Sprinkler irrigation is a method of pressurizing water, either through a water pump or natural drop, which is then sent through pressure pipes to be sprayed into small water droplets through sprinkler heads, evenly covering the field and achieving the purpose of irrigation.
Generally speaking, its obvious advantages include uniform watering, occupying less arable land, saving manpower, and strong adaptability to terrain. Its main disadvantages are its susceptibility to wind interference and high equipment investment. After more than 20 years of effort, China now has a sprinkler irrigation area of more than 800,000 hectares. There are various forms of sprinkler irrigation systems, and their advantages and disadvantages vary greatly.
Sprinkler irrigation is almost applicable to all major field crops except for rice, as well as vegetables, fruit trees, etc. It has strong adaptability to terrain and soil conditions. However, in windy conditions, there may be uneven spraying and increased evaporation loss problems.
Compared with surface irrigation, sprinkler irrigation can generally save 30% to 50% of water for major crops, except for rice, and increase yields by 10% to 30%. Its greatest advantage is that it changes traditional manual watering into semi-mechanized, mechanized, and even automated operation, accelerating the process of agricultural modernization.
However, it is easy to be affected by climatic conditions in areas with strong winds and high evaporation, and its adaptability should be further analyzed in these areas.
As sprinkler irrigation can control the amount and uniformity of water sprayed, prevent surface runoff and deep leakage, and greatly improve the water utilization rate, it generally saves 30% to 50% of water compared with surface irrigation. Water-saving also means saving energy and reducing the cost of irrigation.
Sprinkler irrigation is easy to realize mechanization and automation, which can save a lot of labor. Since the water delivery ditch in the field is cancelled, it is not only conducive to mechanical operation, but also greatly reduces the field labor. Sprinkler irrigation can also be combined with the application of fertilizers and pesticides, which saves a lot of labor. According to statistics, the labor required for sprinkler irrigation is only one-fifth of that for surface irrigation.
Improving land utilization
When sprinkler irrigation is adopted, there is no need for water delivery ditches and ridges in the field, which is more conducive to fully utilizing arable land and improving land utilization. Generally, it can increase the cultivated area by 7% to 10%.
Sprinkler irrigation is conducive to strictly controlling soil moisture, maintaining soil humidity within the most suitable range for crop growth. At the same time, it can wash away dust on the stems and leaves of plants during spraying, which is conducive to plant respiration and photosynthesis. In addition, sprinkler irrigation does not cause destructive effects on soil, thus maintaining the soil aggregate structure, making the soil loose and porous, and having a positive effect on increasing yields, especially for vegetables.
Sprinkler irrigation is highly adaptable to various terrain types and does not require leveling of the land as surface irrigation does, which makes it suitable for sprinkler irrigation on sloping and uneven ground. Especially in sandy soil with thin soil layer and strong permeability, sprinkler irrigation is very suitable.
In addition, sprinkler irrigation is not only suitable for all major field crops, but also can achieve good economic benefits for various economic crops, vegetables, and pasture. Sprinkler irrigation has many advantages, but also has disadvantages, mainly the high investment cost.
Moreover, it is greatly affected by wind speed and climate. When the wind speed is greater than 5.5 meters per second, it can disperse raindrops and reduce the uniformity of sprinkler irrigation. Therefore, sprinkler irrigation should not be carried out. Secondly, in extremely dry climates, evaporation loss increases, which will also reduce the effect of sprinkler irrigation.