Though the agriculture department in Punjab started a campaign to motivate the farmers to adopt water- saving technologies at their farms quite a few years ago, yet, it seems, that the farmers have not shown any interest in the programme due to lack of sufficient knowledge about the method of sprinkler irrigation.
A farm expert demonstrating the sprinkler method of irrigation in Raunta village in Moga district.
After the department failed to inspire the farmers in the state about the sprinkler method, now it has decided to start a statewide campaign to motivate the progressive farmers for installing the system in their fields.
The system is very beneficial and it saves about 50% water in the cultivation of maize and the water pipes, used for sprinkling water in the fields, could be easily moved from one place to another by the farmers.
Agriculture experts say, "Under the sprinkler method of irrigation, water is sprayed into the air and allowed to fall on the ground surface somewhat resembling rainfall. The spray is developed by the flow of water under pressure through small orifices or nozzles. The pressure is usually obtained by pumping.
With careful selection of nozzle sizes, operating pressure and sprinkler spacing, the amount of ir rigation water required to refill the crop root zone can be applied nearly uniformly at the rate suiting the infiltration rate of soil."
Dr Jaswinder Singh Brar, manager of the Government Seed Farm of Raunta village in Moga district, who conducted the demonstration of a movable sprinkler to irrigate maize fields in the various villages of the district, said that it was the need of the hour to adopt new technologies for saving the natural resources for future generations.
Experts say that it takes almost an hour to irrigate one acre of land and then the sprinklers could be moved to the other locations for irrigation.
"As such, one could easily irrigate 5-6 acres of land in one day. However, the farmers should not unnecessarily waste water," they added.
According to information, a proposal was under the consideration of the state government to set up permanent demonstration plots for solar sprinkler irrigation system on the government seed farm at Raunta. Besides this, there was also a proposal to set up small dams in the 50-acre farm so that rain water could be harvested and then pumped out for the sprinkler ir rig ation system. This would save 100% underground water as well as power.
"The sprinkler system provides water to the plants as per the requirement and distributes it equally, which helps in saving water. It is most suitable for oilseeds, cereals, vegetable/horticulture crops, but can be used in all major crops grown in this region,” Brar said.
“It is suitable for irrigating crops where the plant population per unit area is very high and closer control of water application convenient for giving light and frequent irrigation and higher water application efficiency. It also increases the yield by 25% as well as saves the land as no bunds are required," said Brar.