Precision irrigation systems make it possible to increase yields, protect the soil, increase its fertility, and preserve precious water resources.
In terms of crops, the most significant advantage of irrigation systems is in ensuring high yields and product quality, regardless of the natural climate conditions in a year.
Not all farmers are lucky enough to live in humid climates, where rains are frequent, and the land is wet enough for the crops to thrive. Thanks to modern technologies, we can help smallholders manage the problem of suitable irrigation.
Precision Irrigation Market is expected to reach US$ 20990 Mn. by 2027 which tells us a lot about recognizing the need for tech in agriculture.
Precision irrigation systems are also environmentally sustainable – they allow us to use water responsibly and can save around 30% of water compared to traditional irrigation methods.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the benefits of precision irrigation systems for farmers worldwide, no matter what type of agricultural, field, or fruit production they are engaged in.
What is precision irrigation?
Precise irrigation is a system that supplies crops with water and nutrients (if used for fertigation) at the desired time, in the right place, in optimal quantities that allow the growth and development of crops by using irrigation sensors. Precise irrigation is the most efficient and economical way of watering crops.
Traditional watering methods involve soaking the soil around the fork with water. That way, water, that precious endangered resource, is wasted and remains unused because the plant draws water through its roots from a certain depth.
Precision irrigation systems bring water directly to the plant’s roots, exactly where we want it and in an amount that meets the crop’s needs. There is no unnecessary waste of water and irrigation of land with these systems.
Specifically, when we talk about irrigating the plants’ roots, we are talking about a drip irrigation system. It’s a cost-effective and sustainable method of watering that allows you maximum savings and yields.
This way, you don’t waste a single drop of water, not even through evaporation.
Drip irrigation is an innovative solution that brings water directly to the roots of the plant.
Precision irrigation systems are not just for watering plants – they fertilize and protect the soil and your crops equally effectively.
Fertigation enables the economical application of fertilizers, which you can dose in precisely measured quantities, at a precisely determined time, when the plants need it most for vegetation.
Advantages of precision irrigation
Precision irrigation is a highly relevant concept in precision agriculture today and has extensive agronomic and economic advantages:
- Precise delivery of water/nutrients to the roots of plants, thus preventing spray losses on the surrounding soil, resulting in reduced weed emergence.
- Precision irrigation is suitable for all types of soil and all sizes of arable land.
- Irrigation evenly distributes across the entire land surface.
- Precision irrigation systems are easy to set up; they are automated and require little human involvement. Some types of precision irrigation, combined with AI, can reduce the amounts of wasted water to only 2.6%.
- The precision guidance system enables better growth, higher quality, and richer crop yields.
- Using automated precision irrigation systems reduces the need for additional workforce activities (up to four times).
Types of precision irrigation
Which irrigation system you choose depends on several factors:
- The type of soil.
- The area of arable land.
- The amount of precipitation in your geographical region.
- The sources of water supply.
Here are the four most common types of precision irrigation, depending on your watering needs:
Surface irrigation is the simplest method of irrigation used thousands of years ago. Surface guidance does not require modern advanced systems – it relies on large amounts of water and gravitational forces.
Surface irrigation is often ineffective on sandy soil types and leads to excessive and inefficient water consumption.
As part of surface irrigation, we distinguish three subtypes:
Basin irrigation. The most common method of surface irrigation. It involves storing large amounts of water in bunds near fertile soil, which farmers use for flooding the fields. Basin irrigation is ideal for smaller areas of land that are flat to prevent water runoff.
Furrow irrigation. Furrow irrigation is the oldest method of surface irrigation. It involves creating small furrows between fields that farmers fill with water. This method is suitable for broad-acre row crops; it’s cheap and doesn’t require modern technologies.
Border irrigation. Border irrigation is suitable for sloping land, ensuring even irrigation and usability of the entire land. Farmers separate fields with border ridges and fill them with irrigation water in border irrigation.
Sprinkler irrigation successfully mimics rainfall and is effective for small and large land areas. Pressure makes water spray through the air and tiny drops, like raindrops, fall to the ground and the crops. Pipes bring the water to the sprinkler.
You can set sprinklers to spray water forward, backward, or rotational. It is also possible to level the amount of water they discharge and the pressure of the discharged water.
The work of the sprayers is automated, and depending on the type of crop, they can work seasonally or throughout the year.
Although they are a very effective irrigation method, sprinklers are not suitable for all uses for several reasons. The amount and pressure of water will not suit all plants – it could damage young plants and prevent pollination during the blooming phase.
Drip irrigation reduces water usage by up to 40 – 70%, making it one of the most economical irrigation methods.
With a drip irrigation system, water is brought directly to the plant’s roots, right where it should reach.
The surrounding soil remains dry, which does not accelerate the growth of weeds, which is double gain – you can save on herbicides while you’re avoiding unnecessary contamination of the soil.
Besides irrigation, you can also use the drip system for crop fertigation.
The drip irrigation system includes the installation of thin pipes along the entire width and length of the agricultural land, from where the low-pressure system directs water drops to the root of the disease.
You can improve the system by adding a programmer that automatically regulates the operation, and water used. When the program ends, the system automatically shuts down.
The subsurface irrigation system is the same as drip irrigation, except that watering is underground. The dripper is below the soil surface, and water supplies roots directly.
The depth of the dropper is determined depending on the type of crops and soil texture. Besides watering, subsurface irrigation systems are suitable for the appliance of fertilizers and plant protection products.
Experience the benefits of precision irrigation today
Implementing precision irrigation systems on your fields can make a difference. You will experience the advantages of smart watering systems in the first year of use, and the savings you make in the long run will make them a profitable investment you’d wish you made sooner.
Take advantage of smart irrigation and get the most out of your crops – reach out to us and schedule a consultation today. We will determine which form of precision irrigation is ideal for your needs with an individual approach.