Growing crops isn’t as simple as just watering the whole field every so often and hoping they’ll grow. The soil texture and make up, along with the crop type both play large roles in the frequency and efficiency of watering. Additionally, both of these factors can vary throughout one plot of land that is serviced by the same watering equipment. James Adkins spoke to our class about irrigation, which has developed greatly over time. Center pivot irrigation may be one of the more common types that the community is used to seeing, as they are designed as a giant sprinkler device that has paths to rotate position to reach every part of the field. In addition to center pivot irrigation, there are also a few other types: traveling gun, surface drip, and sub-surface drip. Each type provides different benefits and are best suited for different crops.
The newer technologies available to farmers, which include drones, allow farmers to recognize the different needs of their crops and land in individual areas, rather than just assess as one large plot. For example, the soil may change in the middle of a corn field, causing it to need more water than a different area. A drone is capable of flying above the field and using electro-conductivity mapping to spot weak and strong areas within a crop field! There are also handheld devices that test for soil conditions such as nutrients and water hold capacity that provide immediate results for that specific location within the field. Each of these new irrigation technologies have helped to advance agriculture, making it not only more efficient but also more conservation cautious and environmentally friendly!