Zimmatic Blog

How to Choose the Right Irrigation System for Your Operation

Jun 27, 2022

How to Choose the Right Irrigation System for Your Operation

There is no one-size-fits-all irrigation system. The right solution for your operation will depend on multiple factors that relate to your unique location, crops, budget and more. Because of this, the selection process can be challenging.

We’re here to help you choose the right irrigation system to boost productivity, profitability and irrigation efficiency.

Let’s take a look at the different kinds of irrigation systems that are available today to find the solution that best fits your needs.

Types of irrigation systems

Center pivot irrigation

Center pivot irrigation systems are a leading method of crop irrigation around the world thanks to their efficiency, cost savings, reliability and precision. With this method, equipment rotates around a pivot point and crops are watered with sprinklers.
• Best for fields larger than 65 acres (small-field options are also available)
• Low cost per acre
• No filtration required
• 20+ year lifespan

Here are a few questions to consider when installing a center pivot system.

Lateral-move systems

These systems provide precision, reduce variability and require less labor than drip or flood irrigation systems. A wheeled mechanism moves irrigation towers laterally from one end of the field to the other for maximum coverage with a uniform watering pattern.

  • Best for small and rectangular fields (standard lateral) or irregularly shaped fields (pivoting lateral)
  • Multiple options for greater flexibility to fit your needs
  • Can deliver up to 98% coverage

Mobile pivots

Mobile pivots allow you to irrigate more land with less equipment. These systems are mounted on wheels and can be used across several fields to spread out your irrigation investment.

  • Best for fields with irregular boundaries
  • Greater flexibility in terms of mobility and placement
  • Maximizes available ground

Flood irrigation

Flood irrigation works by essentially flooding one area and allowing the water to flow to other areas or fields using small trenches that run through the crops.

Drip irrigation

Effective drip irrigation requires precise installation of irrigation lines under your fields that feed directly into the root systems of your plants, gradually dripping water into them. See how drip and flood irrigation stack up against center pivot irrigation.

  • Best for vineyards, orchards and small vegetable fields
  • Higher cost per acre and level of maintenance
  • Typically lasts less than 10 years

Other systems

  • High-speed pivot system – Delivers speed for quick irrigation cycles, which can benefit crops like carrots, onions, potatoes and pasture.
  • Expanded acreage solutions – Adds flexibility to existing center pivot and/or lateral-move irrigation systems to increase yields and maximize your land.

Factors to consider when selecting your irrigation system

The right system for your operation will depend on these details and more. Make sure to gather this information before you begin speaking with dealers.

  • How big is your field?
  • What shape is your field? Do you have irregular boundaries?
  • What type of soil do you have?
  • What are the characteristics of your terrain?
  • What types of crops do you grow?
  • How important is precision for your crop type?
  • What is your water source?

If you find yourself in the market for a center pivot or lateral-move irrigation system, look no further than Zimmatic. Our industry-leading systems provide strength, durability and precision performance you can count on for decades. To learn more about how Zimmatic can benefit your operation, contact your local Zimmatic dealer today.