Tag Archives: James Adkins


On Wednesday October 3rd, 2018 we had a guest lecture from James Adkins. James gave a guest lecture on agricultural irrigation. Throughout the lecture there was a lot of facts that most people wouldn’t know unless they were informed in this field through research or as a career. Like one interesting fact is that 20% of the world’s farmland is irrigated but it only produces 40% of our food supply. I was aware of the changes of irrigation over the years since I have noticed these changes in different classes and I had shadowed an employee at UD’s Cooperative Extension office in Georgetown before my freshman year and got to see different types of irrigation there. Another thing I learned is that globally, 15-35% of irrigation withdrawals are estimated to be unsustainable. This is going to become a huge problem in the future with our growing population. In the end I found this to be a very informative guest lecture and learned a lot about issues we are going to face in the future with irrigation.

James Adkins Guest Lecture

I really enjoyed James’s lecture on irrigation. I knew some of the information he presented but I definitely didn’t know the fun facts that he had up his sleeve. For example, only 20% of the world’s farmland is irrigated and this irrigated farmland produces 40% of the food supply! That’s very efficient for such little irrigated land. We learned about different types of irrigation like drip/trickle which is expensive and efficient so they use it a lot out in California and systems like center/ pivot and furrow irrigation which aren’t as efficient. The most widely used irrigation system is center/pivot, which why when you travel in a plane and look down you will see a bunch of circles on the ground; those circles are the center/ pivot irrigated fields. Asia actually has the largest amount of irrigated land which is cool to me because they also will have the largest population by the year 2050.

Importance of Irrigation and Water Management with James Adkins

On October third, the AGRI 130 students had the opportunity to learn about irrigation and water management with James Adkins, an irrigation engineer for the University of Delaware. During the lecture, the students learned about the different methods and technologies of irrigation. Each irrigation method has different downfalls and benefits, depending on the soil quality, incline of the land, and other individual factors. It was interesting to learn how irrigation systems have gone from furrow irrigation, which is digging out areas on inclined land to run water through, to center pivot irrigation, which is a technology that distributes water above the crops in a circular fashion. Technological advances have allowed agriculturalists who irrigate to conserve water and reap twice the crop yield of a traditional farm. Current issues have shown that responsible water management is the key to feeding the growing world population. Field research has enabled agriculturalists to develop and improve irrigation methods. Current advances include crop mapping systems, electronic data collection based on irrigation, and the development of drones for mapping.  The eastern half of US crops receive more water than what is required for growth whereas the western half of US crops receive the minimum amount of water for survival. This is due to the amount of rainfall that occurs on the two halves of the US. The difference in rainfall in the US has caused changes in the methodology of irrigation based on a farm’s individual needs. Thank you to James Adkins for teaching AGRI 130 students about irrigation.

Irrigation with James Adkins

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is ride around with the sunroof open, and my least favorite thing is to accidentally get drenched by the irrigation system that is stretching out to the road. However, I never took into account the importance of these tools and how vital they are to the success of crops. One of the biggest things that stood out to me while listening to James was that only 20% of the worlds farmland is irrigated and of that 20%, we get 40% of our food supply. To think that such a great portion of the world is reliant on this small amount of crops signified to me just how important irrigation is. When I think irrigation, the only one I can think of is overhead pipe irrigation. This system moves on its own in a circular motion, allowing nozzles to disburse water evenly as possible onto the crop. This also can result in water being spread onto the road, and flying into your car if you aren’t careful. To my surprise however it is not the only type that is used. Another type of irrigation used is furrow irrigation which is a system in which water flows from one end of the crop to the other, but was deemed ineffective when one side of the crop was getting greater access to water than the other. Some parts of the world still use it, mostly successful in areas that have hills so water flows down at a greater rate. A third type of irrigation is called side roll pipe irrigation, which was used mainly by manual labor where it waters a certain area for a length of time and then it is up to someone to move it. In learning about the older and newer forms of irrigation not only goes to show the difference in technology but goes to show how evident irrigation has becoming in successfully growing crops. Without it we would have more failures than successes, in which could be detrimental to not only the farmer and the area around him, but has the potential to impact worldwide.

James Atkins Irrigation

In James Atkins presentation he covered many  areas that focused on various areas of irrigation. He started his presentation with a very interesting act about how the Mayan empire had started the water irrigation through the way of buckets picking up water, later to be carried to the bottom for use. Another interesting fact he mentioned in his presentation was  that a million gallons of water use of 10 households in a year, 1 /2 olympic pools, water used by 100  acres of corn in 1 day and 166 tanker loads. James also stated that its so very key how much water a field and its distance from the pivot.  On one of the graphs it showed that the farther it got from the gun and right before the water gun that the amount of water was off the point where they wanted it to hit. Irrigation isn’t cheap either with the most expensive irrigation system being $600 to $3500 per acre.

Guest Lecture: James Adkins

Mr. James Adkins came in to speak to our class about irrigation and how it works, as well as all the different types.  He showed us center pivot, sprinkler systems, drip irrigation, and a very other types. He showed us pictures of circular crop fields, and explained that they are that way because of the center pivot irrigation. Some areas of the circle were less green because of inaccurate spraying. Luckily the systems now have the technology to control the amounts of water and nutrients each part of the field is sprayed with.  He also showed us a picture of what happens when you part where the wheel of the center pivot irrigation system will drive… the car was crushed. Irrigation is a very interesting and important aspect to agriculture. Mr. Adkins lecture was very informative and I am glad he came in to speak with us. I look forward to learning more about irrigation possibly in the future.

Today’s Irrigation

I found this guest lecture by James Adkins especially interesting and educational. I learned a lot from this lecture. James presented to us that irrigation has been around for thousands of years, relating back to the Egyptians using the Nile River to irrigate their crops. He then went on to give an overview of the different types of irrigation practices: surface irrigation, localized irrigation, sprinkler irrigation, and sub irrigation. It was really interesting to see how much thought and science went behind irrigation practices and how monitored and controlled it is. He explained available water holding capacities based on soil types and that the soil types local to our area are mostly sandy loam  which can hold 0.11-0.15 inches of water per inch of soil, which, you can test for this level of moisture with various technologies like the Field Scout. Advancements and research in irrigation practices are so important with the threat of water scarcity and James Adkins reassured us that a lot of thought goes into how much and how often crops get irrigated. He explained the growth cycle of corn and how it requires different levels of moisture throughout its life cycle and how farmers have a rhyme and reason behind how much they irrigate. Irrigation is so important to agricultural production and I look forward to seeing what new technology they come out with next!

Guest Lecture: James Adkins

After a few minor setbacks early in the semester regarding James Adkins he was finally able to come in and talk with us about agricultural irrigation in November. James Adkins works at the UD Carvel Research center with a focus in the technology surrounding irrigation. We received a brief rundown of his personal history and then an extensive lecture regarding many aspects of agricultural irrigation – how it was done in the past and how its changed, scientific advancements, several types of irrigation (center pivot, flood/furrow irrigation, drip irrigation, etc.) and much more. What continues to surprise me is how advanced farming is today. Irrigation systems can be programmed to water certain areas with more or less water depending on the plant’s needs, it can monitor the exact amount of fertilizers/pesticides that might be used, and can maximize water efficiency in an agricultural setting. As time goes on, water is becoming more and more of a scarce resource is many parts of the world, which means that James Adkins may have one of the most important jobs to face our future.