Drip irrigation is a type of irrigation that enables the slow passing of water to the roots of plants. It is one of the most effective and efficient type of irrigation in the world. With drip irrigation, plants can receive water in droplet forms to their roots. Drip irrigation is also called trickle irrigation.
Sprinklers are components of a sprinkling irrigation system. Sprinklers irrigate crops by spraying water to the surfaces of the plants. It ensures that water touches the leaves, stems and other parts of the plants that are above the soil.
The use of drip irrigation and sprinklers are popular among farmers. These two types of irrigation can be used for irrigating various types of crops. The question now is, is drip irrigation better than sprinklers?
Advantages of Drip Irrigation as compared to Sprinklers
The merits of drip irrigation over sprinklers are discussed as follows:
Efficiency in the use of water
Drip irrigation systems generally use 60 – 80% less water than sprinklers. Sprinklers are known to use excessive volume of water. This is one of the demerits of using sprinklers over drip irrigation systems.
The slow trickling of water in drip irrigation saves a lot of water while the sprinkling effect of sprinklers waste a lot of water.
Ease of Deployment and Installation
Drip irrigation systems can easily be deployed and installed on small farms and gardens. You just need to lay the drip tapes beside the rows of plants. In the case of sprinklers, you may need experts to help you to deploy and install them.
Most small farm owners and gardeners install their drip irrigation systems themselves while in the case of sprinklers; they may need to engage experts like plumbers.
Efficiency in the Use of Power
Most sprinklers need electric or fuel powered pumping machines to pressurize them for effective water spraying. In the case of drip irrigation especially for small farmers, gravity method can be used to power the drip irrigation system. The gravity drip irrigation system does not need electricity or fuel to work.
Efficiency in the Use of Fertilizers
With drip irrigation, the quantity of fertilizers to be used can be reduced due to the ability to fertigated through the system. Fertigation ensures the saving of fertilizers whilst boosting the availability of fertilizers to plants.
With Fertigation, soluble fertilizers can be passed to plants intermittently. In the case of sprinklers, Fertigation may burn the leaves of the plants. Also, the sprayed fertilizers will increase the growth of weeds as fertilizers sprayed are not targeted to the main plants.
Reduced Cost of Labour
With drip irrigation, the cost of labour needed for irrigating crops, application of fertilizers and application of pesticides can be significantly reduced. It is not uncommon to see large farms having just one personnel to apply fertilizers and pesticides to plants through the drip irrigation system.
In the case of sprinklers, the cost of labour for farm activities is usually higher.
Reduction in Disease Outbreak
Sprinklers can increase the chances of your plants getting fungal diseases because of the water they spray on plants. In the case of drip irrigation, the incidences of diseases can be reduced because it irrigates plants through their roots.
Advantages of Sprinklers as compared to Drip Irrigation
The advantages of sprinklers over drip irrigation are discussed below:
- Sprinklers can make plants use the atmospheric nitrogen better than drip irrigation.
- Sprinklers can disrupt the activities of some types of insects.
- Sprinklers may be used for foliar application of pesticides and fertilizers unlike the drip irrigation systems.
- Sprinklers can be used for tightly spaced crops like rice, onions and carrots.
In our opinion; drip irrigation is better than sprinklers.