Agriculture in Saudi Arabia – November 7th, 2008
In the image on the right, we have an agricultural area in northwestern Saudi Arabia, near the city of Tabuk. Upon expanding the image, we can clearly see the green and brown circular shapes of the fields in the center, contrasting with the surrounding red-orange desert sands.
According to Vaderstad Global, the circular shape of the fields is created by irrigation booms with a diameter of up to 500 metres. These booms apply irrigation water and circulate non-stop, resulting in circular fields of 50 to 100 ha that are constantly damp. The photograph shows similar circular fields in Qatar. As we can see from both the satellite image and the photograph, the boundary between the irrigated field and the desert is very sharp.
The growing season is relatively short, with drilling beginning in early December and the harvest occuring in May. The crops grown are mainly wheat, maize, lucerne and sorghum.
This region of Saudi Arabia experiences desertous continental weather with hot summers and mild winters. Temperatures in the summers are between 80-114°F (27-46°C). In winter they are between 39-64°F (4-18°C), with wide-spread frosts common with temperatures sometimes reaching into the low 20s °F (-6°C).
Rainfall in the Tabuk Area occurs from November to March and precipitation ranges between 2 – 6 inches ( 50 – 150 mm). Some snow is not uncommon every 3-4 years.