Drip irrigation is a method of irrigation that involves the slow application of water to the root zones of plants. Drip irrigation is also called trickle irrigation because it passes water to the roots of plants in trickles.
Drip irrigation is popular among gardeners and farmers because of its water and energy efficiency. Drip irrigation uses significantly lesser water than other methods of irrigation.
Flood irrigation as the name implies is a method of irrigation which involves the application and distribution of water to the surface of the soil through gravity. Flood irrigation is one of the oldest methods of irrigation.
Flood irrigation is also called surface irrigation. The uncontrolled distribution of water and the poor water and energy efficiency of flood irrigation are some of the problems of using this type of irrigation.
Why Drip Irrigation?
The reasons for using drip irrigation over flood irrigation are explained below:
Drip irrigation uses significantly lesser water than flood irrigation and other types of irrigation. Aside the reduced usage of water, it also has good water efficiency rate than other types of irrigation systems. The water efficiency of drip irrigation makes it environment friendly unlike the flood irrigation method.
Drip irrigation systems can be easily deployed and install in farms and gardens. A farmer or gardener can set up a drip irrigation system for small farm or garden within a few minutes. In the case of flood irrigation, a lot of things have to be done.
Drip irrigation for small farms or gardens may not need electricity or fuel powered water pumps. This makes it cheap for farmers and gardeners to use. In the case of flood irrigation, electricity and fuel powered water pumps have to be used. For big farms, diesel powered water pumps have to be used to push the water to the farmland.
Drip irrigation ensures efficiency in the application and usage of fertilizers by plants. With drip irrigation, Fertigation can be done to pass soluble fertilizers to the plants through their roots. In flood irrigation, applied fertilizers can be easily washed away; this makes the farmer to waste fertilizers and also incur more on fertilizer purchases and application.
Drip irrigation ensures a reduced cost of labour. With drip irrigation, you need just few staff to man it. Some drip irrigation systems are even automated and do not need human intervention. In the case of flood irrigation, you need a lot of people as it is labour intensive.
Drip irrigation reduces the likelihood of diseases like fungal attacks in plants. Flood irrigation can increase the likelihood and intensity of diseases. For instance, flood irrigation can cause root rot in plants.
Why Flood Irrigation?
Flood irrigation may be easier to deploy for farms that are big and nearer to a large body of water like river or dam.
Flood irrigation may be more appropriate for crops with tight spacing or crops that are planted with irregular spacing. For example, local farmers in Nigeria broadcast soybeans seeds during planting. In this case, the use of drip irrigation may not be appropriate because of the irregular spacing of the crop.
Drip irrigation has far more advantages than flood irrigation.
Do you use drip irrigation or flood irrigation? If yes, why not tell us which is better in the comments’ section.