Irrigation is the artificial supply of water to support plant growth in areas that have insufficient rainfall. Irrigation is either permanent or temporary, and it is carried out in areas that have insufficient rainfall and where flooding is common.
Under irrigation, the extra amount of water needed depends on the type of crop grown, the prevailing temperature and humidity, the kind of soil, and other conditions in the area.
The following are the advantages of irrigation:
Regular and Reliable Water Supply
Irrigation provides a consistent and dependable water supply for agricultural purposes. Unlike relying solely on rainfall, which can be sporadic and unreliable, irrigation systems allow farmers to have better control over water availability. This regularity is essential for maintaining crops’ health, growth, and yield. By having a predictable water source, farmers can effectively plan their planting, growing, and harvesting schedules, leading to more stable food production and reduced risks of crop failure due to droughts or insufficient rainfall.
2. Year-Round Cultivation
Irrigation enables year-round cultivation, breaking the dependence on the seasonal availability of rainfall. This is particularly advantageous in regions where the rainy season is short. With controlled water supply, farmers can extend growing seasons beyond the natural rain-dependent periods. This maximizes land utilization and increases agricultural productivity, leading to multiple harvests per year. Year-round cultivation also provides greater flexibility for planting different crop varieties and optimizing crop rotation practices, which can contribute to soil fertility and pest management.
3. Salinity Reduction in Desert Areas
In desert regions where water is scarce and soil salinity is a concern, irrigation offers a solution. The continuous flow of water through the soil helps to leach excess salts, reducing soil salinity over time. This process, known as leaching, prevents the buildup of harmful salts that can hinder plant growth and degrade soil quality. By maintaining an adequate and consistent water supply through irrigation, farmers can make previously inhospitable desert areas agriculturally viable, ultimately improving food security and expanding arable land.
4. Multi-Purpose Dam Benefits
Modern multi-purpose dams have transformed irrigation and water management practices. These dams serve not only as water reservoirs for irrigation but also offer a range of additional benefits. They aid in flood control by regulating water flow during periods of heavy rainfall, preventing destructive floods. Dams generate hydroelectricity, providing a renewable energy source to communities. Furthermore, they enhance river navigability, facilitating transportation and trade. The integration of these functions maximizes the utility of water resources and supports sustainable development in regions where water is a valuable commodity.
5. Enhanced Soil Fertility Through Silt Deposition
During flooding, rivers carry nutrient-rich silt downstream. When rivers are used for irrigation, this silt is deposited onto fields, enriching the soil with essential minerals and organic matter. This process enhances soil fertility, promoting healthier plant growth and higher crop yields. The silt deposition contributes to a gradual improvement in soil structure, water retention, and nutrient availability. As a result, farmers can achieve better agricultural productivity with less reliance on external fertilizers, leading to economic and environmental benefits.
In summary, irrigation offers a range of advantages that contribute to enhanced agricultural productivity, reduced risks, and improved resource management. These benefits are particularly crucial in regions facing water scarcity, unpredictable rainfall patterns, or challenging environmental conditions. By harnessing the power of controlled water supply, irrigation empowers farmers to overcome these challenges and cultivate crops more efficiently and sustainably.
sugarcane is any of the several species of tall perennial true grasses of the genus Saccharum, tribe andropogoneae and it belongs to the grass family called Poaceae.
the official classification of sugarcane is Saccharum officinarum.
it is common in tropical and subtropical countries throughout the world
several different horticultural varieties are known and they differ by their stem color and length
sugarcane is composed of six species of perennial grasses of the genus Saccharum L, in the tribe andropogoneae.
there are two wild species (s. spontaneum and s. robustum) and four cultivated species (s. officinarum, s.barberi, s.sinense and s.edule)
sugarcane is indigenous to tropical south and southeast asia
sugarcane has been cultivated since ancient times and it was one of the first cash crops of early colonial America
the countries that produce the largest amount of sugarcane are brazil, India, China, Mexico, Thailand, and Pakistan
sugarcane is the world’s largest crop by production quantity. sugar is produced in 120 countries. global production now exceeds 165 million tonnes a year.
approximately 80% of global sugar is produced from sugarcane while the remaining 20% is produced from sugar beet, which is grown mostly in temperate zones of the northern hemisphere
Brazil accounts for almost 25% of the world’s production of sugar and is the largest producer of sugarcane in the world
brazil uses sugarcane to produce sugar and ethanol for gasoline-ethanol blends (gasohol), a locally popular transportation fuel.
in India, sugarcane is used to produce sugar, jaggery, and alcoholic beverages.
The following are physical and climatic conditions which favour sugar cane growing:
High temperatures throughout the growing period, with mean monthly temperatures not falling much below 21ºC. sugarcane grows best in the warm, sunny, frost-free weather areas. it requires a tropical or subtropical climate with a minimum of 600mm of annual moisture.
however, it also grows well in subtropical climates
it can grow well where the temperature ranges from 20 to 350C.
the optimum temperature for germination of stem cutting is 32 to 38 degrees centigrade.
sugarcane responds to a long period of sunlight of about 12 to 14 hours.
high humidity (80-85%) favors rapid cane elongation during the main growth period
rainfall and requirement
Abundant moisture (rainfall) – Sugar cane grows best where annual rainfall is between 1100 mm to 1500 mm.
The rain should be well distributed throughout the growing season. However, drier weather is required when the cane has reached maturity or just before harvesting.
A period of dry sunny weather for ripening and harvesting is also important.
Abundant water supply for irrigation, particularly where rainfall is not evenly distributed throughout the growing season. Water for irrigation is obtained from both rivers and underground sources (boreholes).
sugarcane grows on almost all classes of soil, but it needs fertile, well-drained soil
humid soil from 100 to 150cm deep with good drainage are most suitable.
it grows well in deep, well-drained soils of medium fertility of sandy loan soil texture with a PH range from 6.0 to 7.7.
the optimum soil PH is about 6.5 but sugarcane can tolerate a considerable degree of soil acidity and alkalinity
waterlogged soils, which have no drainage, are not suitable.
uses of sugarcane
sugarcane is used for sugar production, as raw material in the human food industries, as a fertilizer, and as livestock fodder,
the primary use for sugarcane is to process sugar, which is then used in producing an infinite number of products.
the type of sugar produced by sugarcane is called sucrose.
sucrose is used as a sweetening agent for foods and in the manufacturing of cakes, candies, preservation, soft drinks, alcohol, and numerous other foods.
it adds taste, texture, and color to baked goods and provides energy for the yeast used in baking bread.
it adds body to yogurt and helps to balance acidity in tomato sauces and salad dressings.
sugar helps to preserve jams, cereals, cakes, candies, cookies, and drinks.
tender, moist cakes and the golden brown, crispy essence of biscuits are due to the presence of sugar in them
the pulp from the cane is recycled and used to make cardboard and other forms of sugar board that can be used as the ceiling tec.
recently sugarcane has also been used to manufacture biofuel, which serves as the replacement for oil-based fuel and related products.
the pulp of sugarcane can also be left aside in the sun to produce a fertilizer that is nourishing food for other plants and flowers.
Sugarcane is a crop that requires specific conditions to grow successfully. It thrives in warm climates, with high temperatures and high levels of humidity. It also requires fertile soil that is well-drained and rich in nutrients. Adequate water supply is also crucial for the growth of sugarcane. The crop also requires a specific PH range of the soil. These conditions make it ideal for cultivation in tropical and subtropical regions, such as the Caribbean, Brazil, and India. However, with the advent of technology and better irrigation, farmers are now able to cultivate sugarcane in other regions as well. It is important for farmers to understand the specific conditions required for growing sugarcane, and to take steps to provide those conditions in order to maximize yields and ensure the success of their crops.
Green manuring (G.M) It is a practice of ploughing in the green plant tissues grown in the field or adding green plants with tender twigs or leaves from outside and incorporating them into the soil for improving the physical structure as well as the fertility of the soil.
It can be defined as a practice of ploughing or turning into the soil, undecomposed
green plant tissues for the purpose of improving soil fertility. The object of green manuring is to
Add an organic matter into the soil and thus, enrich it with ‘N’ which is the most important and deficient nutrient.
Types of green manuring
There are two types of green manuring:
Green manuring in-situ
When green manure crops are grown in the field itself either as a pure crop or as intercrop with the main crop and buried in the same field, it is known as Green manuring In-situ. E.g.: Sannhemp, Dhaicha, Pillipesara, Shervi, Urd, Mung, Cowpea, Berseem, Senji, etc.
These crops are sown as: i) Main crop, ii) Inter row sown crop, iii) On bare fallow, depending upon the soil and climatic conditions of the region.
Green leaf manuring
It refers to turning into the soil green leaves and tender green twigs collected from shrubs and trees grown on bunds, wastelands, and nearby forest area. E.g.: Glyricidia, wild Dhaicha, Karanj.