Sprinkler irrigation technology has been widely adopted to cultivate field crops in large plantation as they have greatly reduced water usage per acre of land and lowered labor and fertigation costs. It is best suited for most field crops that are grown closely together such as cereals, pulses and grains. Field crops accounted for the largest market share in terms of application of micro irrigation systems in various crop types in the US.
Drip irrigation systems have witnessed limited adoption in large fields and field crops due to its higher installation cost and inability to efficiently water field crops which are grown in very less spacing between individual plants. However, the system has been adopted by the farmers to irrigate small fields especially in farms growing oilseeds such as sunflower, oil palm and others.
High initial capital investment in installing a micro irrigation system has been a major resistance in the growth of micro irrigation industry in the US. The federal government assisted a large number of agriculture producers with better irrigation practices including micro irrigation by providing them financial assistance, and technical assistance.
The micro irrigation industry in the US grew rapidly during 2010-2015 owing to superior efficiency of the systems in water usage and crop yields, easy implementation of fertigation and chemigation, lesser labor requirements and minimized fertilizer / nutrient loss. Several beneficial attributes of micro irrigation systems coupled with water scarcity and drought situations in many states are likely to catalyze the growth of the micro irrigation industry in the near future.
Sprinkler irrigation systems have had a dominant market share as compared to drip irrigation systems in the US and are expected to continue to account for a larger market share in the forecasted period between 2016 and 2020 as well. This is primarily due to the potential of sprinkler systems to effectively irrigate large farmlands in the country.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications