Advantages and disadvantages of the main types of irrigation

The irrigation is a technique that aims to meet the water needs of an area planted due to low water availability or poor distribution of rains . The main types of irrigation currently used are the superficial, the localized and the sprinkler.

Surface Irrigation

In this type the water is led to the point of infiltration directly by the surface of the soil . The most common irrigation systems for this type are flood irrigation and furrow irrigation . This type of irrigation is widely used  in rice production .


  • Low cost of deployment, energy and maintenance ;
  • It favors the increase of the photosynthesis in the lower leaves, due to the reflection of the light in the water;
  • The wind does not limit the irrigation;
  • It promotes the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen , as a result of favoring the growth of blue-green algae.


  • Standing water can harm plants, mainly by reducing the respiration of the roots;
  • Fairly dependent on soil slope;
  • Erosions frequent in the grooves;
  • Loss of water occurs due to percolation .

Localized Irrigation

In this type the water is applied in the area occupied by the roots of the plants, forming a wet circle or wet band . This technique is very used in the present day, being very applied in the production of fruit . The two basic systems in localized irrigation are micro sprinkler and drip irrigation .


  • Low cost of labor and energy ;
  • High application efficiency , as water is applied directly to the root, few losses by evaporation occur;
  • Efficiency and efficiency in the application of fertilizers , with fertigation ;
  • Great adaptation to different types of soil ;
  • Keeps the soil evenly moist and oxygen free.
  • Wind and slope do not limit irrigation;


  • High initial cost due to large quantity of pipes;
  • Very sensitive to clogging of water outlet holes;
  • Decreased root depth , due to the constant availability of water, this can decrease plant stability.

Sprinkler irrigation

This type simulates an artificial rain where a sprinkler expels water into the air, which by aerodynamic resistance turns into small droplets of water that fall on the soil and plants. Its main systems are the conventional, central pivot and self propelled.


  • Low labor cost ;
  • High application efficiency ;
  • Efficiency and efficiency in the application of fertilizers , with fertigation ;
  • Better control of the irrigation blade;


  • Increases disease development due to damp foliage;
  • High initial costs , energy and maintenance costs ;
  • Limited by wind and slope ;
  • It can cause damage to the soil , due to the drainage of water nearby.


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