Saturday, July 20, 2024
General Agriculture

The Irrigation System of Farming: It’s Importance and Effects

Irrigation system of farming has to do with the channeling of water from its source where it is in abundant quantity to the farm where it is scarce and to be used for crop production. The crops that are planted needs water for growth and development.

Water makes it possible for farming to be carried out all round the year, thereby making it possible for the productivity to be increased and as well improving the farmers’ farm income. Irrigation of the farm helps to claim and make it possible for unsuitable grounds to be put into good farm use.

Above all, if not for water photosynthesis wouldn’t have been possible. The use of irrigation in our farms produces both positive and negative outcomes.

On the negative, irrigation of the farm can result to erosion on the farm land, destruction of some crops (when not controlled), and possible creates some outbreak of pests and diseases that can lead to health issues.

Importance of Irrigation Farming

Irrigation system of farming has to do with the channeling of water from its source to the farm where it is to be used for crop production (Report on Irrigation Management Importance, Irrigation and Drainage). Also stated by the report, the water is conveyed from area of plenty to area of scarcity.

The report further stressed that as irrigation of the farm is carried out, it impacts on the crops in various ways amongst which are:

Irrigation keeps moisture in the soil. Moisture is necessary for the germination of seeds. It is only when the seed that is planted have moisture that the embryo can germinate and grow within the expected time.

Water supplies two essential elements to the crops. They are hydrogen and oxygen. These are very vital in crop production.

Irrigation is necessary for the absorption of mineral nutrients by the plants from the soil.

Irrigation makes it possible for water to be in the soil so that the nutrients that are in the soil can be taken up through absorption process.

It is important for the growth of the roots of the crop plants. Irrigation makes it possible that both the roots system and the shoot system would uptake water and become enlarged in size (growth).

Plants contain 90% water which gives turgidity and keeps them erect.

Water is an essential part of protoplasm (cytoplasm and nucleus).

It regulates the temperature of the plant system and that of the soil, through this transpiration and evaporation is reduced.

It is essential to meet the transpiration requirements otherwise, a scenario described as flaccidity (drying up) will occur in the plant.

It serves as a medium for dissolving the nutrients present in the soil for ease of absorption by the plant.

It is an important ingredient in photosynthesis. That is to say, without irrigation / water there will be no manufacturing of food.

Effects of Irrigation Farming

Irrigation farming is connected to so many outcomes. A Report on Environmental Considerations in Irrigation acknowledged that the outcomes are the effects which are either positively or negatively related to the farmer or his crops. Some of them are:

Positive Impacts

It produces a turgid state for the plants, a situation needed for healthy growth.

Creates more opportunities to use of land. It allows for those land that ordinarily wouldn‟t have permitted its use to be useful.

Makes the crops to grow well and actualize their potentials thereby helping a nation to meet up with its expected food security.

It helps to grow forest in deserts thereby reducing desertification.

Negative Impacts

Reduced downstream drainage and ground water quality: The sipping or percolation of water into the soil goes a long way in reducing the quality of the ground water.

Increased cost of production: Some irrigation systems are expensive to construct and at the end of the day it contributes to the farms wealth and spread as a cost on the farm.

Can result to outbreak of pests and diseases on the crops: Irrigation can bring about stagnation of water which can provide a breeding ground for pests and diseases for the plant.

Read Also : Factors Determining Types of Irrigation Farming and Source of Irrigation Farming

Irrigation System

It can produce an environment where pest and diseases can thrive well against man’s health.

Reduced river flow: Irrigation can bring about stagnation of water which can provide a breeding ground for pests and diseases that can affect man in one way or the other.

Waterlogging may occur in certain areas or on certain types of soil (clay soil) and this can again provide a breeding ground for pests and diseases, and as well prevent good farming from taking place.

Soil salinity: Salts may concentrate on the soil as a result of irrigation materials (like metal pipes) used for the irrigation system.

Affected downstream water users: A continuous flow of water for irrigation purpose may end up affecting the water that is available for use by the people.

Land subsidence may occur: This is a situation where the land may become less active due to its continuous use in taking advantage of the presence of irrigation system.

Soil erosion may result from excess flow of water.

Alternatives to mitigate the negative impacts of irrigation projects

The Report on Environmental Considerations in Irrigation mentioned that there are measures that could help to either reduce or eliminate the adverse effects of irrigation development. Below are some of the measures:

Locating the irrigation project on the site or farm where negative impacts are minimized or bought to the barest minimum.

Improving the efficiency of existing projects so that the irrigation facility will be efficiently used. Doing this will ensure minimum wastage of water

Developing small-scale, individually-owned irrigation systems as an alternative to large-scale, publicly-owned and managed schemes. It is believed that such an individually owned system would be properly managed.

The use of sprinkler irrigation and micro-irrigation systems are seriously advocated for, as this would go a far way to decrease the risk of waterlogging, erosion and inefficient water use;

Treatment of water in where appropriate is advocated (in where water is scarce), as this will make more water available to other users;

Advantages of Irrigation Farming

The advantages of irrigation system are enormous. They are:

Irrigation allows primary producers / farmers, to grow more pastures and crops. Losses of water will occur due to evaporation, wind drift, run-off and water (and nutrients) sinking deep below the root zone. This loss will be replenished by irrigation water.

Producers can then achieve higher yields and meet market/seasonal demands especially if rainfall events do no occur.

To produce higher quality crops/pastures as water stress can dramatically impact on the quality of farm produce

Irrigation system helps to lengthen the growing season (or in starting the season at an earlier time).

Irrigation assures the farmers of having reliable ‘insurance’ against seasonal variability and drought.

Irrigation assures the livestock farmer to stock more animals per hectare and practice tighter grazing management due to the reliability of pasture supply throughout the season.

Regular supply of water via irrigation helps to maximize benefits of fertilizer applications.

Fertilizers need to be ‘watered into’ the ground in order to best facilitate plant growth.

Irrigation makes it possible for farmers to use areas that would otherwise be ‘less productive’. Irrigation can allow farmers to open up areas of their farms where it would otherwise be ‘too dry’ to grow pasture/crops. This also gives them the capability to carry more stock or to conserve more feed.

The availability of irrigation facility helps to save cost that would have been spent on feed buying on production in animal farm. This it does by providing reliance on supplementary feeding (grain, hay) in grazing operations due to the more consistent supply & quality of pastures grown under irrigation

Irrigation makes it possible to improve the capital value of the farmer’s property. Since irrigated land can potentially support higher crops, pasture and animal production, it is considered more valuable. The value of the property is also related to the water licensing agreements or ‘water right’.

Irrigation system assures farmers of greater benefits to than costs. Irrigation system brings about more than benefits than cost. This may result from the more effective use of fertilizers and greater financial benefits as a result of more effective agricultural productivity (both quality and quantity) and for ‘out of season’ production are likely.

Disadvantages of Irrigation Farming

Excessive seepage and leakage of water: These create marshes and ponds all along the channels.

The marshes and the ponds after some time become breeding areas for mosquitoes.

It lowers the temperature and makes the locality damp due to the presence of irrigation water.

Excessive seepage into the ground raises the groundwater. And so causes waterlogging of the area.

Irrigation facility adds to initial cost of production of the farm.

The presence of irrigation facilities may add to the overhead cost of running the farm. This is so because, the farm may go on to employ the services of an Engineer for the purpose of maintenance of the facility.

The system may provide a breeding ground for vectors that can cause diseases to man.

Irrigated farm may not be able to store or conserve soil fertility due to leaching of the nutrients.

In summary, this article looks at the various importance of irrigation system to the farm and the farmer. On the overriding, it helps to ensure that crops growth throughout the year is guaranteed, improves the yield of the farm, increases the income capacity of the farmer and adds value to the crops quality and quantity, amongst others.

The effects of irrigation system were also looked at. There are both positive and negative effects of irrigating a farm and these were well spelt out. The advantages and disadvantages were also considered.

The article explained the importance of irrigating a farm, the effects that may emanate from the irrigation system as well as the advantages and disadvantages associated with irrigation facilities in farm.

Read Also : What is a Sanitary Landfill? Answered in Detail


Benadine Nonye is an agricultural consultant and a writer with several years of professional experience in the agriculture industry. - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education - PhD Student in Agricultural Economics and Environmental Policy... Visit My Websites On: 1. - Your Comprehensive Practical Agricultural Knowledge and Farmer’s Guide Website! 2. - For Effective Environmental Management through Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices! Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4Profits TV and WealthInWastes TV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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