Irrigation is used to apply water to the soil to maintain crop growth when rainfall is limited. Irrigation water must be applied correctly for proper yields and grade. Over irrigation can increase the risk of disease while under irrigation can increase the risk of aflatoxin contamination. Proper irrigation scheduling can be accomplished by manual or electronic sensors to check water content, sensors to monitor plant water status, or use of an irrigation scheduling program.
Water can be applied to the soil using overhead sprinkler systems (center pivot, lateral, hose tows, big guns, etc.), surface drip or subsurface drip irrigation. Whether using overhead sprinkler or subsurface drip, each system must be managed correctly for proper water application. Scheduling irrigations can promote high yield and grade for profitable economic returns.