Recommendations For Choosing The Right Irrigation System

Drip irrigation has typically been used in high-value fruit, nut, and vegetable crops. Recently, it has become popular in field crop applications, including corn/soybean rotations and alfalfa, cotton, and processing tomatoes. USDA’s recent Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey reported 3.76 million acres in the U.S. are under drip. This acreage is expected to be significantly higher in the 2013 report, which will be released this fall.

Drip is gaining in popularity because the systems are flexible and can accommodate diverse cropping and application demands. Systems consist of lateral pipes that emit water directly to the root zones of crops, and sub-main pipes that supply water to the laterals. For field and row crop applications, lateral and sub-main pipelines can be classified as seasonal or permanent. They are available in several configurations.

Pros And Cons Of Drip System Combinations
Lateral and sub-main components may be combined in different systems for various applications with relative pros and cons. When designing a drip system, factors to consider include crop germination and/or transplant setting, labor, system maintenance requirements, operational flexibility, initial cost, and annual operating cost.

Seasonal Laterals And Seasonal Sub-Mains
Pros: These systems are popular in crops like celery, onions, or strawberries. They may be used to germinate the crop, are portable, and have a low initial cost. Because they are expected to last only one season, they require moderate maintenance.

Cons: Labor is needed to move sub-mains and flush laterals. Plus, there are additional costs for lateral disposal and lateral replacement.

Permanent Laterals With Seasonal Sub-Mains
Pros:
Laterals can be used for years and yet the sub-mains are portable, making this system popular in processing tomato production. Initial system cost is higher compared to seasonal, portable laterals used on vegetable and strawberry crops since the permanent laterals need to be more robust. However, the submain costs are about the same since both are seasonal.

Cons: Lateral repairs are difficult, there may be a need for supplemental germination moisture, and there are heavier maintenance requirements as laterals are expected to last multiple seasons.

Permanent Laterals With Permanent Sub-Mains
Pros:
The advantages of systems with permanent laterals with permanent sub-mains (used for field crops) include multi-year use and amortization of both the laterals and sub-mains. Using permanent components also allows automated flushing and eliminates sub-main moving costs.

Cons: Drawbacks include difficult repairs, high maintenance requirements, the possible need for supplemental moisture for germination, and the need for winterization in cold climates. Initial costs are higher because the components must be durable for multiple-year use and the system must be trenched in.

Seasonal Laterals And Permanent Sub-Mains
Pros:
This combination is used in vegetable growing regions to avoid sub-main moving costs.

Cons: Sub-main repairs for these systems are more difficult, as is lateral replacement.

5 Components Of A Drip System

  1. Drip tape: a “line source” drip irrigation lateral product that incorporates a continuously produced flow path emission device into a thin- to medium-walled seamed or extruded tube.
  2. Flat emitter dripline: a “point-source” lateral product that incorporates injection-molded emitters into a thin- to medium-walled extruded tube.
  3. Oval hose: a sub-main pipe made from polyethylene that is flattened to an oval shape during production to simplify transportation.
  4. Layflat: a sub-main pipe made from flexible PVC that is coiled flat.
  5. PVC pipe: a rigid pipe available in various thicknesses and cut lengths.

Choosing The Right System 
Drip irrigation offers a number of benefits, but choosing the right system can be complex. Consult with reputable manufacturers and qualified dealers, for help determining the best combination of components for your specific conditions.

Source: Written by Inge Bisconer Technical Marketing & Sales Manager, Toro Micro-Irrigation. Inge.Bisconer@toro.com.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Fruits Stories
GrapesWildfires Raise Fears Of Grape Smoke Taint
September 3, 2015
 The current wildfires in Washington have left many growers wondering if smoke taint could impact the flavor of their winegrapes. Read More
FruitsOrganic Industry Unites To “Bust Myths” Throughout September
September 2, 2015
Organic Trade Association members join forces in social media blitz to address misconceptions about organic production. Read More
Apples & PearsHard Cider Organization Offers Accredited Program
September 1, 2015
United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM) introduces Sicera, the first-ever hard Cider Certification Program. This accreditation program is designed Read More
Apples & PearsProducts To Help Prevent Preharvest Drop In Apple Orchards
September 1, 2015
In the latest Extension bulletin from Penn State University, James Schupp associate professor of pomology suggests several products to apply Read More
Apples & PearsMarvin Sundquist Dies At 89
September 1, 2015
Marvin Sundquist, the retired owner of Sundquist Fruit and Cold Storage, died on Aug. 29 at the age of 89, Read More
Apples & PearsSyngenta Receives EPA Registration For Solatenol  Fungicide
September 1, 2015
The fungicide is available in four product offerings, pending state registrations. Read More
Apples & PearsPennsylvania Congressman Supports CIDER Act
August 31, 2015
Freshman Congressman Ryan Costello (PA-06) spent a recent afternoon at Frecon Farms in Boyertown, PA, to tout the CIDER Act, Read More
The Latest
FruitsBeaudry, Watkins, And Davenport Named Fellows Of Ameri…
September 3, 2015
Randolph Beaudry of Michigan State University (MSU), Joan Davenport of Washington State University (WSU), and Christopher Watkins of Cornell University Read More
FruitsOrganic Industry Unites To “Bust Myths” Thr…
September 2, 2015
Organic Trade Association members join forces in social media blitz to address misconceptions about organic production. Read More
Oriental Fruit fly
CitrusExotic Fruit Flies Invade South Florida
August 31, 2015
Efforts are under way to eradicate pest that attacks more than 230 different fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Read More
CitrusWhole-Farm Revenue Protection Insurance To Be Available…
August 31, 2015
USDA offers greater flexibility for beginning, organic and fruit and vegetable growers. Read More
drought management; irrigation; water management
CitrusClear Up Misconceptions About Water Use In Ag
August 31, 2015
Those in the industry need to to clear up misconceptions about water use in agriculture. Read More
FruitsNew Airless Tire For Center Pivots
August 31, 2015
Aperture design provides flexibility over ridges to help prevent overloading of the drive train. Read More
Fruits6 Tips To Avoid Postharvest Losses
August 31, 2015
Avoiding postharvest losses essentially comes down to knowing what techniques to employ, and what to evade throughout each link in Read More
CitrusFederal Judge Blocks Clean Water Rule
August 28, 2015
  According to RISE (Responsible Industry For A Sound Environment), a federal judge in North Dakota has blocked implementation of Read More
FruitsSustainable Options For Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Cont…
August 28, 2015
The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), unfortunately, is here to stay. Found in the U.S. in the late 1990s, this Read More
FruitsA Breakthrough In Biotechnology And The Future Of The F…
August 28, 2015
Researchers from California and Sweden have recently been honored for a discovery that could have big implications for the fruit Read More
FruitsWhat Makes A Flavorful Fruit?
August 28, 2015
These days, U.S. consumers are increasingly demanding good-tasting fruit and the industry is responding. However, there remains room for improvement Read More
FruitsMedfly Find Prompts Quarantine In Portion Of San Diego …
August 28, 2015
A portion of San Diego County has been placed under quarantine for the Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly) following the detection Read More
Golden Rice
CitrusAnti-GMO-Fueled Threats Force Reallocation Of Biotech E…
August 27, 2015
University of Florida officials say plans are to re-allocate a donation intended to improve the public’s understanding of science after Read More
money
CitrusMonsanto Drops Current Bid For Syngenta Acquisition
August 27, 2015
Even with a revised proposal that sweetened the pot to $46.2 billion, financial expectations still fall flat. Read More
FruitsDo You Have #FarmFans? If Not, You Should
August 26, 2015
Your guests are already live tweeting their experiences of visiting your farm. Why not turn this into a social experience to promote your business? Read More
Crop ProtectionOnline Help In Determining ID Of Small Parasitic Wasps
August 25, 2015
A web-based document helps users navigate to the correct genus or species of a wasp. Read More
FruitsTraining Session To Use Online Water Management Tool
August 25, 2015
Workshop to be held at the University of California will cover CropManage, an online tool that can be used to manage water in a variety of vegetable crops. Read More
Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg
CitrusCounting Down The Top U.S. Colleges For Natural Resourc…
August 25, 2015
STEM-fueled area of study presents wide field of opportunity for future grads. Read More