Irrigation is the artificial application of water to the soil through various systems of tubes, pumps and sprays. Irrigation is usually used in areas where rainfall is irregular or dry times or drought is expected. There are many types of irrigation systems, in which water is supplied to the entire field uniformly. Irrigation helps to grow agricultural crops, maintain landscapes, and revegetate disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of less than average rainfall. 

Why is Irrigation important

Stock farmers use irrigation to ensure they grow enough feed for their animals and maintain paddock health. Many new crop and plant varieties require regular moisture which has led to increasing interest in irrigation. Water is essential for farmers to produce many items that feed family. 

Water is the most important element for the growth of plants. Different types of plants require different quantities of water at different times during their growing period. Water is supplied to the plant through direct rain or flood waters of the rivers which inundate large land areas during floods. As these are natural processes, there may be heavy rain and damaging the crops or creating scarcity of supplying water for the crops. 

So an artificial method is needed by which water can be collected and stored so that it can be used when necessary. This method of science is termed as irrigation. 

In order to fulfill the water requirements of the crops throughout the crop period for the full nourishment of the crops, nutrients to the crops may also be applied through irrigation. 

Crop Period - Is time period between the instant of sowing seeds to the instant of harvesting the plants 

Irrigation water should be supplied as soon as the moisture falls up to the optimum level. The quantity of water that produces the maximum yield of the crops is termed as optimum water level. More or less than the optimum level results in the reduction of the yield. 

Note:

- Agriculture is often greatly hampered due to irregular, insufficient or uncertain rain; proper irrigation systems can secure uninterrupted agriculture. 

- The productivity of irrigated land is more than un-irrigated land. Crop yields every where in the developing world are consistently higher in irrigated areas than in rainfed areas. 

- Seeds can not grow in dry soil as moisture is necessary for germination of seeds. With the help of irrigation supply, the required moisture content of soil for the growth of seed can be ensured. 

- Multiple cropping in a year is possible through irrigation. this will enhance production and productivity. 

- Through irrigation, it is possible to supply the required amount of hydrogen and oxygen which is important for the proper development of plant root. 

- A plant can absorb mineral nutrients from the irrigated soil. Thus irrigation is essential for the general growth of the plant.

- Bringing more land under cultivation is possible through irrigation. 

- Insufficient rain water may also cause drought and famines. Irrigation can play a protective role during the period of drought and famines. 

- Irrigation contributes to the economic growth and poverty reduction. As income and employment are closely related to the output and irrigation increases production, substantial increase in incomes is achieved in country side.

- An advanced scientific development like high yielding varieties seed (HYV) demands irrigation. Actually, irrigation is most important input for HYV. 

There are various types of irrigation methods, irrigation system definition, irrigation history and irrigation scheduling approaches. 

Advantages of Irrigation

- Irrigation helps to maintain the condensation of the loam soil. 

- It provides mineral as well as other nutrition by the assimulation from the mold. 

- Irrigation is one of the most feasible ways to grow cash crops like sugar cane, tobbacco, maize, coffee etc. 

- It helps to preserve the structure of the top soil. By eliminating the deficiency of water, irrigation manages to give fast manufacturing. 

- The more production rate intensifies, the more living standards of farmers increases. 

- Canal and irrigation water seeps through the soil and elevates the water table desirable in desiccated and semi-arid zones. 

- At many places, the irrigation serves as the only water source. 

- Irrigation helps to make the cash flow of a farmer profound with massive production of crops. 

- It improves the yields.

- It acts as shield against famine. 

- It helps to prevent disease of weeds. 

Disadvantages of Irrigation 

- Careless and over irrigation can lead to salt efflorescence. 

- Irrigation becomes an obstacle in the path of free favors during the rain seasons. 

- Not every time irrigation is affordable.

- As irrigated water helps to lessen the inversion, at times it turns the area into a wet surface. 

- Overflowing irrigated water gives insects a place to make their habitant with is harmful to sorroundings giving rise to various diseases.

Types of Irrigation Systems

The three main methods of irrigation are surface, sprinkler and drip / micro. 

 

 

Is a method of applying irrigation water which is similar to natural rainfall. Water is distributed through a system of pipes usually by pumping. It is then sprayed into the air through sprinklers so that it breaks up into small water drops which fall to the ground.

Water is distributed over and across land by gravity, over land flow of water no mechanical pump required. The 3 most common methods are basin irrigation, border irrigation and furrouu irrigation. Water is typically introduced at the highest point or along the edge of the field, which allows covering the field by over land flow. 

Drip Irrigation is a type of micro irrigation system that has the potential to save water and nutrients by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either from above the soil or buried below the surface. The goal is to place water directly into the root zone of the plant and minimize evaporation, run off and water loss. Drip irrigation installation process requires time to install. There are some networks which are used to distribute water equally among the plants. These are valves, pipes, tubing and emitters. 

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