The change in climate delivering hotter, drier summers, many farmers are seeking solutions by irrigating crops. Options for irrigation depend on a farm’s size, crops grown, soil type, and budget. Here’s what you should know before you invest in an irrigation system for your Organic farm.
Benefits of Irrigation
Generally, irrigation is used to meet the water needs of the current year’s crop. Giving the plants the moisture they need to reach peak flavor and quality. Irrigation significantly increases crop yields, particularly on sandy soils which have low moisture-holding capacities. In addition, irrigation can allow you to double-crop—plant in the field for example.
In other situations, irrigation is viewed as insurance against occasional drought. Knowing there is a way to water crops without depending on rainfall, brings many benefits by reducing risk, helping the farmer to control crop loss and income fluctuation. Do u want to know the Economic stability of organic farming?
Best Management Practices
Irrigation systems for organic farming use surface or groundwater. However, avoid using a water source that might be polluted by manure runoff, which could contain pathogens. If you are a certified, organic farmer. We might request a water test if you’re using a water source that could contain prohibited materials such as herbicides.
Groundwater pumped through your farm’s well might be the best water source for irrigation, especially for a small-scale system. No matter what water source you use or what system of irrigation you choose,
Want to grow organic plants, you should follow these best management practices:
- Minimize water use:- Apply only a considerable amount of water to meet crop needs. This can be determined regularly by using soil moisture monitoring or through a “chequebook” system to monitor water applied and crop needs.
- Use efficient systems:- Choose the best irrigation system that makes the best use of water and results in the least waste of this precious resource.
- Apply at a rate the soil can absorb:- Due to excess use of water through irrigation system for organic plants. It can cause soil erosion and wastes water.
- Apply water uniformly:- This reduces the chance of runoff and leaching in areas where water may pool.
- Provide good drainage:- There should be good drainage for the irrigation system. This minimizes soil salinization in growing the organic plants that require more water. Therefore it allows salts to percolate down through the soil profile.
Types of Irrigation for organic farming:-
This comes under the micro-irrigation system. In this type of irrigation system, the main focus is to targets the water supply directly to the base of plants. This will help in reducing runoff, evaporation and wetting of non-targeted areas. This kind of system nearly eliminates wet foliage, making plants less susceptible to disease. It is a popular choice for organically grown vegetables but also can be used on a larger scale for row crops. This is Best for Terrace Gardening.
Components and Working:
We have explained one of the types of Drip irrigation. A drip irrigation system includes the main header line with individual drip lines running from it. The fittings at the header line can be adjusted for specific watering rates. The header can be turned off completely for rows of organic plants that require less water.
Flow meters and pressure gauges can be added to the irrigation system. To ensure valves are set for adequate flow and water pressure to prevent runoff, erosion or inadequate watering.
The distance between the holes in the drip lines can be matched to fit the plantings in a particular row. Organic farmers can take advantage of that fact by laying drip tape on a prepared bed and turning on the water to mark where to put transplants.
Advantages of Drip Irrigation:
- Low water consumption
- Levelling of the field is not necessary
- Applicable to all type of soils
- Minimized soil erosion
- Minimize the fertilizer loss and leaching
- Moisture within the root zone can be maintained at field capacity
- Highly uniform distribution by the aid of nozzles
- Economic use of manpower
- Fertigation technology can be easily adapted using drip systems
- Efficient use of fertilizers
Sub-surface irrigation uses tubing that is placed about 5 inches below the surface. The obvious advantage of this method is the water really goes exactly where it’s needed—the roots of the plants. This also greatly reduces evaporation, and there is no opportunity for runoff.
The irrigation system underground and keeping the soil surface dry not only reduces evaporation but also allows you to have your equipment in the field while you’re irrigating.
Overhead Sprinkler Irrigation
This type of irrigation system is similar to rainfall. Water is pumped through pipes and sprayed over crops through pressurized sprinklers. This is a rainbird sprinkler head. Which offer a wide range of discharge capacity and can be managed through automatic timers. This type of Sprinkler is the best one can use.
Sprinklers provide efficient coverage for small to large areas and are suitable for use on all types of properties. This is good for Lawn Sprinkler.
Advantages of Sprinkler Irrigation
- Does not require surface shaping or leveling
- It is applied to areas of suitable variable topography
- Adaptable for most crops
- Adaptable to most of the soils
- Flexibility by using suitable sprinkler heads