Drip Irrigation Vs Sprinkler Irrigation Farming

Drip Irrigation Vs Sprinkler Irrigation Systems:

Introduction of Drip Irrigation:

Drip irrigation is sometimes called trickle irrigation and involves dripping water onto the soil at very low rates (2-20 liters/hour) from a system of small diameter plastic pipes fitted with outlets called emitters or drippers. Water is applied close to plants so that only part of the soil in which the roots grow is wetted, unlike surface and sprinkler irrigation, which involves wetting the whole soil profile. With drip irrigation water, applications are more frequent (usually every 1-3 days) than with other methods and this provides a very favorable high moisture level in the soil in which plants can flourish.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Drip Irrigation Farming:

Drip Irrigation Farming Advantages: Drip Irrigation Farming Disadvantages
1. Maximum use of available water.

2. No water being available to weeds so weed control is efficient.

3. Maximum crop yield.

4. High efficiency in the use of fertilizers.

5. Less weed growth and restricts the population of potential hosts.

6. Low labor and relatively low operation cost.

7. Soil erosion is eliminated.

8. Improved infiltration in the soil of low intake.

9. Ready adjustment to sophisticated automatic control.

10. No runoff of fertilizers into groundwater.

11. Fewer evaporation losses of water as compared to surface irrigation.

12. Improves seed germination.

  1. Sensitivity to clogging.
  1. Moisture distribution problem.
  1. Salinity hazards.
  1. High cost compared to furrow.
  1. High skill is required for design, install, and operation.


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Major Parts of Drip Irrigation System:

Find major components if drip irrigation system below.

1 Pump station. 2 By-pass assembly
3 Control valves 4 Filtration system
5 Fertilizer tank/Venturi 6 Pressure gauge
7 Mains/Sub-mains 8 Laterals
9 Emitting devices 10 Microtubes

Below is the Layout of Drip Irrigation System:

Read on the image for bigger size layout.

Drip Irrigation Sytem Layout
Drip Irrigation System Layout.

What Crops are Suitable for Drip Irrigation Farming:

1. Orchard Crops Grapes, Banana, Pomegranate, Orange,
Citrus, Mango, Lemon, Custard Apple, Sapota,
Guava, Pineapple, Coconut, Cashewnut,
Papaya, Aonla, Litchi, Watermelon,
Muskmelon etc.
2. Vegetables Tomato, Chilly, Capsicum, Cabbage,
Cauliflower, Onion, Okra, Brinjal, Bitter Gourd,
Ridge Gourd, Cucumber, Peas, Spinach,
Pumpkin etc.
3. Cash Crops Sugarcane, Cotton. Arecanut, Strawberry, etc.
4. Flowers Rose, Carnation, Gerbera, Anthurium,
Orchids, Jasmine, Dahilia, Marigold, etc.
5. Plantation Tea, Rubber, Coffee, Coconut, etc.
6. Spices Turmeric, Cloves, Mint, etc,
7. Oil Seed Sunflower, Oil palm, Groundnut, etc.
8. Forest Crops Teak Wood, Bamboo, etc.

Introduction of Sprinkler Irrigation:

Sprinkler Irrigation is a method of applying irrigation water which is similar to rainfall. Water is distributed through a system of pipes usually by pumping. It is then sprayed into the air and irrigated entire soil surface through spray heads so that it breaks up into small water drops which fall to the ground.

Sprinklers provide efficient coverage for small to large areas and are suitable for use on all types of properties. It is also adaptable to nearly all irrigable soils since sprinklers are available in a wide range of discharge capacity.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Sprinkler Irrigation Farming:

Sprinkler  Irrigation Farming Advantages: Sprinkler Irrigation Farming Disadvantages:
1. Eliminates water conveyance channels, thereby reducing conveyance loss.

2.Suitable in all types of soil except heavy clay.

3.Water saving up to 30% – 50 %.

4. Suitable for irrigation where the plant population per unit area is very high.

5. Helps to increase yield.

6. Reduces soil compaction.

7. Mobility of the system helps system operation easy.

8.Suitable for undulating land.

9. Saves land as no bunds required.

10. Soluble fertilizers and chemicals use are possible.

11. Provides frost protection & helps in alteration of micro climate.

12. Reduces labor cost.

1. It requires a high initial investment.

2. Power requirement is usually high since sprinklers operate with more than 0.5 kg/cm2 water pressure.

3. Fine textured soils that have low infiltration rate cannot be irrigated efficiently in a windy area.

4. Loss of water due to evaporation from the area during irrigation. 

5. The water must be clean and free of sand, debris and large amounts of dissolved salts.

 6. Wind distorts sprinkler pattern and causes uneven distribution of water. 

7. Ripening of soft fruit must be protected from the spray.

Major Parts of Sprinkler Irrigation System:

1 Pumping station or Header Assembly 2 By-pass valve
3 Fertilizer tank 4 Filtration system
5 Pressure gauges 6 Control valves
7 HDPE / PVC Pipes 8 QRC Pump connector
9 Sprinkler Nozzles 10 Service Saddle

Sprinkler System Layout:

Read on Image to Enlarge the Layout.

Splinklar System Layout
Sprinkler System Layout.

Types of Sprinklers:

Type of Sprinkler Precipitation Rate
(mm per hour)
Low Volume Sprinkler Less than 13
Medium Volume Sprinkler 13 – 25
Large Volume Sprinkler(Rain gun) Above 25

Crops which are benefited under Sprinkler Irrigation System:

Crops Water Saving (%) Yield increase (%)
Chilli 33 24
Cotton 36 50
Fenugreek 29 35
Gram 69 57
Jowar 55 34
Maize 41 36
Onion 33 23
Sunflower 33 20
Wheat 35 24


Bottom Line:

The drip irrigation system is the most efficient one.

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  1. What is the similarities of drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation? I want to know because of my daughter’s assignment..


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