April 13, 2020

Precision Irrigation: An Up-To-Date Approach In Farming

Water is a crucial factor for plant growth, alongside light and warmth. Some agrarians are lucky enough to work in the areas with frequent rains and thus sufficient rainfall to provide water supply. However, most lands have to be irrigated artificially to regularly cover its lack, with drip irrigation being in demand worldwide.

man irrigating field via mobile app

There exist four major types of irrigation:

1. Surface irrigation. Water flows naturally and spreads on the field in compliance with the law of gravity. It does not employ any advanced technologies but requires huge water volumes, so it is justified when soil infiltration is low. This method is suitable for clay soils but will be difficult to implement in sandy ones.

Surface irrigation is performed in the following ways:

  • Basin irrigation limits the area with bunds and floods it. The water stays there for a long time. This is typical for growing rice and can be also used for wheat. The method is applied on flat lands with additional leveling if needed.

basin irrigation on the field

  • Furrow irrigation involves building furrows – long trenches filled with water. Furrows are located higher than the crop rows, and the water runs down naturally because of gravity or through siphon tubes or gates.

furrow irrigation in the field

  • Border irrigation supplies water in-between strips of land. Like the previous type, it also utilizes siphons or gates.

2. Sprinkler irrigation. Water is sprayed through machinery or manually operated tools.

They can be installed either temporarily or permanently, and move forward or rotate. Sprinklers differ in pressure and size of droplets depending on their guns and nozzles.
They are not suitable for all crops as big drops and high pressure damage them. It would destroy flowers in blooming plants and eradicate pollination. Furthermore, the equipment will be out of service with any insoluble particles stuck inside the system. Another issue is that moisture distribution is highly affected by winds.

sprinkler irrigation

3. Trickle or drip irrigation system. What is drip irrigation and how does it work? Moisture is delivered with tiny pipes placed in lines, so this type is also known as drip tape, or drip line irrigation. The droplets are directed to the crop proper at low pressure, and lack of water nearby hinders the development of weeds. Thus, it not only prevents plant starvation due to weeds but greatly reduces the volume of necessary water, which is among the major benefits of drip irrigation.

drip irrigation system

However, drip tapes are sensitive to machinery and easily damaged or blocked with insoluble particles. On the contrary, soluble substances allow combining water supply with fertilizing. The method is defined as fertigation.

4. Underground drip irrigation (subsurface irrigation). Plant roots are saturated inside the soil via pipes and drippers. This type is similar to the irrigation drip system in low water consumption. What is more, since moisture comes under the ground, it does not evaporate. Nevertheless, underground drip irrigation line is not only highly vulnerable to insoluble particles but to root hairs, machinery and tilling as well.

Irrigation Management Tips – Get More With Less

It is important to optimally support plant moisture needs with spending minimum resources and energy. The amount consumed shall not exceed the volume that can be restored.

precision irrigation pracriced on field

There are three major approaches to implement the idea:

Approach Key activities
Improve soil water retaining properties Reduce soil cracking with organic matter
Strengthen the soil with big roots
Prevent salinization with drainage or alkalinization adding gypsum
Plant perennials in crop rotation to increase water retention
Avoid compaction
Eliminate evaporation Tackle fast evaporation due to winds with agroforestry
Reduce tilling
Use cover/mulching
Apply underground drip irrigation line
Optimize the volumeof water used Consider additional sources of water supply through collecting rainwater and using rain drip irrigation
Use treated/recycled water if possible
Saturate water directly to the plant – consider how to set up irrigation either on the ground or underground
Monitor plant irrigation needs
Control water application rates
Check weather forecasts for possible upcoming rainfall
Combine fertilizing with irrigation (drip irrigation fertilizer)

Derive Exact Irrigation Needs From Crop Monitoring

Irrigation and monitoring systems are deployed worldwide as they are called to facilitate labor and reduce inputs. Leaving crop moisturizing needs unaddressed at least once may result in the entire loss of yields. It is difficult to control the situation monitoring it all the time unless you delegate the job to specially designated online platforms and apps.

Precision agriculture and precision irrigation, in particular, enable you to save precious resources without subjecting plants to moisture deficiency.

Irrigation included in the general system of farm management typically relies on sensors in the fields. This approach is way more expensive than acquiring the same information using satellite images.

Crop Monitoring has recently launched a new feature to analyze soil moisture and to notify of estimated droughts or floods equipping farmers with proper knowledge in time. It also provides weather forecasts to schedule farm activities in the most beneficial way.
Thus, you won’t irrigate or fertilize when the rain is expected. You will save resources and will protect nature from pesticide leakage as chemicals won’t be washed off the plants with the undesired rain showers.

What Can You Do With Crop Monitoring?

  1. Control the process from anywhere, even from home or on the road via your cell phone.
  2. Get timely notifications to be aware of the issue early.
  3. Receive weather reports.
  4. Monitor your fields 24/7.
  5. Identify areas requiring saturation.
  6. Supply water accurately where and when essential.
  7. Fertigate (irrigate and fertilize simultaneously).
  8. Check the operation of water management devices.

Crop Monitoring solutions for drip irrigation

Crop Monitoring solutions for drip irrigation

EOS Crop Monitoring provides the user, among other functionality, with Precipitation and Weather graphs. Based on the analysis of accumulated precipitation values, the user is able to assess the level of moisture in a specific field and make reliable decisions for irrigation and adjust plans according to weather data. This helps to avoid excessive irrigation or vice versa. At the same time, with the help of the Zoning features (which allows for the clustering of fields based on productivity levels, as well as vegetation indices data), the user is able to effectively implement drip irrigation, thus saving time and resources.

As a result, the aforementioned actions will help you to utilize and implement the most optimal irrigation plan for your fields possible.

In fact, you keep the situation under control with precise and prompt real-time reports, and Crop Monitoring inspects everything for you. If you manage water saturation with online tools, you are likely to enjoy the ultimate benefit with minimum efforts.

Assigning the monitoring tasks to the online platform, you hire a diligent employee that always stays alert to immediately notify you of any detected issue.

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