A Complete Guide to Farm Irrigation Systems

Water-hungry crops are bound to thrive when they access a constant water supply source. If you fail to provide it, your crops are destined to die. So, industrialists came up with a solution called farm irrigation systems.

Farm irrigation systems are a water distribution method that ensures adequate water supply to the plant roots. It’s technically designed to reduce manual labor-intensive and save water.

So, unlike in the old days, farmers no longer have to wait for rain until they can properly water their landscape. With the use of sustainable agricultural irrigation systems, the process has become more accessible.

The Different Types of Irrigation systems

If you’re thinking about installing an irrigation system, you need to know about the different systems available.

We’ll give you a rundown of the most popular methods so you can make the best choice for your needs.

Hand-moved sprinkler irrigation

The hand-moved sprinkler irrigation system, as the name suggests, is a handheld sprinkler pipe. The pipe is made of aluminum that can draw water from a source, i.e., a river, well, etc.

Hand-moved sprinkler irrigation on lawn

Then you may sprinkle an adequate amount of water around your lawn, garden, or farm. It is far more effective than a hose and could save effort and time.

Quick Facts: Hand-moved sprinkler irrigation

  • Great for draught-affected areas
  • Easily maneuverable
  • It conserves water
  • It cannot directly supply water to the plant roots
  • Requires manual labor as you need to move the sprinkler with your hand

Solid set sprinkler systems

A solid set sprinkler irrigation system is designed to function throughout the crop season. Farmers only have to set this tool in their crop field and operate it without needing to move it anywhere else.

This irrigation system may either have a portable aluminum pipe or a permanent underground PVC pipe. The aluminum pipe is supposed to be on the above-ground surface.

It will draw out water from beneath the soil and irrigate vegetable crops throughout the entire irrigation season.

Quick Facts: Solid set sprinkler systems

  • Provide years of trouble-free operation
  • Coverage across a wide area
  • It can be used for a wide range of agricultural applications
  • High operating costs
  • A stable water supply is needed

Big guns irrigation system

A big gun irrigation system uses a large gun-like nozzle to spray water onto crops. The system is often used in large fields where there is a lot of lands to cover.

It provides a consistent water supply to those plants, even during drought. It’s also popular because of its affordable and accessible installation method.

Quick Facts: Big guns irrigation system

  • It improves crop yields
  • It can help to reduce water waste
  • Designed to deliver water directly to crops’ root zone
  • This system needs a manual operation

Traveling big gun sprinklers

A traveling big gun sprinkler uses a large, movable sprinkler to water crops. This system is ideal for farmers who want to water large fields quickly and efficiently.

This sprinkler is attached to a large water tank and can be moved around the field. So, it is perfect for farmers who want to effectively save time and water their crops.

Quick Facts: Traveling big gun sprinklers

  • Easy setup
  • Maneuverable tool
  • It waters large areas evenly
  • Best for small farms or gardens
  • Requires hand labor input

Center pivot irrigation systems

A center-pivot irrigation system is a type of watering system that uses a long, rotating arm to deliver water to crops in a circular pattern. The system is mounted on a central pivot point, and the arm rotates around the pivot, spraying water onto the crops as it goes.

Center pivot systems are a very efficient way to water crops. They are adaptable to a wide range of climatic conditions and soil types.

Quick Facts: Center pivot irrigation systems

  • Has the ability to withstand any weather condition
  • It can fit various soil types
  • Easy operation and less labor required
  • High initial and maintenance costs
  • Not suitable for rectangle or square shape crop fields

Trickle or Drip systems for irrigation

A drip or trickle irrigation system delivers water to plants in a slow, steady stream. This type of system is often used in areas where water is scarce. It supplies water directly to plant roots, which aids in water conservation.

One can use this irrigation system to water both small and large areas. You can set it up to water plants automatically or manually.

Drip irrigation systems can effectively water plants to minimize evaporation and runoff. It can also assist in ensuring that plants get the required water without wasting it.

Quick Facts: Trickle or Drip systems for irrigation

  • Both manual and automatic operation functions are available
  • It can be used in both larger and smaller areas
  • Easy setup process
  • Reduces wastage of water

Micro-irrigation systems

Micro-irrigation systems are an efficient and cost-effective way to water your plants. They operate by using a system of tiny tubes and emitters to provide water directly to the plants’ root zone.

This method of irrigation uses less water than traditional methods. So, it can help you lower your water bill.

Quick Facts: Micro-irrigation systems

  • Cost-effective irrigation method
  • Requires less water usage
  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Better irrigation system for small garden

The Best Irrigation Method for Small Farms & Hobby Farms

Small farms and hobby farms can use a wide variety of irrigation techniques. Drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigation, and micro-irrigation systems are a few common ways.

You may alternatively employ a big gun irrigation system for a medium-sized farm.

Let’s have a look at these irrigation methods’ benefits and drawbacks for small farms or gardens:

System NameMain benefitsDrawbacks
SprinklerBest for both large and small areas
Easy operating system
Easy setup
Need additional sprinklers
Can not supply to the plants root
DripBest of all in terms of usage
Maneuverable and easy to use
Can provide water to the roots of the plants
Both automatic- and manual operating system
Not cost-effective
Best for lawn, garden, and small farm usage
Less water usage, better water conservation
Automatic operating system
Slow sprinkling power
Big gunManeuverable
Easy setup
Suitable for small and large areas
Some big gun system are handheld,
need to operate manually
Overview of different irrigation methods and their pros and cons for Small Farms & Hobby Farms

What is the most efficient watering system?

If you’re looking for the most efficient watering system, you can’t go wrong with a drip irrigation system.

Compared to other irrigation techniques, drip irrigation systems utilize less water.

Furthermore, they can be altered to match the particular requirements of your landscape.

What is the most sustainable irrigation system?

When choosing the most sustainable irrigation water system, drip irrigation is the winner. Not only does it use less water than other methods, but it also reduces water waste and helps to keep soils healthy.

In addition, drip irrigation is less likely to cause water pollution, making it a more environmentally friendly option.

In Summary

If you’re thinking of installing farm irrigation systems, we encourage you to do your research and consult a professional. Because there are many different systems, the best one for your farm will depend on several factors.

This blog post covered everything from the basics of irrigation to the different systems available. We hope this information was helpful and that you’re now armed with the knowledge you need to make the best decision for your farm.

Remember, with the right system, you’ll be able to improve your yields, conserve water, and save time and money. So, be sincere about your choice of an irrigation tool. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Farm Irrigation Systems

What are the 4 types of agricultural irrigation?

The four main types of agricultural irrigation are surface irrigation, center-pivot irrigation, sprinkler irrigation system, and drip irrigation. The right irrigation system may save time, money, and water while ensuring a thriving yield.

How does a farm irrigation system work?

There are various types of irrigation systems available on the market. Still, they all typically work by using a pump to draw water from a source (such as a river or wells) and then distributing it evenly across the field through a system of pipes and sprinklers.

What are the 5 different types of irrigation systems?

The five different irrigation systems are: Drip irrigation system
Subsurface drip irrigation system, Sprinkler irrigation system
Center pivot systems, Surface irrigation system.

There is also some other water distribution system like furrow irrigation systems, flood irrigation systems, micro-irrigation systems, etc.

Which type of irrigation is best or most effective in agriculture?

Generally, people vote for the drip water system as the best and most effective irrigation water system in agriculture.

What do farmers use to water fields?

Farmers typically use an irrigation water system to water their fields of crops. A farm irrigation system is an excellent investment because it allows them to control the water pressure up to the scale. It can be a lifesaver during a drought. It also conserves water, essential for areas with limited water resources.

By Noah Smith

I'm Noah. I'm a late bloomer when it comes to farming. I really enjoy working our land, especially when I get to fight weeds! I also really like my big truck.

I'm so happy I can share my love for farming and our farm animals with Zoe. It's great that we can wake up to fresh eggs and the sound of bees making honey every day!

10 replies on “A Complete Guide to Farm Irrigation Systems”

I like that you talked about how you should do your research and consult a professional if you’re thinking of installing agricultural irrigation systems. I went to a farm tour last month and I remember seeing how the farm used an irrigation system to water their crops. From what I’ve heard, it seems such large scale irrigation systems are usually installed by professionals.

It really helped when you elaborated on farming irrigation systems and which one it’s commonly used by farm owners. In a few months, my sister and her family will move to the countryside to start a farming business, and I think your article will provide key insight for them. I’m grateful for your information on drip water systems and why they’re highly effective in agriculture.

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