Methods used to supply irrigation water to plants

Methods used to supply irrigation water to plants

furrow irrigation

furrow are small channels that carry water down the land slope between the crop rows

water infiltrate into the soil as it moves along the slope

the crop is usually grown on the ridges between the furrows

this method is suitable for all row crops and for the crop that can not stand in water for long period.

crops such as maize, sunflower, sugarcane, and soybeans can be irrigated by furrow irrigation

advantages of furrow irrigation

  • suitable for row crops and vegetables
  • suitable for soils in which the infiltration rate vary between 0.5 and 2.5 cm/hour
  • ideal for slopes varying from 0.2 to 0.5 percent and stream size of 1 to 2 litres per second

  • in areas where water for irrigation purpose is scarce, the practice of alternate or skip furrow irrigation can save considerable quantity of water without significantly affecting yields
  • in areas requiring surface drainage or prone to temporary water logging, furrows are very effective

sprinkle irrigation

in this type of irrigation water is pumped through a pipe system and then sprayed into crop through the sprinkler head

advantages of sprinkler irrigation

  • water conservation
  • soil conservation
  • efficient use of water
  • saving of labour
  • early seed germination
  • fertigations
  • soil amendments
  • frost protection
  • cooling of crops
  • higher productivity of crops

Flood irrigation

In this method, water is just allowed to flood flat low lying areas of the field. Not net
work of canals is used.


  • It is cheap since farmer does not need to buy any equipment
  • Requires less labour
  • Weeds can easily rot hence less need of weeding


  • Can only be applied where there‚Äôs a lot of water
  • Can only be used on flat/leveled land
  • Skill is needed to control the distribution of water

Basin Irrigation

Involves constructing small basins that can hold water directed into them using canals/furrows.
The water seeps slowly into the soil around the basin.

Advantages of basin irrigation

  • Labour costs are low since it is not done daily
  • It uses less amounts of water
  • Reduces chances of erosion, besides eroded soil is trapped in the basins.


  • Can not be used in highland/mountainous areas
  • Basins occupy land that would otherwise be covered by plants.


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