What to consider to carry out irrigation
Posted Wednesday, December 18 2013 at 13:17
Only a few places in Uganda have adequate rain throughout the year for successful crop production. In the majority of cases, farmers sometimes experience incidences of drought that destroy their crops unless they carry out irrigation.
Unfortunately, these incidences have become more frequent and are likely to be, as the years go by unless there is a quick solution to global warming.
Agriculture will depend more on the development and preservation of water resources by the farmers.
There are some important factors that the farmer has to bear in mind before carrying out irrigation.
1. The water should not be just poured over the plant before first considering how to make it quickly sink into the ground without running off and carrying away the soil.
2. A little grass spread around the stem of the crop will help divide up the water as it gets on to the soil surface and also hold the soil to prevent it from running off.
3. The frequency of irrigation should depend on the type of the soil where the garden is situated. Sandy soils have less capacity to retain moisture than clay soils so the farmer growing a crop like beans in sandy soil will irrigate more frequently.
4. When a farmer listens to another farmer who applies a litre of water on each coffee plantlet per week and the crop does well he or she need not blindly apply the same amount of water before considering what kind of soil the other farmer has in his or her garden. Some crops such as coffee or cotton tend to be deep-rooted and may require more water than shallow-rooted crops like cabbages or beans.
5. The stage of growth also matters with regard to how much water should be applied on a crop. The bigger it grows, the more water it needs.
Note that some crops like certain bean varieties cover the ground around their stem where their roots feed from the direct rays of the sun, which reduces the amount of water evaporating from the ground. These tend to have higher capacity to withstand drought although the more leaves they have, the more water they lose through what scientists call transpiration.
With these few steps, a farmer will know what to when he or she opts for irrigation.