Types of irrigation their advantages and disadvantages – LORECENTRAL (2023)

Irrigation is a variety of processes that allow for efficient distribution of water over the soil surface.There are currently different types of irrigation that make it easier for the farmer to make up for the lack of rainfall and the supplies needed for crop growth.

Table of contents

Gravity Irrigation

Gravity irrigation, also known as surface irrigation, consists of distributing water through channels or furrows spread over the entire cultivated area.

To carry out this type of irrigation, the farmer must have a sufficiently large reservoir or pond. It collects all the water that flows through long ditches to the irrigation points.

Once the water flows through the channels, gravity is responsible for spreading it over the surface of the crop.

Types of irrigation their advantages and disadvantages – LORECENTRAL (1)

Flooded crops using the technique of gravity irrigation

This irrigation method is one of the oldest in agriculture. To do this, the farmer must have sufficient knowledge of the infiltration capacity of the soil.Once the saturation point is reached, you must stop the flow of water and prevent the land from being flooded.

To ensure the success of gravity irrigation, it is necessary to carry out previous studies that will make it possible to know the most suitable planting frames for the crop.


  • Gravity irrigation, due to theSimplicity of its infrastructure isone of the most economical.
  • The energy required for its operation is practically zero thanks to the use of gravitational energy.
  • Wind is not a limiting factor in water distribution.


  • – It is not convenient to use it on rough terrain,as the water could be diverted and prevent its correct distribution.
  • By moistening most of the soil, weeds and fungal diseases can appear.

Currently in gravity irrigation,it is also possible to use multi-door pipes.This technique enables water distribution by means of hydrants or pipes connected to the supply source.

These pipes are located along the property and have small gates that regulate the flow of water. This ensures even watering without the need for a worker to supervise.

They can also be fitted with mobile PCV irrigation tubes, intermittent flow valves and attachable gates. All materials are readily available and inexpensive.

sprinkler irrigation

This type of irrigation consists of passing the water through sprinklers that moisten the soil in a similar way to rain.

Currently there is a huge variety of sprinkler irrigation systems, there are mobile, stationary and self-propelled.

Most of them can be installed in any type of topography, which is an important advantage. However, this should be notedWind can be a limiting factor when sprinkling.

It is recommended to be installed on land with wind speeds less than 15km/h, especially in fruit and vegetable crops.

Fixed sprinklers:

They consist of multiple pipes that run beneath the surface of the earth and are connected to rotating nozzles. These jets distribute the water in a circular pattern.

The location of this type of sprinkler can be square, rectangular or triangular. As long as the sprinkler radii are spaced and do not leave gaps that cannot be reached by irrigation.

The type of nozzle determines the size of the drops. The smaller they are, the more likely the wind will deviate direction or evaporate. On the other hand, if they are very large, they can damage the land and crops.

In order to ensure watering efficiency, it is important to consider the characteristics of the sprinklerdepending on: the nominal working pressure, the nozzle flow rate (liters per hour), the reach diameter and precipitation (liters per square meter).

The most common include percussion, twin-nozzle, and medium-pressure nozzles.The latter reach nominal operating pressures between 2.5 and 4 atmospheres, allowing frames up to 18 meters with a good uniformity of irrigation.

Mobile Sprinkler:

They consist of a system of underground pipes connected to sprinklersManually change their position whenever there is a need to water an area of ​​the property.They are suitable for small areas and are usually found at low altitudes.

Typically, the sprinklers are on a mobile cart that drives through the plot, wetting the ground as it goes.

Self-propelled spraying:

Types of irrigation their advantages and disadvantages – LORECENTRAL (2)Swivel drive by electric motor

The self-propelled Aspersion consists of a slightly more complex structure.The so-called pivots or pivots belong to this category.

The water supply in a pivot system is more than 1.0 meter deep.They can reach great distances, but only irrigate in a circular fashion.Therefore, it only adapts to plots of a certain size and regular shapes.

The movement is carried out thanks to electric motors. The equipment also has a lifespan of 15 to 20 years with an efficiency of 75 to 90%.

Another variant of self-propelled irrigation are the traveling guns.This is thanks to its pressure systemcan irrigate 2.5 to 15.0 hectares per sprinkler.

They can be moved with a tractor or they are self-powered by some kind of electric motor or gasoline.

The main disadvantage of this sprinkler system is that the water can be affected by the wind as the altitude and distance increases.On the other hand, some plants are very sensitive to the force of water blasts.


  • Generally, Sprinkler irrigation is one of the most commonly used.Although it will be more or less expensive depending on the system,its efficiency is much higher than other types of irrigation.
  • They are able to cover large distances over land
  • They adapt to the nature of the plot
  • – They allow to automate the irrigation
  • The service life of these systems is much higher


  • Investment and work can be high.
  • – The installation of these systems is much more complex
  • For example, gravity irrigation could increase weed emergence.

drip irrigation

It is an irrigation mainly used in arid areas.It consists in having the water already filtered and spreading it on or in the soil with fertilizers.In this way, the water goes directly to the root zone of the crops.

Distribution is via a network of pipes, usually made of plastic, either polyethylene or hydraulic PVC in the mains. In the secondary lines, it is carried out using flexible or rigid polyethylene pipes.

Types of irrigation their advantages and disadvantages – LORECENTRAL (3)

Polyethylene pipe for drip irrigation systems

The drip irrigation allows to avoid the fluctuations in humidity that occur with the other types of irrigation. It can be used 2 or 3 times a day.

Drip irrigation can be used both outdoors and in greenhouse crops.It is recommended for crops planted in rows in either annual or perennial cyclesIn addition, it is currently also used for plants managed in hydroponics, where the yields far exceed plants sown directly on the ground.


  • – Allows adequate growth of the root system
  • - Escan maintain a near-constant humidity level by continuously replenishing the volume of water consumed by the evaporation process.
  • - Permittedthe application of fertilizers in irrigation water.This guarantees greater availability of nutrients to the root zone.
  • The soil of the plot does not get wet, only the row where the culture will be planted. This is an important advantage forReduce the possible occurrence of weeds.
  • – The water consumption decreasesand the efficiency of water use increases significantly.
  • – It is irrigated, but other cultivation tasks such as e.gas pruning, espaliering and agrochemical applicationcan be executed.Activities that cannot be performed simultaneously with gravity or sprinkler irrigation.
  • It adapts to rocky terrain or slopes.


  • The main disadvantages of this irrigation method are theThe drip system can be covered if the water is not properly filtered
  • In addition, the initial investment is high and having trained professionals for the construction as well as the correct installation is essential.
  • Installation and construction costs are high.

Undoubtedly, the correct use of irrigation systems often depends on the farmer's ability to assess the needs of the crop.As well as factors of a natural, technical and economic nature that interfere with productivity

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