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Types of Irrigation Systems in Agribusiness Management

Agribusiness managementAgriculture

Types of Irrigation Systems in Agribusiness Management

There are two basic ways of using water for crop cultivation: rain-fed farming and irrigation. Water is naturally applied to the soil through rainfall in case of rain-fed farming whereas irrigation involves the artificial application of water for agricultural purposes. Effective irrigation is essential for the end-to-end growth process of the plant starting from seedbed preparation, germination, root development, nutrients supply, quality and quantity of yield. Ensuring uniformity is a prerequisite for maximizing irrigation. Though the quantity and time of supply depend majorly on the producer, the uniformity is taken care of by the irrigation system. It takes a thorough knowledge of equipment, system design, crop and its growth stage, root structure, soil nature and composition to finalize on the type of irrigation system to be chosen. The system chosen should minimize water loss, soil erosion, salt imbalances and leaf burns.

Importance of irrigation

  • Promotes more yield
  • Helps to maintain the yield in the absence of rainfall and other environmental stress conditions
  • Lengthens the growing season
  • Maximizes the uses of fertilizer application
  • Increases the productivity of drylands
  • Less dependency on supplementary feeding in grazing processes
  • Improves the capital value of the land as well as establishes a market presence for unseasonal produce
  • Results in greater returns

Types of irrigation systems

Based on the way water is distributed throughout the field, the irrigation systems are classified into many types. Given below are some of the common types of irrigation systems:

Surface irrigation:

This type of irrigation system works independently of any mechanical pump. Water distribution takes place along the gravity all over and across the land

Localized irrigation:

A piped network is used to distribute water under low pressure to each plant

Drip irrigation:

This type of irrigation is effective at minimizing evaporation and runoff as it is a localized form of irrigation wherein drops of water are delivered near the root region

Sprinkler irrigation:

Overhead high-pressure sprinklers are used in this type of irrigation to distribute water from a central point in the field. Alternatively, sprinklers on moving platforms can also be used for watering

Center pivot irrigation:

This is mostly used in flat areas especially in the United States. Water distribution is done using sprinklers that move on wheeled towers in a circular pattern

Lateral move irrigation:

In this type, a series of pipes each with a wheel and sprinklers are used for irrigation. The pipes are operated either manually or mechanically. This system is considered economical but more laborious


This is used more often in areas with high water tables. A system of pumping stations, canals, gates and ditches are used for distributing water

Manual irrigation:

As the name suggests, the irrigation of this type is through manual labour and watering cans.

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