Irrigation Management (Agricultural)

Learn to manage irrigation on a farm for better efficiency, productivity and sustainability. Experienced and qualified professional tutors.

Course Code: BAG303
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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FARMS CAN DO A LOT WITH LIMITED WATER

                     .... when they know how to use it properly

There should be plenty of water for everyone..., however three controlling factors: very unequal distribution, rapidly rising demand and increasing pollution around urban and industrial areas means that some areas of the planet are already using water at a greater rate than it is being replenished. This includes parts of Western Australia, and parts of NSW and Victoria. Water management will become increasingly important to try and cater for the increasing demand for usable water.

The aim of irrigation management is to reuse water as much as possible, to collect and store as much water as possible, and to ensure that what water you do use is used in an efficient manner. This course builds on Irrigation BAG213. It teaches you to manage the design and operation of large scale irrigation systems.

Prerequisites: Irrigation (Agriculture) BAG213 or equivalent (BHT 210 or BHT304) must be completed prior to commencing this course.


Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Water Management
    • Human water relationship
    • Water and plant growth
    • Xeriscaping
    • Types of water wastage
    • Waste water treatments using reed beds
    • Suitable plants
  2. Irrigation Scheduling
    • Considering climate factors for irrigation scheduling
    • Microclimate
    • Equipment used for monitoring water
    • Measuring water usage
    • Measuring soil moisture
  3. Drainage
    • Types of drains
    • Layout of drains
    • Improving permeability during construction
    • Improving surface drainage after construction
    • Contingencies to deal with flood
  4. Irrigation Controllers
    • Operating Irrigation Controllers
    • Types of controllers
    • Water volume and duration
    • Pumps and pressure systems
    • Pimping mechanism
  5. Irrigation Maintenance
    • Maintaining watering system
    • Maintenance procedure and scheduling
    • Maintaining trickle irrigation
    • Problems of water quality and their remedies
    • Improving water quality from any source
  6. Fertigation
    • Advantages and disadvantages of fertigation
    • Fertigation types
    • Fertiliser injectors
    • Application of fertiliser
    • Plant nursey fertiliser injection techniques
  7. Design Evaluation
    • Evaluating irrigation designs
    • Surface/flood irrigation
    • Sprinkler irrigation
    • Trickle irrigation
    • Microjet irrigation
  8. Irrigation Design
    • Pre planning information for irrigation design
    • Type of systems
    • Underground pipes
    • Drainage

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Devise ways to optimise water efficiency (ie. minimise wastage), during irrigation of plants.
  • Schedule irrigation for a large scale situation such as a large nursery, crop, turf, garden or pasture.
  • Analyse the design of different drainage systems
  • Formulate procedures to operate irrigation controllers, for appropriate tasks.
  • Manage the maintenance of irrigation systems, both small and large scale.
  • Manage the fertigation of plants through an irrigation system.
  • Evaluate the design of large scale irrigation systems.
  • Design an irrigation system, including its drainage.

What You Will Do

  • Explain different factors which cause water to be wasted including:
    • Evaporation
    • Run off
    • Over spray
    • Scheduling
  • Determine where water is wasted, in both the operation and management of a specified irrigation system
  • Determine changes to achieve more efficient water usage, in a specified system.
  • Develop guidelines for determining when to irrigate in a particular situation.
  • Determine through an analysis, when to irrigate on a studied site, by evaluating soil moisture and other characteristics of a site, periodically over two months, and referencing annual rainfall statistics over a period of years.
  • Record in a log book, plant growth and soil moisture for an existing irrigation system operated using two different watering patterns, each for one month, and over two consecutive months.
  • Compare differences in varying the scheduling of a watering system over two months
  • Prepare an irrigation schedule for a specific garden or crop.
  • Develop criteria for designing a specified drainage system.
  • Explain the design criteria for a specified drainage requirement.
  • Devise strategies for dealing with drainage requirements in emergencies, including:
    • extreme weather (eg. hail, storm)
    • burst pipe
    • blocked drains
  • Determine appropriate drainage requirements for a specified situation, and over a specified area, including:
    • Type of drainage required
    • Specifications of drainage required
  • Evaluate the operation of a drainage system, installed under irrigation on a site studied by the learner.
  • Compare four different irrigation controllers with reference to different criteria including:
    • Labour costs
    • Maintenance
    • Reliability
  • Determine appropriate applications for four different types of irrigation controllers
  • Explain the operation of a specific brand of time clock, studied by the learner.
  • Explain the operation of a specified computerised irrigation controller.
  • Develop three different procedures to operate a specific irrigation controller, in order to satisfy three different specified purposes.
  • Determine routine site maintenance requirements for different types of irrigation systems including:
    • spray irrigation
    • micro irrigation
    • surface irrigation
    • flood irrigation
  • Explain routine site maintenance requirements for different types of irrigation systems including:
    • spray irrigation
    • micro irrigation
    • surface irrigation
    • flood irrigation
  • Develop a procedure for maintaining water quality, in a specified irrigation system, at a workplace visited by the learner.
  • Explain water quality maintenance activities required for efficient irrigation practices in a specific situation.
  • Compare the service supplied by different irrigation suppliers, in terms of scope and quality.
  • Develop an irrigation monitoring program, for a specific irrigation system, studied by the learner.
  • Write a maintenance schedule for a specified irrigation system.
  • Explain the use of fertigation, in a specific horticultural workplace.
  • Determine appropriate applications for fertigation in one specific industry sector.
  • Determine inappropriate fertigation applications in different specific industry sector.
  • Explain why certain applications for fertigation are inappropriate.
  • Compare the suitability of six different specified fertilisers for fertigation.
  • Determine resources required to undertake fertigation in a specified situation, including:
    • equipment
    • materials
    • manpower
  • Collate available data on a specified irrigation system, including:
    • system performance data
    • water supply
    • water consumption
    • crop production or plant growth data
    • climatic trends
    • soil characteristics
    • monitor irrigation performance
  • Analyse collated data against different criteria including:
    • benchmarks
    • specifications
    • predictions
  • Compile a comprehensive report evaluating a system, which includes:
    • data evaluation
    • performance indicators
    • conclusions
    • recommendations
  • Prepare design specifications for storage and distribution of water.
  • Explain appropriate methods for recycling, re-use or disposal of water, for three different specified irrigation systems.
  • Are there any legal or health considerations?
  • Design a drainage system for a specified irrigation system, including:
    • Sketch plans
    • Materials lists
    • Cost estimates
  • Determine costing for a specified drainage system.
  • Prepare a report recommending design modifications to an existing irrigation system in a specified situation.
  • Prepare a design for a micro irrigation system for an area of forty square metres, to a standard which is adequate for a contractor to install the system; and including:
    • Plans
    • Calculations
    • Materials specifications

WHY IS WATER SO IMPORTANT?

Without water; plants cannot survive; and without plants, animals will not survive.
Water is a major component of all plant growth. In succulent, leafy plant material the water content may be as high as 85 - 95%. Of all materials taken in by a plant water is absorbed in the largest quantities. Generally less than 5% of the water taken in by the plant is used within the plant. In some cases the amount used is as little as 1%. The water remaining in the plant is used mainly in the cell tissue which are 75 - 90% water, as a carrier of foods and growth regulators from the leaves via the transport system (vascular system), and in very small quantities as part of the photosynthetic process.

 

The remaining 95% or more acts as a carrier of nutrients. Once it has carried these nutrients up through the plant, it becomes surplus and is disposed of to the atmosphere through the leaf stomata (leaf pores). This loss of water also helps to keep the leaf canopy cool reducing the likelihood of leaf burning or desiccation. This upward movement of water from the roots through the stems via the vascular system to the leaves is sometimes known as the transpiration stream.

 

Transpiration is the principal method of water movement into and through the plant. This is a physical process powered by the evaporation of water as a vapour into the atmosphere from the plant leaf. This water is lost from the outer surface of the leaf mesophyll cells (the spongy interior of the leaf). As the water is lost the cells become dehydrated. This creates a potential difference between the dry mesophyll cells and adjacent moist ones. Because of waters strong cohesive property (strong resistance of water molecules to be pulled apart) water from the adjacent moist cells diffuses through the cell walls into the dehydrated cells thereby relieving the pressure differential. The continued loss of water molecules from the leaves by evaporation creates a continual flow of water throughout the plant. This results in the pulling of replacement water from the soil via the roots and up the plant stem into the leaf.

 

Evaporation from the crown of the plant is roughly proportional to the size of the crown. Wind is the major cause of evaporation as it removes the moisture laden air around the leaves creating a strong gradient between the moisture laden leaf and the drier atmosphere surrounding the leaf. Increasing temperature will also increase the rate of evaporation. During winter transpiration is generally small, however in spring and early summer the amount of water transpired can be very large. If the availability of soil moisture is high and other conditions (e.g. light) are favourable the transpiration will be high. If either water supply is limited or other conditions are not favourable then transpiration will be greatly reduced. On a sunny spring day, mature trees can use 250 or more litres of water a day. One hectare of forest in a medium rainfall area may use the equivalent of 1000mm of rainfall per year. In high rainfall areas, such as tropical rain forests, over 2500mm per year may be transpired. In low rainfall areas the figure may be only 250mm per year (500mm of rain per hectare is equivalent to about 5 million litres). "


HOW CAN THIS COURSE BENEFIT YOU?


For any farm to be sustainable water resources must remain sustainable too. Learning to manage water resources is one of the most important aspects of farming today. Water allocations are often limited and finding the best practices to use water wisely and efficiently - is now fundamental to successful farming.

This course will benefit:

  • Farmers
  • Irrigation managers
  • Irrigation consultants
  • Irrigation equipment suppliers

 

ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.

Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

ACS is a Preferred Member Training Provider with the Australian Institute of Horticulture. ACS students meeting AIH criteria can join AIH as a Category 2 student member.

ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.

UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112


How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

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What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

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Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Yvonne Sharpe

RHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt. Over 30 years experience in business, education, management and horticulture. Former department head at a UK government vocational college. Yvonne has traveled widely within and beyond Europe, and has

Martin Powdrill

25 years working in Telecommunications, IT, Organisational Development, and Energy Conservation & Efficiency, prior to setting up his own Permaculture consulting business. Martin has a Bsc (Hons) Applied Science (Resources Option), MSc Computer Studies, P

Marius Erasmus

Subsequent to completing a BSc (Agric) degree in animal science, Marius completed an honours degree in wildlife management, and a masters degree in production animal physiology. Following the Masters degree, he has worked for 9 years in the UK, and South

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