Pivot Irrigation Systems
These systems can create healthy crops and save water. When you fly over the landscape of many countries you will sometimes notice circles of brown and green on the farmland below. You are then flying over farmland that is in all probability, using a pivot irrigation system.
The Basics of Pivot Irrigation Systems
A pivot irrigation system is akin to using a garden hose to water plants from a central source of water. In such systems used on farms, the hose itself is replaced by aluminum or plastic pipes that are held up over the plants by tower structures that can be mounted on wheels that allow this entire system to move over the field to be irrigated. The towers may be more than one, and each such tower will have its own set of wheels with its own propulsion system. Power to these wheels can be electric or in some cases uses the water meant to be sent to the fields to provide the necessary motive force. The diameter of the pipes that are carried on these towers will depend on the amount of water that needs to be sprinkled or sprayed, the distance from the pumping source and other factors. Towers may move at different speeds depending on the area to be covered.
Pivot Irrigation Systems Are Beneficial
Agricultural fields using this form of irrigation have plants that receive water regularly and consistently. This consistency, besides being beneficial to plant health and growth, also reduces the requirement of water. This is because the constant watering ensures that there is no loss of moisture due to evaporation or wind. The soil remains constantly moist and this encourages root growth which is so necessary for the healthy growth of plants.
Designs of pivot irrigation systems can be such that sprinkler heads can be just above the top of plants and this allows the water to immediately get to the plant. The designs need to be such that while watering is consistent and that pools of water are never allowed to form. Pools of standing water have the potential to kill crops.
Pivot irrigation systems are very beneficial for dry areas and places where there is a constant high incidence of wind. Water is conserved through the use of these systems, and this is a very major benefit. Very large fields can also have such systems easily evolved, though it is always necessary to do a complete cost benefit analysis before deciding to install such a system. Alternate methods of irrigation must be considered. Pivot irrigation systems can lead to a large reduction in the manpower required, and this can be a major factor in many farms.
Normally such systems are in use in flat fields, but can be installed with some modifications in lands that do have some differences in heights.
Pivot irrigation systems are a development from earlier methods of delivering water to crops, which started with buckets, flooding, and furrow irrigation. Irrigation by buckets is labor intensive. Flooding can lead to water wastage, while furrows can also lead to water loss while water is moving from one area to another. Drip irrigation is more suited to smaller farms.