Wanting to better understand Irrigation and how to best use Irrigation on your farm or property?

Farming often succeeds or fails according to the way water is managed. This course will give you the information that you need to irrigate successfully, including:

  • Understanding soil characteristics and problems
  • Understanding water and how it behaves in the environment
  • Types of irrigation systems
  • How to design and manage basic irrigation systems
  • Understanding how to make the best use of limited water supplies

Develop a foundation for more efficient management and use of water for irrigating plants

This course is valuable for any type of agriculture professional - general farmers, broad acre crops, agronomists, orchardists, market gardeners, irrigation equipment suppliers, consultants, etc.

  • Learn to design and manage irrigation systems on a farm.
  • A foundation course for farmers, land owners, students of agriculture and irrigation suppliers
  • Start any time of year, study from anywhere, and learn at your own pace.


There are 10 lessons as follows:

Lesson 1: Introduction to Irrigation

  • Objectives of Irrigation
  • Sources of water
  • Water quality and remedies
  • Sediment, turbidity, colour, hardness, corrosion, iron etc.
  • Bacteriological impurities

Lesson 2: Soil Characteristics and Problems

  • Understanding soils
  • Different Soils suit different purposes
  • Chemical aspects of soil
  • Physical aspects of soil
  • Soil and Water
  • Types of soil moisture
  • Transpiration and wilting point
  • Identifying the soil
  • Improving the soil
  • A fee-test for estimating soil moisture level
  • Fertilization

Lesson 3: Estimating Plant Needs and Irrigation Scheduling

  • When to irrigate
  • Signs to look for
  • Timing of irrigation
  • Measuring water available to plants
  • Calculating field capacity
  • Calculating Permanent wilting point
  • Soil water budget
  • Crop Water needs
  • Effect of climate on crop water needs
  • Measuring evapo-transpiration
  • Pan evaporation method
  • Theoretical method - Blaney-Criddle Method
  • Influence of crop type on water needs (crop factor)
  • Calculating crop water needs
  • Irrigation system efficiency
  • Water volumes and duration

Lesson 4: Drainage

  • Improving permeability during construction
  • Improving surface drainage after construction
  • Layout of drains
  • Dams and water storage
  • Soil degradation
  • Erosion
  • Soil acidification
  • Soil compaction
  • Chemical residues
  • Waste water treatment using reed beds
  • Suitable plants

Lesson 5: Types of Irrigation Systems

  • Categories of irrigation systems
  • Sub-surface and surface irrigation
  • Flood irrigation systems
  • Pressurised irrigation systems
  • Drip and sprinkler irrigation
  • Portable, solid and semi-permanent
  • Mechanised sprinkler irrigation systems
  • Travelling irrigators, Centre pivot, Linear move, Powered side roll
  • Fixed sprinkler systems
  • Hand move, hose move, permanent
  • Sprinkler heads
  • Mechanisms that drive rotating sprinkler heads
  • Design considerations

Lesson 6: Trickle Irrigation

  • DIY micro-irrigation
  • Length of watering
  • Automatic watering
  • Maintenance of watering systems
  • Micro-jet irrigation benefits
  • Use of chlorine

Lesson 7: Design Specifications of an irrigation system

  • Hydraulics
  • Pressure
  • Calculating discharge or flow
  • Friction loss in systems
  • Water hammer

Lesson 8: Pumps and Filters

  • Types of pumps
  • Comparisons of pumps
  • Pumps and pressure systems
  • Pumping mechanisms
  • Pump failure
  • Prevention of clogging - trickle irrigation
  • Controllers

Lesson 9: Selecting the Right System for a plant

  • Water saving measures
  • Filtration

Lesson 10: Design and Operation of Systems

  • Cyclic watering
  • Pulse watering
  • Sprinkler spacing
  • Electrical factors
  • Electric automatic systems


Duration:100 Hours (Nominal Duration)


  • Explain the significance of soil in irrigation.
  • Explain how to determine when to irrigate in agricultural situations.
  • Manage irrigation in agricultural situations.
  • Explain the significance of different aspects of moving water including: drainage, pumps, filters, storage, re circulation, and re-use.
  • Select an appropriate irrigation system for a given agricultural situation.
  • Explain the principles of design for a simple irrigation system.
  • Design a simple irrigation system.
  • Oversee the installation of an irrigation system.

Irrigation can be used to produce intentional outcomes in terms of crop production. Irrigation schemes may also have other less intentional outcomes.

Large-scale schemes may have an impact on human settlement patterns, causing local migrations of labour to or from irrigated areas with subsequent changes in the availability and cost of housing and services. Land prices may also be severely affected as land use patterns change. Impoundment of rivers and streams into dams and lakes can result in major environmental changes (such as changes to river characteristics and to flora and fauna populations) in areas both adjacent and far removed from those features.

Small scale, even down to individual garden size systems, can still cause far-reaching changes. For example, the base flow component (year-round flow) of many urban streams derives almost entirely from home irrigation of gardens. If this was to stop these streams would cease flowing for much of the year. In addition, much of the excess water from irrigation systems that flow to streams, rivers and lakes is high in chemicals leached out of gardens or other crop areas. These chemicals, particularly nitrogen and phosphorous from fertilisers and pesticides, can cause major changes in vegetation and animal populations in and adjacent to water bodies.

Water is essential to both plant and animal growth and is often the major limitation to productivity. Irrigation is now playing a more important role in agriculture than ever before. However, depending on: the climate, the value of the plants or animals, the value of the land and its suitability for irrigation, the cost, reliability and quality of the water supply, irrigation may or may not be possible or feasible. Irrigation may:

  • Enable plants (i.e. crops, pasture) to be grown in a dry climate where it would not otherwise be possible
  • Supplement the existing rainfall and improve growth rates by extending the growth period of the plant
  • Ensure there is adequate moisture during critical periods when the plant is growing most rapidly.
  • The value of irrigation can vary greatly from year to year depending on the distribution of rainfall during the growth season.



Just go to the top of this page for pricing and enrolment options. If you have any questions you can contact us now, by:
Phone (UK) 01384 44272, (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752, or

Email us at [email protected]