10 components of an irrigation system

Whether you are using a well or surface water to irrigate, the components of an irrigation kit are often similar, if not identical. Michigan State University Extension outlines the primary components of a system.
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Water source
This could be a well, irrigation pond, irrigation ditch, river, etc.

Depending on location and volume/pressure requirements, this can vary.

Backflow prevention
This prevents any foreign material, fertilizer or contaminants from flowing back into the water source.

Pressure regulator
Depending on the type of emitters, the pressure that this device regulates to can vary widely. This not only reduces the pressure, but can work to keep pressure consistent.

There are varying types of filters, but all serve to remove particulates from the water that could plug emitters.

These are used to apply water-soluble fertilizers through the irrigation kit.

These vary, but are used to connect various different types of equipment and irrigation lines.

Distribution lines
These move water from the water source to the location of application.

Submain lines/headers
These water lines enter the field and distribute water to the emitters.

10 Emitters
Drip tape or overhead sprinklers apply the water to the crop.

Next Week: Choosing an irrigation system.

Source: Irrigation considerations for the small vegetable farm, Michigan State Extension.

(Farm and Dairy is featuring a series of “101” columns throughout the year to help young and beginning farmers master farm living. From finances to management to machinery repair and animal care, farmers do it all.)