Water irrigation systems can be expensive. So, you should do a little research before dropping a pretty penny. Now, don’t just walk into a supplier’s store and pick up the first thing you see on the shelf. Rather, you must think about what to consider before installing a farm irrigation system. Selecting a device is a serious commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Topography of the Land

You may not think that the lay of the land has a significant impact on which irrigation system you choose, but you’d be wrong. The reason why topography matters is because there are several irrigation systems to choose from—each device is designed for different types of land. Below are a few options in irrigation devices that deserve a second look:

  • Center Pivot Irrigation Systems operate in a circular motion. The operator controls the flow rate of how much water is dispensed. The more water the farmer wants on the land, the slower the rotation will be. These mechanisms are best suited for round or square fields. If you’re a farmer dealing with irregular-shaped land, you may install multiple center pivot systems to make sure the entire land gets water.
  • Linear Move Irrigation Systems are similar to center pivot mechanisms. However, instead of operating in a circular fixed motion, these devices move across the field to ensure that every square inch gets wet. These devices are meant for rectangular pieces of land because the system moves laterally up and down the field—they won’t be able to get into the nooks and crannies of the land.
  • Traveling Gun Irrigation Systems work on all different types of land topographies. Essentially, the water pump is placed on a moving device, and a string wraps around a pulley system, causing the water to dispense. Now, this system may seem great for most crops because H2O gets sprayed everywhere. Yet, you need to create an alleyway for these machines to work. If anything gets in the way of the track, you could be facing serious and expensive problems.

Now that we’ve explored the connection between topography and irrigation systems, we can move on to discuss more of what to consider before installing an irrigation system. People, if you thought we were finished, you’re dead wrong—we’re just getting started!

It’s All About the Energy

In an ideal world, you’d purchase an irrigation system and not have to spend another dime. Sadly, we don’t live in an ideal world. There are important factors to consider—the most obvious being energy. Most farmers choose to go with electric power because there’s little maintenance associated with it. But let me tell y’all, electricity can be expensive. Luckily, some electric companies offer special deals to ease the burden on farmers. For example, electric companies may offer “interruptable times.” This means that the electric company can turn off the electricity for some time whenever they’d like. Other electricity providers may offer discounts during busy irrigation times. Typically, the runner-up to electric power is diesel engines. Diesel engines require a little more work than their electric counterparts. You have to seriously think about which energy source is right for you so that you don’t end up with additional costs that you can’t handle.

Let’s Talk About Crops

You didn’t think we forgot about crops, did you? You must think about what type of crops you’re going to plant before choosing an irrigation system. The reality is, some crops need more water than others. If any type of incorrect irrigation is detected, you may end up with poor growing plants and root issues. In addition to thinking about the crops, you must also consider the soil type of your farm. Some crops will not grow in particular soil types—things have to align. You could unintentionally hurt your crops if you try to plant them in the wrong soil.

What About the Water Source?

Next up, you have to think about the water source and its availability when selecting an irrigation system. Does the water come from a lake or pond? Or, are you getting it from an underground well? These factors alone will play a role in which type of system you choose. In addition, if your H2O is coming from a less than desirable place, it may contain minerals and chemicals that harm your plants. Nobody wants that! Finally, is the water coming from a place where it needs to be conserved? Some municipalities won’t let you use their water source for irrigation if H2O is a hot commodity. There are definitely a few things to consider here.

Working for the Weekend

Last but certainly not least, you ought to contemplate how much labor is involved with the irrigation system you choose. For example, will the device run on its own without any human involvement? Or, does the machine need to be handled by an operator? If the second statement is true, you might have to hire more workers to care for the land. Additional labor is yet another cost that comes with choosing the perfect irrigation system.

Phew, you just got a whole lot of information thrown at you. Hopefully, you didn’t fall asleep while reading because each of these points is critical to good farming. You can’t be a successful farmer without choosing the right irrigation system. As we’ve seen, some of these devices are better suited for different types of topography. For example, a linear irrigation system should only be used for rectangular fields because the device moves up and down. Now, I bet you didn’t know that before reading this piece.

Finally, you can’t ignore energy sources, the crops you’re planning to grow, and the water supply. If any of these factors are just a little bit off, your farm may not be able to grow crops effectively. This advice is meant to make you a better farmer. Ultimately, we hope that we’ve given you something to think about so that you don’t make a rash decision. Rural Water Direct wants to be a partner on your journey to creating the ultimate piece of farmland. We have supplies like water pump foot valves that’ll keep contaminated H2O away from the good stuff. Don’t think you have to do this on your own. Everyone gets by with a little help from their friends.