Irrigation Systems

James Adkins was a guest speaker informing UD students on the irrigation systems and why and how they’re used in agriculture.

So what is an irrigation system?

Irrigation is the application of controlled amounts of water to plants at needed intervals. Irrigation helps to grow agricultural crops, maintain landscapes, and revegetate disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of less than average rainfall.

Types of irrigation systems

-The oldest and most inefficient way of irrigation is flood irrigation. This process channels water into the field that is being irrigated.
-Pivot irrigation was invented after WWII using aluminum pipes. The pivot system allows for a customizable accurate application of water. This type of irrigation is expensive, with each span costing about $11,000.
-Drip irrigation is the most efficient way of irrigation. Drip irrigation puts water right into the soils, minimizing water contact with the plants thus reducing disease risks.

The importance

Irrigation is important and without it, we would be unable to sustain and grow the population we currently have. Only 20% of farmland is irrigated which produces over 40% of the worlds food supply comes from irrigated land. Delaware has 30% of its farmland irrigated, about 150,000 acres. Particularly Sussex County has 50% of its farmland irrigated because of the sandy soils. Advancements in technology have allowed irrigation systems to become efficient and better for the environment.

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