Water is often the most limiting factor in crop yields. Missouri farmers usually face several weeks each summer in which crop water demand is high but rainfall is low. If irrigation is available, farmers can generate consistent yields despite a lack of precipitation.
The two most common irrigation methods farmers use to offset precipitation shortfalls are center pivots and furrows.
Center pivots are automated sprinkler irrigation systems that rotate to distribute water both precisely and uniformly. Generally, center pivots can apply a lower rate of irrigation water per application than a furrow irrigation system — making this system helpful in fields where the soil is prone to waterlogging because of poor internal drainage.
Furrow irrigation, which distributes water through shallow channels between crop rows, is a less expensive system to set up and maintain. Water infiltration is two-dimensional, seeping into the soil both vertically and horizontally without directly wetting the plant.
Learn more about various irrigation methods on this website.
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