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Logo of 2019 Adventist Agricultural Association Conference: True Success

Irrigation for the Market Gardener

Vic Snyder


  • January 18, 2019
    10:45 AM


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Whenever we look at the irrigation. First thing I ask people is OK what's your water source and that makes a big difference then how many acres you try to irrigate you try to determine in Limon a guess work and so you say OK surface water story staying. More and more people are going from storage tanks because they say I don't have water rights I'm on a truck the water in well OK you know how much water you really need and a lot of them haven't a clue. Water quality. What do we need to filter out. If we're doing drip or my career geisha and that's important what crop length are we talking and if it's 2 weeks probably you don't want to mess around with drip overhead might be better but if you're getting a season yeah. Begin traveler pros and cons puts a lot of water down fast and hard packed to the ground a lot of people hate it for that reason but it's more labor friendly linear pivot cost goes up but you can get a. Lighter application the problem there is when you figure out on most pivots the water moves around. At the end of that pivot the water's coming down as fast and hard as what it would in a big and traveler because you're trying to get a certain amount of water on a certain amount of time so. You've got to watch will lines the problem there I had somebody talking this morning from Daystar Academy they have we'll find that leak a lot. The thing to look at there. At the end of the slide show I have a few references for you to check out a lot of times if you're agreeing with a way alliance your drains will leak your gaskets will leak and sprinklers maybe get wore out and leak levelers may leak. A lot of times your utility district or your state will have a program here in Oregon it's called Energy Trust of Oregon. Paid for by your utility district and if they're not part of it then the utility district will. Also participate and give you money for gaskets upgrading systems so it's things to check out if you if your game a sprinkler is now you may look at the checking with a lot of the resources will cover at the end of the topic of helping them to fund your project. Hand lives same thing labor and less assaults at a lot of crops or solves that in the area and especially most of those are solid set in this area other areas there are tape micro sprinklers we're seeing a lot of that in the new plannings his lots and smaller crops like that to where they want to larger weather pattern drip to drip tape the. Lay of the land is probably the biggest thing on drip. Do you have slopes or the slopes too excessive to use it filtration wise what are we filtering out are we floating out. Sand algae love that depends scent media filter if you get light sand algae they're great they're heavy they're expensive to maintain take a lot of water to flush. Disk builder there's manual an automatic on those those are good for algae organics because they have a larger path that takes the stuff through and will cover all the topics screened same thing there is automatic and manual. How many of you know what soil water holding capacity is and I just not know what that is either Basically if you go to soil web survey they will allow you to map out your piece of ground you are trying to farm and you can tell how much water's going to be held in it's based on soil particle size so in one field you may have 4 different types of soil each 1 May hold a different amount rule of thumb is the average soil that I've worked with in this area about a point 2 inches per inch of water holding capacity and so your depth we figure about 18 inches so you calculate that you say OK that's how much water we have available once we get that depleted out then where are we. In the water holding bassis similar to taking a sponge and he soak in the bucket and you hold it up and let it drip till the water stops running out and what's left in that sponge is what the water holding capacity that soil is so when you start getting to the welding point that's where your plant roots can't extract any more water out of the soil and they start to wilt. So we like to replenish it before it gets that far agrement is a. Weather Station but on by most of your local. R.C.S. type people and by going to that you can tell what you eat the rate is each day. For the type of crap you're growing or a crop that you know is similar to what you're growing. I was just at a hazelnut meeting yesterday and. The research doesn't tell him how much water he's in that uses but fortunately with the people I've worked with that use soil moisture monitoring we figure out about a quarter inch a day about 7 inches a year is pretty close to what it takes and so that's a good resource for research. Web soil survey. That tells you your soil types that happens to be a picture of one of the fields that I have in grass right now now as you can see I've got 12 I think 3 different types of soil in that one field. And so each one reacts a little differently and that's what the map shows in actuality I probably got more because I have different spots that I can tell when I'm out there working the ground it doesn't behave the same as other spots but that's a good useful tool to outline things for you and there's the report that you can get by soil type tells you. Water capacity and based on what your crap uses that will tell you how much water is available and how soon you need to replenish and if you're working with drip irrigation you like to put it on daily what's used because if you go to the wilting point and have to put it back on lot of times if you're in sand your soil is going to want to channel down as fast as it can it's not going to stay in the soil profile like it should. Then you have to start what they call Pulse arrogating what means 5 minutes on 20 minutes off 5 minutes on 20 minutes off to try to push the water sideways in the soil to fill that Basti back up. Dry land farming. How many of you have tried vegetable gardening dryland farming one of the 1st customers that I had worked with. It's been 2530 years ago didn't know what irrigation was raised produce that hold Portland to the produce market never irrigated Tate is crops no problem that he went to irrigation or yield went up quality is about the same because one when you have healthy soil your water is not as big an issue and they've been organ States done quite a few trials on. Dry Land vegetable farming dry land farming means no supplemental water water so in other words you work the fields prevent compaction prove the tilt of that soil to where your ability to store water is enough to make the plant survive the season and give a decent yield my grandad always used to talk about. Got to mulch the soil got a mulch of soil and I didn't quite understand what he was talkin about but. When you work with soil. You can control your evaporation and capillary action and so all you have a a water stored in the soil that percolates up in capillary action. What he was dying about by mulch is back in the days of horses farming they would try to get a one inch powder mulch on top of the soil of fine soil particles that would break the capillary action so the ground would hold the water better for the season. And so that a lot of people have gotten away from that because if you used to been able to dump as much water as a can on ground and that helps out drip versus overhead the biggest thing there you gotta look at is which is better. Depends on the money you have you know what it takes start out some people start out with overhead and graduate to drip if you have if you use an overhead right now you may say OK that's working for me what can I do I'd like to go to drip because I think it would save me money I could put nutrients on it as we go. Look at the resources available to you to convert to drip go to the N.R.C. as web site for your area. Go to your SO and Water Conservation districts. See what might be available a lot of times they will cost share the whole project but you've got to get their permission before you start or they don't pay a dime overhead irrigation is great for cooling if you carry a lot of tanks somebody today from Texas Utah any place like that to where you have wind high temperatures overhead irrigation is not as good as it could be because you're trying to cool the air and evaporate in the water off before it ever gets to the ground. A lot of crops are susceptible to bacterial Blight with water applied from overhead we've had some guys with blueberries or irrigate overhead that are going to drip and others go the other way because they know we've got to cool a crop so you know a lot depends on the crop you trying to grow filtration wise. Probably the LAX is a sand media filter just because of the bill to filter more out but it's more costly. One thing most people fail to realize on this on a filter system is that the automatic ones need a back wash if you're following about what the crop requires through the filter system and it goes into backwash your pressure drops once you drop below about 35 P.S.-I your. Ability to flush that filter properly is not there and it can start causing some issues. Any time I use surface water I prefer to use sand media filter most times people can't afford it so we end up going with a. Flushing screen filter to do just about the same depending on what crops the biggest thing is algae with a screen filter is if you're if you have algae and it starts to hang in the screen time you get a pressure differential in the nozzles rotate around sometimes I'll trim that off and a piece that algae will float down the line so unless you are treating your drip you manned up plugging So one of the questions in Mother seminar people says what you thoughts on using greywater for irrigating you say OK what do you mean by grey water. Example say they can't be where I work I tend to pack my water because I don't want to drink it because I've talked to the guys in the water treatment plant and I says How good is the water you detect any and about aches or stuff like that in it oh yes we do so some to look at if you're looking for marketing a crop are you growing a healthy crop using some surface water. Are you because if you're getting antibiotics from people's tablets they flushed down the toilet or exposed that way and they're sucking that river water up and treating it they say yes it meets all state standards but they still detect different antibiotics and that is that really the best water you can irrigate your crop with the you can feel comfortable eating. Protecting drip system is all about filtration so if you have a good screen filter like the picture on the left that helps keep you from sucking up too much stuff you might have settling ponds or a pre-filled or before you go to another screen that helps. I've had systems where we put a man well they said it's been recondition don't pump any sand then they call me up says they are filters plugging the sand and I said that it said you didn't have a sand Well we thought we didn't either. And some of the that has to do with. If you're pumping from a well and you pump sand is that sand coming when you 1st fire up or is it pumping sand all the time if it's pumping sand just when you fire up you're drawing from that awkward for real strong in chances are what's happening there is you're you're over pumping the awkward 1st so if you were to slow the fill rate pipeline when you're starting up you can probably get as the F.T. drive that says OK we've got a landfill mode so we're going to slow that process of filling the line by putting a pressure sustaining valve on the backside of the filter that's going to help the filter so if it goes into backwash it's got the pressure needed to filter and you're going to improve your water quality in be able to manage your system better. Grip systems the last class somebody says Well tell me about these boat emitters well in the bottom corner is a boat a matter and it has a little diaphragm and it's got a little trash screen on top and that's what they call a boat a matter versus a cylindrical emitter what happens they help protect the line most everybody is going to bow to matter because it's more cost effective because they use the same matter for any size tubing they make so if they start out on tape 858-7821 inch the same matter on the drip tubing same thing anywhere from the 15 millimeter all the way up to the 22 millimeter you use the same one so they don't need to stock so many parts to. Put a system together your biggest friend. On a drip system is monitoring the health and the easiest way to monitor health is when you 1st put that system in if you have a water meter good pressure gauges good filtration and you take a reading on the each zone you irrigate you can say OK we know that we're taking 100 gallons a minute 2 months from now we take a reading or we're taking 110 gallons a minute. OK What's happening is you have a leak in the system somewhere that you need to go out and track or are you worrying orifices bigger so it's taking more water so a water meter is probably one of your best defenses for starting to check out. And then making sure you're flushing your laterals because if your water quantity starting to drop a C. if you're down to 75 gallons a minute instead of 100 you're plugging emission devices so then you say OK what do we do we need to flush the mainlines inject cleaners and Noles a lot of your again make me say oh you can't use this can't use that then that's an issue that you've got to find out what kind of a. Chemical can we put in there to help clean the emission devices that still approved by a lot of the organic people so when you look at an emission device versus a micro sprinkler the orifice size is a whole lot bigger on a micro sprinkler so if you have bad water look toward the. Larger hole if you can but if it's do the crappy brazenness that's not possible then you just got to manage with filtration to try to get the water quality to where you need it so filters. We've sort of halfway covered that. They will fail. As one farmer that he's using a screen filter. Calls me up says I got a problem I see what's problem he says might my filters come apart said OK I'll come out so I went out there and it's a stainless steel outer shell with a fine mesh screen bonded to the inside and it has little sweeper nozzles that rotate around to clean the screen off when it goes through a backwash. Somehow and we don't know how he got to rocks in that filter he says was here in a clunk annoyed when I was running didn't bother to take anything a part in it ended up taking 4 holes in the screen and so he has spent about 1000 bucks to get a new screen and so that he says well we'll just try to work that out in the future so how fine a screen do you really need all depends on what you're. Working on and mission Micron. Mesh the number is a number goes up the screen size gets smaller because it's the number of wires per inch Micron on the other hand as the number goes down the particle size has to be finer to get through so you can go down to one micron. And that's what water treatment uses a lot of times how much T.S.S. total suspended solids which might be Clay particles fired up sand media systems in the springtime where the ponds are been. Murky and the water coming out going to the lines is murky which tells me when they shut down and that sets that sediments going to settle out and so. Fortunately on that system they do double filtration they filter at the pump site in the field or in the field at the zone that way just in case they break a main line and they put a riparian if they don't get all the pieces out. That secondary field is going to catch it before it gets in the drip system that T.D.'s total dissolved solids that's a number that is somewhat relevant because the higher the number the more issues you may have trying to filter it out and it's a matter figuring out what are those. Solids that are dissolved. So basically at the bottom one on the left we have the sand separator. Those are troublesome with the new V.F.P. drives because as you slow a pump down your speed going in a slope and so you're not getting the center of goal action to spin the the particles out to drop into the bottom can. Then media filter. If your pressure differential isn't right you can start getting some packing and build up and I've had some issues on some of those east of the mountains. Top ones a disc builder great for taking organic stuff out very bad for taking sand out because if you take part and pieces of sand get in there you start getting bigger. Filtration area than what you want bottom of the screen prone to plugging. So basically what are you looking for in a filter it's a matter of how much money do you have to spend we can get the water as clean as you want it depends on how much you want to spend and so a lot of times you say OK what's the best system that we can put and to do the job without a lot of trouble. Mostly sand media filter and the bottom they've got at the upper right you'll see these little wedge wire is what they call it that help filter out the particles from getting through and then when you go through a back warship fluffs a bad back up. 100 screen filter of sorts closer look at your desk you can see the torturous path that has to go through it's a wide area so if you're working with al G.'s there are a lot less apt to get driven through like they would on a screen on the other side they're filter cake that's when you allow that sand media filter to absorb too many solids. And when you. If you absorb enough it's any if you don't have the right pressure and water available to backwash you'll have what they call caking and it's not going to filter Well it's going to start to channel and the cause lots of issues and so sometimes you'll even have to open up the inspection port and get in there with a shovel or a can and break that top surface up and do several backslashes to get it going so there is a rough internals of a send me to filter on the left is one it's in operation the water comes from the top goes down throughout the field when it goes into backwash you need enough water to lift that bad to purge the particles out that would be caking the top of it we went through most of the sand media portion there on a new filter media if you look at it he told me at a point here somewhere they've got us either a motor or a screw that works to turn nozzles and those novels will rotate and clean the inside of that screen the one I sell quite a bit of is an old infielder made out of California 15 seconds for recycle and takes about 15 gallons at most on a big builder's small filter maybe only 5 gallons and so so if you're limited in water that's. And it will work that's a good one to look at. Far as putting tape in most people say do we lay it on top or day injected in the ground. If it's a short term crop laying on top might be OK if you don't have rodents insects or stuff growing on top the ground otherwise you're better off if you're inject at least in the end Jan California a lot of times they'll be injecting it 12 inches down that way then farm over the top and have everything laid in with G.P.S. so when they farm they they know where where they run their tractors and where they can't so that way they're not packing on top of where the tape is laid. That's a go for damage on that we had it to where we have seen insect damage on an. Nursery They fumigated the ground to kill everything planted trees and put tape in the next March when they went to irrigate they had lakes and get looking at it and you see these little rough jagged edges in the center not on the edge gophers usually will eat off the edge insects will actually dig out the middle of the tape. So you just gotta watch what you have in the soil realize it tapers than if you have a big pressure on and sacks. Have your mill works gophers it don't matter how thick they're going to eat it. How many of you are familiar with the way water works in soil on the far left before irrigation where you tubing is there's a little bit of moisture you put some irrigation on and it starts to want to drop down if you shut off it starts to spread sideways and if the more sand you have in your soil the harder it is to push that water sideways and that's where pulse irrigation comes in a lot more. Water meters your friendly device. It's going to be monitoring the health of your field so some places it's required by the water resources to keep track how much water you're taking out of the soil or out of the ground or streams injection how many of you like to inject stuff into your drip which method do you like best any response the top one is an L M I the bottom ones of Stan or the Stan are basically it's looks like a peach of surgical tubing that a roller runs around and it gives you a positive placement the top ones more of a pump that actually pumps based on flow into the system. Either one works fine there's some applications where guys want to put more on than either of those 2 will then you have to look for a regular pump that's going to overcome the pressure in the mainline to pump in the quantity that you need to pump in so when you look at it whenever you start working with the. Injecting make sure you get a backflow device of some sort they make him a geisha about backflow devices. Need a vacuum breaker somewhere so you get a spot to suck air so you not suck in backwards on the system check valves on your chemical so that when one thing's shut off you're not going to have water flowing back into your tank and overflowing at pressure reducing valves. Happens to be a mozzies style siphon Earvin Terry style injector. Least expensive way to get started a lot of people work with them they find them very well. But like I say what I've started in experience is people want to inject more and more stuff and as time goes on OK resources to consider. In R.C.S. well water energy trust local P U D. Are all sources that can help with caution there you just gotta see what's available I was talking with an N.R. C.S. rep yesterday and he said that if you go to the N.R.C. ass and do your state they have a tool that will show you what's available for your area if you have to be in a critical groundwater area they may. Switch to drip irrigation or improvements on the system to stop leaks or whatever so. Don't rule out any source keep looking there's always people willing to give you money if you know where to look I know an R.C.S. there for a while was a pain a good portion of the cost of the high tunnel if you're willing to put one in in this area so you grow a longer season so there's a map that was talking about the R.C.S. idea started to one of Oregon if you were to click on a those shaded areas they would tell you what programs are available in those areas so if you find your state and go to it you can see what's available in your area I don't know if ain't many you get into greenhouses but the Toro evolution timer is probably one of the best because it does have a misting feature another words you can have so many seconds on and 5 minutes off and have it go in a loop and if you're from a warm climate it's one that you can have it do what you have to start like 6 in the morning and have one schedule till noon and then switched different schedule for the afternoon shut off the night so it makes it very easy to when you're trying to propagate something in a hotter climate to where you can have that moisture content keep where it is and they're fairly easy to program. And I think. We've sold those for 4 years now and we've had 2 that we've returned one to be reprogram array flashed in and one was broken when we got it because there's a part rattling so not much problem with those if you get in does designing Toral. You can go online to their website they have a tool to where you can get there and start plugging in tape blanks elevations run lengths and give you a chart like the one they're in the middle and basically what that tells you is what you uniformity is I don't like to see more than maybe 2 colors maximum I was working on one earlier this week where I had 7 different colors. Hillside for drip and it wasn't going to work well at all and they also have another one where you can calculate. Some of the other stuff. Resources on the Internet are great now days so if you don't have an irrigation dealer close by that can do it for you all you have to do is look online and you can load times get the resources you need OK the sprinklers there's more and more people trying to get into that market and what's the best out there I guess what I'd have to say there is look at the crap you're trying to grow. Look at your weather conditions the you're looking at I know you're from Utah. With the wind blowing and with. If you're trying to shoot a fine droplets through the air you're going to probably lose at least 50 percent through evaporation and blowing off target so in an application like that I'd say OK let's look for one that produces a little coarser droplet but not too coarse that would get most of the water to the ground without much about peroration and a lot of times in the high wind areas look at low angle sprinkler so that we're not travelling through the air quite as much and that helps also and rotaries some of them are designed like Nelson irrigation they make their rotaries design to shoot father in wind areas without distorting the pattern as much as what's on the impacts would do it any place where you're throwing water. You're especially can yards you try to go head to head coverage just to get a uniform application when you go to the field irrigation. You assume that the outer 3rd. Of your irrigated weather with is not irrigated fully so you need to make sure that other sprinkler from the next set covers that 3rd and so that's why a lot of times. Depend on the location you're at We've seen anywhere from $40.00 to $60.00 foot between sets and what we find is the ones that have the 40 foot sets usually have a better job of coverage you get to the dry areas your pipe are usually only 30 feet long stead of 40 feet long so that helps too so it is a matter of trying to get head to head coverage or in like you with a head to head if you have wind blowing chances are you're not blowing so far off target if you do a name and zones that it's going to affect your crop. In R.C.S. if you go to the N.R.C. as national Web site then the map when you click on that it shows the whole USA and then you click on your state and then over bring it to the map that I just showed you that was OK The question was When you're working with a stream that has algae. And you have a filter that tends to plug a lot is there for a small farmers or a cost effective way to improve your filtration without breaking the bank the answer there is yes sort of. I know that while I am at river it has an algae bloom usually in May June and it will turn things green quickly we've got a lot of nurseries that run recycled water that have issues with plugging what we've done for some of them is we'll take that small filter and maybe put 3 a mineral in a row in a manifold with Valve ing so that you can shut off one end services while you're still running with the others and then put that back in line go through all all 3 of them and you'll get maybe 3 times the run length in what would also happening is fact you've slowed the velocity down across the screen so you're not trying to drive the stuff through the screen so it will work better and longer for you. It's pans on what you have available and what you can afford you know if your main concern is just the algae if you have no sand particles then I would say the screen fill this photo would be better if you have any say and what happens is when you go to watch that filter out if any sand particle gets caught between the high spots of the desk when you clamp it back together you've increased the width of the your filter and so you can plug quicker so if you just filter an algae out it works fine with a disco to you could stack that this filters up. Thing you get a look at a screen filter vs disk filter screen filter usually put the water inside and force it out on a distilled or you're taking water from the outside forces at the center and out and so. If you switch you know I come yeah they make both using the same housing so the only difference is the direction of flow of the hooked up the boat emitters I'm talking about are ones that are bonded inside the tubing so it's not ones that you are going to be poking in yourself it's a good question I get a pivot to get it alfalfa field what's the best sprinkler What's the best high. Question for you what location OK got a lot of wind OK when you look at the areas what sprinkler works the best they're starting to do more and more. I don't know if you're familiar with LIPA hoses basically drag the hose on the ground and let the water out. And that is one thing that some people are trying they know they've tried it in corn it works somewhat but not as good as they thought it would the idea is trying to get the water to the ground without flying through the air and to keep above the crop and so you sit there and go OK with alfalfa you're probably not yet in over 2 foot high so the lower you can get that sprinkler then you've got to watch your spacing because if you're getting closer to the ground you don't have the distance to arch that before it hits the ground so you have to look at a little bit of the sprinkler design to see which one works the best for the high you are above the ground when I went when I used to sell pivots I always viewed the wobblers as a wore out rotator. But but that was it was my opinion. But most all of them have have wobblers the biggest thing you get a look at is your infiltration rate on a pivot or linear is because the fact on a pivot you outside is moving so fast compared the inside. How far can I spread that water out so that I'm not hit in one spot so much at once because if you're damp dump in that inch or 2 water on all at once is that ground going to be able to soak it in properly and so the further out you put it in whether you use boom back forward backward or the machine to get those sprinklers spread out in a father pattern that makes a difference also I believe in some sample you know and in the wobbler. I think Nelson has one now. The I was in there was no I was a senator. But all the makers of sprinklers try to come up with something that's going to keep the droplet size fairly big so doesn't evaporate before it hits the ground but you want to spread out wide enough that you get more surface area covered with that pattern to allow that water to smoke in on target this medium was brought to you by audio perhaps a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio version or if you would like to listen to more sermon leave the W.W.W. audio verse or.


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