The Effect of Irrigation

Agricultural plants need warm temperatures, sunlight, nutrients, and water to grow. In many regions of the world the required temperature and sunlight is available, but water is not. All plants have a minimum annual water requirement to survive and an optimum annual water requirement for maximum production. Historically, the availability of water has determined where crops can be grown. A high demand crop, such as rice, could not be grown in a region that has a low annual rainfall. In addition, whenever the water available to the plant is less than the optimum amount the production is reduced. The application of water through irrigation can provide the missing requirement for plant growth. The result of irrigation is that the area where some crops can be grown is expanded and the production of all crops is increased by supplementing rainfall.

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