Irrigation is an artificial method of ensuring plants get enough water through pipes, ditches, drips, sprinklers etc. The main aim of using irrigation is to curb inadequate rainfall, maintain the landscape and help crop growth. Thus, it’s a very critical practice in farming.
Many farmers in Kenya however, find it hard when it comes to choosing a system that better suits them. The two common systems are sprinkler and drip.
This is a system that provides water directly at the root zone of the plant. Water is controlled and drips slowly on the plants roots exactly where it is require thus saving a lot of water. Through drip system, water is saved up to 50%. Through this system, water application is frequent ensuring the ideal moisture level is maintained at all times.
Advantages of Drip System
- Water is used at maximum level.
- Fertilizer/nutrient loss is minimized as water is applied locally and leaching is reduced
- No water being available to weeds.
- Maximum crop yield.
- High efficiency in the use of fertilizers.
- Less weed growth and restricts population of potential hosts.
- Low labour and relatively low operation cost.
- No soil erosion.
- Improved infiltration in soil of low intake.
- Ready adjustment to sophisticated automatic control.
- No runoff of fertilizers into ground water.
- Less evaporation losses of water as compared to surface irrigation.
- Improves seed germination.
- Decreased to tillage operations.
Disadvantages of Drip
In spite of the fact that drip has so many potential benefits , they’re a certain limitation also, there are as follow:
- Sensitivity to clogging
- Moisture distribution problem
- Salinity hazards
- High cost compared to furrow.
- High skill is required for design, install and operation
Sprinkler is a type of pressurized irrigation that consists of applying water to the soil surface using mechanical and hydraulic devices that simulate natural rainfall. It is a method by which water is distributed from overhead by high-pressure sprinklers, sprays or guns mounted on risers or moving platforms.
Advantages of Sprinkler System
- Expansive land leveling is not required.
- Water saving intensity can be changed in accordance with the infiltration capacity of soil.
- High efficiency due to uniform water distribution.
- No special skills trained personal can operate the system reasonably well.
- Ease and uniform application of fertilizers and pesticides through irrigation system.
- Possibility of applying minute quantity of water for germination and other irrigation systems.
- Frequent and light irrigation possible giving better response from the crops.
- Increase in yield and quality, early ripening, water conservation and alternative value of specific period saving of labor, machinery, fertilizer and pesticides.
- Soil moisture is maintained at optimum level by sprinkler and 20 higher yields are obtained of crops and the quality of other crops is also good.
Disadvantages of Sprinkler System
- Higher initial cost.
- High and continuous energy requirement for operation.
- Under high wind condition and high temperature distribution and application efficiency is poor.
- Highly saline water 7mm hos/cm causes leaf burning when temperature higher than 95 F.
- When lands have been already leveled and developed for surface or other irrigation methods sprinkler irrigation is not so economical.
- Loss of water due to evaporation from the area during irrigation.
- Above canopy sprinkling may cause washing of spray, materials and aggravate the incidence of pests and diseases.
The above information is only meant to make you make better decisions.