Updated Jul 13, 2019

Micro Furrows

Part of University of California, Davis

Short, flat furrows for water to infiltrate deeper into the soil with less loss.


Abraham Salomon

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Stage 4: Transition to Scale

This innovation has been tested at 3 sites in Uganda and can be scaled up to other sites.

Focus Areas:

Water Management and Agriculture Water Management

Water Management and Agriculture Water ManagementSEE LESS

Implemented In:



Country Implemented In
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Traditional furrow irrigation is limited in a number of ways. It is only suitable for very mild slopes, it often results in loss of water below the root zone, and it relies on very careful land leveling.



Micro furrows allow water to accumulate in the furrow and infiltrate at the natural rate of the soil. This means water can be applied at higher rates and reach deeper into the root zone. This allows farmer to water after longer intervals, and reduces irrigation labor.

Target Beneficiaries

Smallholder farmers

Mission and Vision

To ease labor and reduce water loss in small scale irrigation.

Innovation Description

Micro-furrows are very short furrows with flat, level bottoms that run along the contour of a slope, filled one at a time to allow water to infiltrate evenly across the length of the furrow. Unlike traditional furrow irrigation, micro-furrows can be set across a moderate slope. Each furrow can be filled by an open pipe, either from a pump or gravity system. Farmers identify the main and cross slope of the land, and mark out the first furrow to run along a contour. The bottom of this furrow is flattened using a rope tied to two equal height pegs at either end of the furrow, corrected by a spirit level. Water is poured into the furrow to show if there is still a slope remaining, and a final leveling is done. The next furrow follows the line of the first one, at a spacing of 60 - 100cm.

The Team Behind the Innovation

Kate Scow- Professor of Soil Science and Microbial Ecology in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California, Davis Helen Acuku- Program Manager, Teso Womens Development Initiative. Betty Ikalany - Executive Director, Teso Womens Development Initiative. Abraham Salomon - Project manager of 'Innovations in Dry Season Horticulture' in Uganda.



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