Published by Jason White on 01st Jun 2021

How Irrigation Systems are used in Modern Farming

Agricultural irrigation is known as the artificial application of water to the soil through the use of various systems and sprays.

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Agricultural irrigation is known as the artificial application of water to the soil through the use of various systems and sprays. Typically utilised in areas where rainfall is irregular, the soil is dry, or on water sensitive crops such as salads, agricultural irrigation equipment is fast becoming an essential aspect of modern-day farming. Considering the importance of water in the agricultural industry, selecting the right irrigation equipment that can provide the field with effective water distribution is critical for crops.

Irrigation water can often come from groundwater via springs or boreholes, surface water, rivers, lakes, or reservoirs. As a result, it is essential for farmers to protect their agricultural water source and minimise the potential for contamination.

The History of Irrigation Systems

The oldest form of irrigation dates to at least 8,000 years, and the technique continues to be an essential part of effective agricultural practices around the world. The earliest known systems of irrigation first began in 6000 BC in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Multiple devices have since been invented to assist with irrigation throughout the centuries. One of the first devices used in Ancient Egypt was the Shaduf, which consisted of a large pole balanced on a crossbeam. With one bucket at one end and a counterweight at the other, farmers would often pull the rope to lower the bucket into a river and swing the pole around to empty onto the field.

How is Irrigation Equipment Used Today?

Irrigation systems have come a long way since their creation thousands of years ago and have continued to evolve throughout the years. Farmers can now expect to see the average modern
irrigation system having advanced with several types of systems in use around the world.

What Are The Types Of Modern Irrigation Systems?

There are several different types of irrigation systems, depending upon how the water is distributed across the field. Some of the most common types of systems available on the market


Surface Irrigation

Surface irrigation a process in which water is applied and distributed over the field surface by gravity. This is considered by far the most common form of irrigation throughout the world and has been practised in many areas, virtually unchanged for thousands of years. Now with modern sprinkler systems and automated reels, the process is quick and straightforward to set up and use. Surface irrigation could either flood a field fully (used for deep-rooted crops) or have systems in place which wash through the field and drain at the other end. This method allows farmers to control the amount of water added at a time and can only provide only specific amounts of water to certain crops.

Localised irrigation

Localised irrigation is a method of applying water, which results in wetting a small soil surface area. Water is applied towards the base of the plant so that the application is focused within the root zone. Generally applied at a low flow rate in small amounts, localised irrigation focuses on supplying the field with water on a frequent basis. Localised irrigation systems' main components include the water supply (which often involves flow and pressure regulators), the filtration system, main lines, and distributors. Application devised for this process mainly consists of small tubes, orifices, nozzles, or perforated pipes.

Drip irrigation

Drip irrigation is known as a type of micro-irrigation system which has the potential to save water and nutrients. This is done by allowing the water to drip slowly to the roots of crops, either from above the soil surface or buried below the surface. Drip irrigation aims to place the water directly into the root zone, which minimises evaporation. Water is often distributed through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters.


While agricultural irrigation methods have transpired throughout the years, the dire importance of irrigation for the farm remains vital.
At Ellis Machinery, we have helped farmers across the UK source the most appropriate equipment they require for over 25 years. It was a natural progression to introduce a range of agricultural irrigation systems, reels, and pumps designed to cover every modern farm requirement.
For more information on our irrigation equipment for the farm, contact the Ellis Machinery team, and we will be very happy to help.

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