Farm irrigation is the artificial practice of watering plants using pipes and other type of irrigation especially in hot and dry places where there is little or no rainfall.
This can also be used as a land reclamation practice; irrigation can be practiced in the following situations;
- In dry areas where there is less rainfall.
- During dry season when the rain has stopped for a longer period.
- In growing of rice which requires a lot of water to mature.
The choice of the type of irrigation to be used depends on:
- The availability of capital the farmer has.
- The type and nature of the crops the farmer is intending to plant.
- The type of soil.
- Land topography.
- The amount of water available.
Types of irrigation
This is where water is carried from the source to the point of use; where the plants should be irrigated using furrows. Therefore surface irrigation includes three other types of irrigation;
- Flood irrigation
Before practicing this kind of irrigation make sure the topography of the land is flat because this type of erosion involves directing water from the source through furrow to the farm.
The water is freely left to flow in the farm; this type of irrigation is mainly practiced in rice-growing areas because rice requires a lot of water for its maturity. Places in Kenya where rice is largely grown and flood irrigation in practiced is Mwea Tebere and Nyando in Kisumu.
- Furrow irrigation
Furrow irrigation involves digging canals or furrows in the farm. Furrows are dug precisely across the contours in sloppy lands to avoid rill and gully erosion.
These furrows are dug to help convey water from the source to the farm. Water contained in these furrows supplies the soil near them with water making them moist. The farmer can now plant the plants in the oils near these furrows because they are wet. The plants can now benefit from the water in the furrows.
- Basin irrigation
Basin irrigation is the process of flooding the whole area to be planted with water. The level of water should be controlled by the use of dykes. The area to be irrigated should be on a flat surface to avoid water spillage into waste.
This is a type of irrigation that involves shallowly burying perforated pipes into the soil. After laying them into the soil, the perforated pipes allow water to pass and wet the soil between them. The plants can now be planted here since water is supplied by these pipes to the soil.
The advantage of this water piped irrigation is that you can control the amount of water that is supplied to the farm from the source.
Drip irrigation is the processing of irrigating your plants from drip water. This type of irrigation is done using plastic pipes and small holes drilled in the pipes, the holes should be drilled in the exact place where a plant is planted.
The pipes should be placed in the rows, the base and slightly above where the plants are supposed to be planted. The water should drop from the drips to the base of the plants.
Drip irrigation can also be practiced using bottles. Take a sized bottle with its lid then pour water inside to its full capacity. After pouring water inside, make a small on the lid. At the base of the plant put the bottle of water with small hole at the lid. The lid should be the one facing the base of the plant to allow easier dripping of the water in the bottle to the plant.
Overhead irrigation involves the use of sprinklers. This process is done mainly to spray the plants from above.
To obtain a nice overhead irrigation practice, use a horse to convey the water from the source and the sprinkler to sprinkle the water. The water should be pumped at a higher pressure so as the sprinkler can sprinkle a longer distance.
The main advantages of overhead irrigation
- The water sprinkled by this sprinkler is proper and evenly distributed to plants being irrigated.
- You can use this method to spray your farm with herbicides and also liquid folia fertilizers.
- The use of sprinklers can be practice in any type of land topography.
- There is no wastage of water as every sprinkled water gets well to the plants.
- There is more efficiency in farm practices as the sprinklers can be moved from one place to the other, to work in other places.
Disadvantages of overhead irrigation
- Some farmers cannot afford the capital to install such equipment in the farm hence making them more expensive.
- In some instances this practice may encourage the growth of weeds as the sprinklers sprinkles everything in the farm.
- Blowing winds may destruct the sprinkled water to unintended places.