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Agriculture - Irrigation

By fredrickjp Oct 09, 2011 1596 Words
Agricultural Mechanization

Strategies and programmes have been directed towards replacement of traditional and inefficient implements by improved ones, enabling the farmers to own tractors, power tillers, harvesters and other machines, availability of custom hire services, support services of human resource development, testing, evaluation and research & development. A huge industrial base for manufacturing of the agricultural machines has also been developed. Introduction of technologically advanced equipments through extension and demonstration besides institutional credit has also been taken up. Equipments for resource conservation have also been adopted by the farmers. Under various governments sponsored schemes like Macro Management of Agriculture, Technology Mission for Oilseeds, Pulses and Maize, Technology Mission on Horticulture, Technology Mission on Cotton and National Food Security Mission, financial assistance is provided to the farmers for the purchase of identified agricultural implements and machines.

Agricultural Mechanization Development

Efficient machinery helps in increasing productivity by about 30% besides, enabling the farmers to raise a second crop making the agriculture attractive. Raising more crops with high productivity is a path for meeting the future food requirement of population. Development and introduction of high capacity, precision, reliable and energy efficient equipment is the need for judicious use inputs. For crop production human, animal and mechanical energy is extensively used. In small and marginal farms, except for tillage, other operations such as sowing/ transplanting, weeding, cotton picking harvesting and threshing (paddy) are normally manually performed.

Mechanization also imparts capacity to the farmers to carry out farm operations, with ease and freedom from drudgery, making the farming agreeable vocation for educated youth as well. It helps the farmers to achieve timeliness and precisely meter and apply costly input for better efficacy and efficiency.

Adoption of Mechanization:

At present in India, tractors are being used for tillage of 22.78% of total area and sowing 21.30% of total area. Although, utility of manually and bullock operated equipment has been established but the response of the farmers has been selective. The bullock drawn seed cum fertilizer drill and manual paddy transplanter have not been universally accepted in spite of financial incentive from the Government. Due to limited use in a year and economic advantage of many items, some improved implements could not replace the local alternatives. The land levelers, seed cum fertilizer drills have also been accepted by the farmers but on limited scale. Major adoption of agricultural machinery in addition to irrigation equipment and tractor, was thresher for wheat crop

Irrigation may be defined as the science of artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and re-vegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall. Additionally, irrigation also has a few other uses in crop production, which include protecting plants against frost, suppressing weed growing in grain fields and helping in preventing soil consolidation .In contrast ,agriculture that relies only on direct rainfall is referred to as rain-fed or dry land farming. Irrigation systems are also used for dust suppression, disposal of sewage, and in mining. Irrigation is often studied together with drainage, which is the natural or artificial removal of surface and sub-surface water from a given area.

Irrigation and drainage equipment:

Diesel and electric pump sets are common. The shift from conventional flood irrigation to sprinkler, micro sprinkler or drip irrigation systems is apparently visible indicating the importance of water use efficiency for covering more area under irrigation. The Government support in the form of subsidy is serving as a catalyst to compensate for the high initial cost of the system. Importance of drainage for achieving improved productivity is being realized by the farmers and progressive farmers are going for subsurface drainage, which is high initial cost technology. The low cost mole drainage technology and equipment has been developed for poor. The mole drain laying cost is about 3500 INR and the same is recovered in one crop season. The farmers are getting attracted in favor of this technology. However, it is just a beginning of adoption of the technology. In years to come, it is expected to be common feature among the farmers. Efforts are on to popularize this technology through demonstrations and awareness programmes.

Pumps and power unit

Micro-irrigation systems are typically designed to make the best use of the amount of water available. The type and size of pump selected will depend on the amount of water required, the desired pressure and the location of the pump relative to the distribution network. Electric power units or internal combustion engine driven pumps are equally adaptable. However, the electric power unit is preferred because it is easier to automate.


The term "micro-irrigation" describes a family of irrigation systems that apply water through small devices. These devices deliver water onto the soil surface very near the plant or below the soil surface directly into the plant root zone. Growers, producers and landscapers have adapted micro-irrigation systems to suit their needs for precision water application. Micro-irrigation systems are immensely popular not only in arid regions and urban settings but also in humid zones where water supplies are limited or water is expensive. In irrigated agriculture, micro-irrigation is used extensively for row crops, mulched crops, orchards, gardens, greenhouses and nurseries. In urban landscapes, micro-irrigation is widely used with ornamental plantings.

Drip irrigation

Depending on how the emitters are placed in the plastic polyethylene distribution line, the drip mode can be further delineated as a line source or a point source. The line source type emitters are placed internally in equally spaced holes or slits made along the line. Water applied from the close and equally spaced holes usually runs along the line and forms a continuous wetting pattern. This wetting pattern is suited for close row crops. The point source type emitters are attached external to the lateral pipe. The installer can select the desired location to suit the planting configuration or place them at equally spaced intervals. Water applied from the point source emitter usually forms a round deep wetting spot. The point source wetting pattern is suited for widely spaced plants in orchards, vineyards and for landscape trees or shrubs.

Line source emitter

Line source emitters are suitable for closely spaced row crops in fields and gardens. Line source emitters are available in two variations: * Thin wall drip line
* Thick wall drip hose.
* Point source emitters

Thin wall drip line
A thin walled drip line has internal emitters molded or glued together at set distances within a thin plastic distribution line. The drip line is available in a wide range of diameters, wall thickness, emitter spacing and flow rates. The emitter spacing is selected to closely fit plant spacing for most row crops. The flow rate is typically expressed in gallons per minute along a 100-foot section. Drip lines are either buried below the ground or laid on the surface. Burial of the drip line is preferable to avoid degradation from heat and ultraviolet rays and displacement from strong winds.

Thick wall drip hose
The thick walled drip hose is a variation of the thin walled drip line. The internal emitters are molded or glued to the drip hose. It is more durable because of its considerable thickness. The diameter of the drip hose is similar to that of the thin walled drip line. Unlike the thin wall drip line, the drip hose emitter spacing is wider and it operates at a higher pressure. The emitter discharges ranges from 0.2 to 2 gph. Thick walled drip hose is typically laid on the ground and retrieved at the end of the cropping season.

Point source emitters
Point source emitters are installed on the outside of the distribution line. Point source emitters dissipate water pressure through a long narrow path. The emitters can take a predetermined water pressure at its inlet and reduce it to almost zero as the water exits. Some can be taken apart and manually cleaned. The typical flow rates range from 0.5 to 2.0 gph.

Bubbler irrigation
Bubblers typically apply water on a "per plant" basis. Bubblers are very similar to the point source external emitters in shape but differ in performance. Water from the bubbler head either runs down from the emission device or spreads a few inches in an umbrella pattern. The bubbler emitters dissipate water pressure through a variety of diaphragm materials and deflect water through small orifices. Most bubbler emitters are marketed as pressure compensating. The bubbler emission devices are equipped with single or multiple port outlets. Most bubbler heads are used in planter boxes, tree wells, or specialized landscape applications where deep localized watering is preferable. The typical flow rate from bubbler emitters is between 2 and 20 gph.

Micro-sprinkler irrigation
Micro-sprinklers are emitters commonly known as sprinkler or spray heads. There are several types. The emitters operate by throwing water through the air, usually in predetermined patterns. Depending on the water throw patterns, the micro-sprinklers are referred to as mini-sprays, micro-sprays, jets, or spinners. The sprinkler heads are external emitters individually connected to the lateral pipe typically using "spaghetti tubing," which is very small diameter tubing. The sprinkler heads can be mounted on a support stake or connected to the supply pipe. Micro-sprinklers are desirable because fewer sprinkler heads are necessary to cover larger areas. The flow rates of micro-sprinkler emitters vary from 3 gph to 30 gph depending on the orifice size and line pressure.

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