-farm activities also.
Understand about technical aspects of Sprinklers available in the Market
There are many impact sprinklers available in the market. Most of them are made of brass, aluminium, zinc, and engineering plastics.
Be careful during the selection of a sprinkler. Most sprinkler manufacturers’ catalogues provide information on the performance and characteristics of their products. So, it’s important to study the catalogue which states the model and size of the sprinkler, bearing sleeve and its thread (male or female), the nozzle size and type, trajectory angle, and other important features such as corrosion-resistant stainless steel spring and shaft, potential application, etc.
The same catalogue provides a performance table of each impact sprinkler with different nozzle sizes. The performance of a sprinkler is described by its operating pressure range, discharge, the distance of throw, distribution pattern at sprinkler spacing, and application rate. The maximum wetted diameter by the sprinkler depends on operating pressure, sprinkler trajectory angle, and nozzle design.
When sprinkler is working at low pressure than the manufacturer’s declared operating pressure, the droplet size will be more and less water will be released from the sprinklers. This will hamper its water distribution causing the reduction in crop yield due to poor uniformity and leave dry areas in the field. Whereas, if sprinkler is working at higher pressure than declared by the manufacturer, the droplet size will become smaller and wetted diameter will increase. The wind drift effect will be more on the droplets which will lead to poor distribution uniformity. The sprinkler should run in between the operating pressure range as declared by manufacture to achieve good distribution uniformity and get higher crop yield.
Key Technical Features:
One must always focus on the sprinkler’s operating pressure range and distribution uniformity. If the water sprayed by sprinklers is distributed uniformly to the entire field, the crop growth will be more, and expect higher yield because distribution uniformity varies with sprinkler spacing and field conditions. The distribution uniformity of sprinklers (CDU) should be more than 88% will result in higher crop yield and good returns to farmers.
Uniform Application: Overlap ³ 50% of sprinkler wetted diameter
If the distribution of water is not adequate, dry patches in the fields will be more, meaning the water is not going to fall in that area causing crop damage in that particular area and reducing overall yield.
Non-uniform Application: Overlap << 50% of sprinkler wetted diameter
If you are a small farmer or big agricultural producer or lawn owner and still using a flood irrigation system, then now is the perfect time to switch your irrigation method to sprinkler irrigation. Many big sprinkler companies like Automat provide you with a perfect opportunity to switch and improve your irrigation system by using a sprinkler system.