This is a means by which a crop is maintained through the artificial application of water to augment natural rainfall-in order to keep the soil moisture level within a range required by the crop.
Plants take in nutrients through water and use water to maintain their shapes. Without water, plants will not be able to absorb nutrients and maintain their shapes.
The amount of irrigation water applied depends on several factors, inclusive of crop type, soil type, water quality, time of the year (climatic conditions), amount of rainfall (moisture) at that particular time, type of irrigation system being used, stage of growth of the crop and type of farming being practiced (dry land/rain fed or irrigated). Various methods of irrigation are in application around the world, and a number of them are at various levels of adoption and application in Zimbabwe-inclusive of bucket, flood, hose, sprinkler, and micro– or trickle irrigation.
General uses of irrigation water in agricultural projects include maintenance of soil moisture, fertigation, chemigation, protection against frost, suppression of weeds, cleaning and processing produce, suppression of dust, sewerage/waste disposal, watering livestock, chemical delivery to and/or removal from the environment, humidification as well as supply of water for general on-farm household uses.
Any one of these uses and any one or more of the methods of irrigation cited above may be incorporated into the design of an irrigation system to water whatever project one would want to do. The farmer is only limited by their imagination but the best way forward is to appreciate the technical nature of agriculture mechanisation and seek advice from a technical expert.
The iQFarmer irrigation manual will introduce you to simple but practical and efficient irrigation principles, system use and servicing:
Download Irrigation Manual
Download Irrigation Program