Irrigation

Business / Agriculture / Irrigation: Applying water (or wastewater) to land areas to supply the water (and sometimes nutrient) needs of plants. Techniques for irrigating include furrow irrigation, sprinkler irrigation, trickle (or drip) irrigation, and flooding. About 51 million acres of land are irrigated in the United States. More acres of corn are irrigated than any other crop, but only about 15% of the harvested acres. In contrast, irrigation is used for 100% of rice, 81% of orchards, 64% of vegetables, and 36% of cotton. About 40% of freshwater withdrawals in the nation are for irrigation, making agriculture the single largest user of water. Nearly 90% of all irrigation water withdrawals are in the western states, where in some areas competition for available supplies among uses, including base stream flow, has become controversial. Consumptive use as a percent of withdrawals is about 61% for irrigation.

Furrow Irrigation

Business / Agriculture / Furrow Irrigation: Small, shallow channels guide water across the surface of a leveled field. Crops are typically grown on a ridge or raised bed between the furrows. This is the major irrigation system that is based on MORE

Low-Flow Irrigation Systems

Business / Agriculture / Low-Flow Irrigation Systems: These systems (drip, trickle, and micro sprinklers) provide water in small volumes and generally provide water to plants with less waste than furrow irrigation. Drip and trickle systems apply water th MORE

Trickle Irrigation - Drip Irrigation

Business / Agriculture / Trickle Irrigation - Drip Irrigation: Method in which water drips to the soil from perforated tubes or emitters. This irrigation technology is water conserving compared to flooding, furrows, and sprinklers. MORE

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