Tag Archives: Irrigation

Guest Lecture by James Adkins

In oct 2nd, Mr. James Adkins lectured our class about the importance of irrigation in today’s agriculture. Agriculture is all about water, crops cannot survive without water. Therefore, water efficiency is a big concern, especially in the places where are lack of water. There are only 20% of the world’s farmland is irrigated, in the meantime it produces 40% of food supply. Asia has the biggest percentage of irrigation about 68%. In India, 90% of its freshwater is used for agriculture and it cause approximately one‐fifth of the nation’s total electricity consumption. Crops need water, the amount of water used by 100 acres of corn in one day during pollination is 1 million gallons and it equal to the total water use of 10 households in a year. And it is unsustainable. It is pretty a shocking news for me. I have been heard so many appeals like, saving water, remember to close water tap. But compared to agriculture, citizens daily water consumption is not the significant problem of world’s fresh water shortage. It is really a critical issue for agriculture to solve. The improvement in irrigation technology do have advantage for this problem.

Guest Lecture: Irrigation

On October 2nd, James Adkins came to our class to discuss irrigation and its importance. Only 20% of the world’s farmland is irrigated and 40% of that provides our food. Asia has the largest percentage of irrigated land at 68%. India uses 90% of its freshwater  withdrawals for agriculture while China uses 65% of its freshwater withdrawals for agriculture. 

From state to state irrigation and water rights change. For example, the cost of California’s water is likely to be more expensive than the water we have in the east coast. California has more drought than us and so they are more likely to have higher prices for water. 

With new technologies, we changed our irrigation systems. We developed aluminum pipes after World War II because we have a lot of aluminum left over from the war. The extra materials were put to good use. Then came the center pivot. The center pivot is easy to use and it provides an even distribution of water across all the crops. 

Irrigation is an important part of our agriculture system, so it is best to have the highest quality equipment that provides the most payoff.

Irrigation Guest Lecture

It was very interesting to learn about the different types of irrigation. Growing up in Delaware, we mainly see center pivot irrigation. I had no idea there were so many other types of irrigations. I found it astonishing that Asia has the highest percentage of irrigated land, ranking in at about 68% of the land irrigated. That is a huge amount of irrigated land compared to America’s 17%. We also learned that about 15-35% of irrigation withdraws are considered unsustainable. Knowing from previous lectures that about 40% of Delaware is farm land, it was interesting to see that about 30% of that farm land is irrigated. Sussex County is irrigated more due to the more sandy soils.

James Adkins on the Introduction to Irrigation

James Adkins visited the class last week to teach us about different forms of irrigation used for crop production all around the world. He first quizzed us on different topics relating to irrigation. According to one of his “quizzes”, while only 20 percent of the world’s farmland is irrigated, it produces over 40 percent of the planet’s food supply. The different types of irrigation he showed include flood irrigation, where water is distributed across the land naturally, with no pumps involved, this form of irrigation is used on about half of the 60 million acres of irrigated land in the U.S. He also included drip irrigation, and center-pivot irrigation, where equipment rotates around a pivot to water crops. Adkins showed us the historical evolutions of these irrigation systems and how they’ve improved over time as well.

Currently, Asia accounts for 68 percent of the world’s irrigation use, while America only accounts for 17 percent. Specifically, in India, over 90 percent of its freshwater is used for crop production, and one-fifth of the nation’s total electricity goes toward pumping this water for irrigation. From a global perspective, roughly 15 to 35 percent of this irrigation is considered unsustainable.

Lastly, Adkins showed us the new technologies behind irrigation with mapping and NVDI images to confirm a fully-functioning VRI system. As well as monitoring systems that can even be used from the comfort of your own smartphone. Watering crops is definitely more complicated than I thought it was in the past!

Agricultural Irrigation

James Adkins’s opening statement of “while only 20% of the world’s farmland is irrigated, it produces 40% of our food supply” really makes one think about the huge importance of water. India uses 90% of its freshwater supply for agricultural irrigation. That means almost 1/5 of their electricity supply is used just for irrigation. In the United States, almost half of the farmland is irrigated with flood irrigation. Flood irrigation is a method used in ancient cultures and could be considered a very primitive way of irrigation; it uses pipes or ditches to move water through the ground to crops. This method is effective but not efficient nor sustainable. However, 43% of California’s farmland still uses this method rather than drip irrigation. Here in Delaware, 30% of farmland is irrigated. A few popular methods for irrigation would be drip irrigation or center pivot irrigation. Drip irrigation is easy to control and monitor but is hard for large fields. Drip irrigation is best for smaller fields or orchards. In large fields, center pivot irrigation is most commonly used. With center pivot it is harder to control the amount of water and accuracy leading it to a less sustainable and efficient option; research and technology updates help to increase the accuracy of center pivot irrigation. Water, of course, is vital to all living species and it is not a renewable source, so we must figure out how to use it most efficiently and effectively. The technology of irrigation has done just that and will continue to grow and improve.

James Adkins Guest Lecture

James Adkins gave a guest lecture last Wednesday about irrigation. He discussed the various types of irrigation that have been used historically as well as recent developments,  such as Variable Rate Irrigation. VRI allows farmers to control the amount of water put out by irrigation over specific areas, improving efficiency and reducing water consumption.

I was surprised to discover that 68% of irrigated land is located in Asia. China and India specifically use a huge amount of their freshwater to irrigate crops, with India using approximately 20% of its electricity to pump water for irrigation.

In the United States, irrigation accounts for 37% of all groundwater used. About half of the irrigation in the U.S. is flood irrigation. Flood irrigation involves flooding a field with water in order to allow the soil to absorb it. This method of irrigation is considered to be inefficient. Flood irrigation is most prevalent in California, where 43% of farmland used flood irrigation.


Guest Speaker James Atkins: Introduction to Irrigation

“ The Towers of Avalon was some of the first irrigated Agriculture” (James Atkins). James Atkins, an Irrigation specialist, informed the students of the University of Delaware about the importance of irrigation, the history, the irrigation methods used today, and the water rights that have been placed within the United States and in neighboring countries. Irrigation, one of the many important aspects in feeding the world, allows farmers and producers to control the amount of water that is placed on the field which allows the crop to get the needed amount of water for growth and development; essentially creating a higher yield. However, this was only possible due to the Towers of Avalon and their method of irrigation to apply water to their crops. During the earlier centuries, the towers of Avalon created and used the method of pumping water from a dam and letting it flow down to the field to apply water to their crops. This essentially, allowed for many to have a foundation to develop further methods of irrigation that eventually led to the use of aluminum pipes due to the abundance of aluminum after World War II to build sprinkler systems that are rolled manually, hard hose irrigation, and central irrigation.

With the developments of methods of irrigation during the earlier centuries, many were able to develop advanced systems that fit the different types of crops and their needs. Today, the irrigation methods of subsurface drip irrigation, traveling gun irrigation, shallow surface irrigation, and central pivot irrigation are used, the most widely being, central pivot irrigation. Central pivot irrigation, a process in which equipment rotates around a pivot and crops are watered through the sprinklers on the system that have zone and variability controlling that controls each of the individual water dispensing nozzles on the center pivot irrigation system and allows for efficient water dispensing over the areas needed on the field. With the use of irrigation of the fields, many states near a water source are under water rights due to the concern of the sustainability of water in that area, thus, this allows many to share the water without over usage of it. From this presentation, many things about the irrigation methods in the past and current day time can be learned which can help me and the other students develop a greater understanding of growing crops and the processes within it.

Throughout this lecture, Mr. Atkins discussed the importance of irrigation across the United States and the history that irrigation to be in the standing it is today which led myself and other students to develop a further understanding of irrigation and its benefits to farmers and producers and discover an interesting fact which was that irrigation is needed in many dry regions of the earth which has resulted into water rights to be placed to prevent the water source from running out.

James Adkins Irrigational importance

Irragation is of the utmost importance and is something that seems like will always need improvements on how we can use water effectivly  and efficiently. When James talked about the pivot irrigation I was surprised to learn about how inconsistent even the most consistent one was. But, as I thought about it makes sense. I wonder if there are any better Ideas for irrigation in the works or being tested out somewhere? The technology he talked about was pretty amazing to. I know Professor Issacs touched on this before about being able to control a whole farms irrigation system from your smart phone. It’s just crazy to think about controlling such an big and important machine from your hand held device. The zone control with the different soil types so the irrigation system knows how much water each zone needs is a very fascinating as well and it seems very practical to help plants get all the water they need for a nice full harvest.

Agricultural Irrigation

James Adkins came to us to discuss irrigation practices in agricultural settings. When he said that 20% of the world’s farmland is irrigated, I was surprised. I thought that almost all farmland was irrigated. I was expecting a number closer to 70%.

I immediately understood the pain of the first sprinkler systems where you had to take apart the aluminum poles to move them, and then put them back together in the new area. It didn’t seem fast or easy at all. Putting the same system on wheels so you could just roll them to the next area seemed like a huge improvement, at least from a convenience and headache point of view. What he didn’t talk about much though, in any method of irrigation, was how efficient it was in the amount of water was actually taken up by crops and how much either evaporated or left the rootzone before it could be utilized. I did find it a little shocking when he said that someone can purchase a plot of land and have no rights to the water on the land- be it a river or an underground aquifer. Once I thought about it, it made at least some sense. Water doesn’t listen to arbitrary property boundaries, and anything that happens upstream can greatly impact everything downstream. Farmers must be careful to not overtax the resources they are using in order to protect the health of the land for others and for the future.