Irrigation Farming Systems In South Africa
As an investor in agriculture real estate in South Africa, irrigation farming systems are crucial in your projects. Irrigation farming has gained ground in South Africa and contributes to the nation’s food stability. In this post, we shall take you through irrigation systems in South Africa, including types and uses to help you make informed decisions.
The size of the land is what determines its best-suited irrigation system. Different types of irrigation systems work differently, as we will show you. Some irrigation systems are better suited for gardens, while others can water a large farm without problems. As we take you through the types of irrigation systems, we will also tell you the size of land each irrigation system can cover. Below is a list of the irrigation farming systems in South Africa:
- Sprinkler irrigation system
- Trickle irrigation system
- Furrow irrigation system
Each type of irrigation system is effective in its unique way if used properly. Each type also comes at different prices depending on the range the system can irrigate. Below are the costs of irrigation systems in South Africa. We will also look at each irrigation system’s features to better understand how they work.
Types, Uses, And Costs Of Irrigation Farming Systems In South Africa
1. Sprinkler Irrigation System
The cost of a sprinkler irrigation system is R.15,000-R.30,000. The cost varies, depending on the range a sprinkler’s valve can cover.
Sprinkler irrigation system waters plants by imitating rain. The water is released in small amounts to its immediate circumference. The stronger the valve, the further the water from the sprinkler will reach.
A sprinkler’s effectiveness is evident in a small plantation, for instance, a small garden with a cabbage plantation. The height of the plant has to be short so that other plants are not obstructed from getting water.
With an enormous land, you can install multiple sprinklers. They can be connected to the same pipe and still work well.
A) Advantages Of Sprinkler Irrigation Systems
- It is easy to install compared to other types of irrigation systems.
- It is an affordable irrigation system option.
- It does not use too much water because it is released in small, controlled amounts.
- It is easy to handle a sprinkler irrigation system. Moving the system from one point to another does not need a lot of energy.
B) Disadvantages Of Sprinkler Irrigation
- Sprinkler irrigation systems can only cover a small area of land.
- During days with harsh weather conditions, for instance, strong winds, sprinkler irrigation systems cannot be relied upon. They are low in weight and can be carried away by the wind.
- Applying sprinkler irrigation systems on a big piece of land is expensive. Multiple sprinklers and a long pipe for connecting the sprinklers are needed.
- Setting up sprinkler irrigation systems on a large land takes much time.
- They require constant maintenance. A sprinkler irrigation system can be damaged easily when not handled with care.
C) Application Of Sprinkler Irrigation System
- A sprinkler irrigation system is suitable for vegetables. The height of most vegetables is shorter than the height of the sprinkler. Unlike tall crops, a sprinkler irrigation system can water vegetables more effectively.
- A sprinkler irrigation system is the best type of irrigation for watering grass. A sprinkler irrigation system can water a small lawn more effectively due to its limited reach.
- Calm weather is the best condition for using sprinkler irrigation systems. Wind affects the distribution of water, which should be in equal proportions for the constant growth of crops.
- This is the best irrigation system in South Africa for crops that do not need a lot of water, like tomatoes. A sprinkler irrigation system produces water in controlled amounts.
2. Trickle Irrigation System (Drip Irrigation)
It is also known as Drip Irrigation System. A complete drip irrigation system costs R.261-R.261 per square meter.
A drip irrigation system is installed in lines next to plants. The water trickles down into the soil little by little.
Drip irrigation is adequate on small-scale farms but still works well for large-scale. The system will still work on a large scale but is costly to buy and install.
Unlike other irrigation systems, you can buy the exact size of outlets to irrigate your land using a drip irrigation system. The larger the land, the more outlets and connection materials will be needed.
A) Advantages Of Trickle Irrigation System
- Uses minimal water compared to other types of irrigation systems. Trickle irrigation system focuses on watering the root alone, thus reducing water wastage.
- A farmer can control the amount of water that comes out. There are knobs on the system that regulate the production of water.
- Trickle irrigation systems are vital because they are installed close to the ground.
- This system can distribute water to a large number of crops.
- Using a trickle irrigation system, each crop receives the same amount of water, encouraging consistent growth.
B) Disadvantages Of Trickle Irrigation System
- It takes a lot of time to install a trickle irrigation system.
- The cost of the installation materials of a trickle irrigation system is high, especially on large pieces of land.
- The pipes of a trickle irrigation system wear away after a certain period depending on its exposure to the sunlight.
- They require constant maintenance to unblock the blockages that form after a certain period.
C) Application Of Trickle Irrigation System
- A trickle irrigation system is best for watering tuber crops like potatoes.
- In a greenhouse is when the trickle irrigation system is more effective. The pipes cannot be affected by heat from the sun.
- Trickle irrigation systems are helpful for crops that do not need a lot of water. The water that comes out of this system is low and can still be adjusted to a farmer’s preference.
- This is the best type of irrigation system for watering flowers. The water is directed to the flower’s root. This way, flowers for sale, for instance, cannot be damaged.
3. Furrow Irrigation System
The cost of a furrow irrigation system in South Africa is R.150,000-R.500,000. A furrow irrigation system can water plants in a broader range than other irrigation systems. Water runs through piping channels to the land, where they are buried in the soil. The irrigation system is meant to water the roots as a priority. The furrow irrigation system is, however, costly not only to purchase but also to install. After installation, it does not end there. The system needs to be watched closely and maintained to avoid unnecessary losses. With enough financial resources, furrow irrigation systems are a very effective way of watering a large land.
A) Advantages Of Furrow Irrigation System
- A furrow irrigation system is highly effective in watering large pieces of land.
- Furrow irrigation systems cannot be damaged easily because their materials are strategically located.
- A furrow irrigation system is not complicated and uses lesser materials than a trickle irrigation system.
- A farmer does not need to hire labour to water plants using a furrow irrigation system.
B) Disadvantages Of Furrow Irrigation Systems
- It produces a lot of water and is thus unsuitable for watering plants that use little water, like tomatoes.
- The farm has to be ploughed in furrows for a furrow irrigation system to be effective.
- Furrow irrigation systems produce large amounts of water, thus causing erosion of soil over some time.
- The cost of installing furrow irrigation systems is high. A large force of labour is needed to install a furrow irrigation system.
C) Application Of Furrow Irrigation Systems
- A furrow irrigation system is most effective when used to water crops that need much water to grow, for instance, rice.
- The furrow irrigation system works very effectively on a large piece of land. The water automatically spreads by gravity regardless of the size of a farm.
- Highly effective for watering plants grown in straight lines, for example, maize.
1. Sprinkler irrigation system: It is connected to a water outlet, for instance, a tap, and releases water in controlled amounts. The water is spread to the plants in their immediate surroundings.
2. Furrow irrigation system: This system consists of large pipes that water the plants underground. The pipes are buried in the soil. This way, they water the plant from the ground.
1. Drip irrigation system: Waters the plant by continuously releasing water drops. It is installed in lines which are installed along the lines of the plant.
2. Sprinkler irrigation system: Releases water in controlled amounts and spreads it into its immediate circumference. It is most effectively used to water small lands.
3. Furrow irrigation system: Most effective when watering a large scale of plants. It is the most expensive type of irrigation system.
An irrigation system in South Africa costs R.15,000-R.500,000 on average. The cost of an irrigation system varies depending on the type. For instance:
1. Sprinkler irrigation system: R.15,000-R.30,000
2. Furrow irrigation system: R.150,000-R.500,000
3. Drip irrigation System: R.261-R.261 per square meter
1. Vegetables like cabbage and kale, among others.
2. Potatoes. Both Irish and sweet potatoes.
3. Fruits like oranges and avocados, among others.