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. [email protected].

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Fruits Stories
Agritainment
Citrus
August 15, 2017
New Conference to Shine Spotlight on Central Florida Agritourism
Education and interaction part of UF/IFAS-led agenda. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
August 14, 2017
Biocontrols: The South African Fruit Growers’ Perspective
While insect and disease pressure differs from U.S., South African fruit growers say education and slow transitions make for successful integration of biological products. Read More
Fruits
August 14, 2017
Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Expands Again
Pennsylvania receives $3 million from USDA for outreach efforts, control measures for this invasive pest. Read More
Crop Protection
August 11, 2017
Do Fungicide- and Insecticide-Treated Seeds Boost Weeds?
The University of New Hampshire has received half a million dollars to investigate if seed treatments inadvertently protect weed seeds from its usual predators. Read More
Citrus
August 11, 2017
Field Scouting Guide: Common Lambsquarters
Take a look at these tips for identifying and treating this pervasive weed. Read More
Farm Management
August 10, 2017
Climate Change Drives New Healthy Soils Program
California offers farmers grants to improve soil health; new program is funded by cap-and-trade auction revenue. Read More
Jose Dubeux and Mack Glass talk farming in a Florida forage field
Citrus
August 9, 2017
Florida Farming and University Extension Grow Hand in Hand [Opinion]
Learning is a two-way street to success in the field and the lab. Read More
Apples & Pears
August 9, 2017
2017 Washington Apple Crop Down Slightly
Forecasted harvest predicted to be 131 million boxes, down 1.2% from 2016. Read More
Citrus
August 9, 2017
Traceability Products to Help You Track Produce
One way to ease the process of a food safety recall is by having detailed records of where each crop has been and who has touched it. Look over these traceability products using the latest technology to help you stay on top of your records. Read More
Flooded farm field in Florida
Citrus
August 8, 2017
Drought-Busted Sunshine State Still on the Dry Side
Despite prolific periods of precipitation, parts of Florida remain under water shortage warning order. Read More
GenNext Growers
August 8, 2017
Winegrape Society Awards $100,000 in Scholarships
American Society for Enology and Viticulture bestows awards at its 68th national conference. Read More
Fruits
August 7, 2017
Inaugural Organic Grower Summit Attendee Registration Now Open
Only 22 booths remain for exhibitors at the trade show, which is scheduled for Dec. 13 and 14 in Monterey, CA. Read More
Citrus
August 7, 2017
New Funding Available for Agricultural Technology
USDA announces $400,000 to support ag science entrepreneurs. Read More
Fruits
August 6, 2017
Western Growers Supports U.S. Appeals Court’s Chlorpyrifos Decision
Organization says original decision was based on sound science and applicable regulatory procedures. Read More
Apple Grower of the Year
August 5, 2017
A Look At Apple Grower Of The Year Winners 1989-2017 [Slideshow]
Since 1989, American Fruit Grower and Western Fruit Grower magazines have honored influential apple growers such as Grady Auvil, George Lamont, Bill Zirkle, and Ralph Broetje. American and Western Fruit Grower presents a look at the winners of this prestigious award. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
August 17, 2017
How Wicked Will Winter 2018 Be in the U.…
The 200th edition of the Farmers’ Almanac reveals wide-ranging weather patterns and events that would require everything from shovels to shorts. Read More
Fruits
August 15, 2017
California Nurseryman Settles With Feds …
John Duarte admits no liability but will pony up more than $1 million in civil penalties and environmental mitigation fees. Read More
Citrus
August 15, 2017
New Conference to Shine Spotlight on Cen…
Education and interaction part of UF/IFAS-led agenda. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
August 14, 2017
Biocontrols: The South African Fruit Gro…
While insect and disease pressure differs from U.S., South African fruit growers say education and slow transitions make for successful integration of biological products. Read More
Fruits
August 14, 2017
Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Expands Ag…
Pennsylvania receives $3 million from USDA for outreach efforts, control measures for this invasive pest. Read More
Crop Protection
August 11, 2017
Do Fungicide- and Insecticide-Treated Se…
The University of New Hampshire has received half a million dollars to investigate if seed treatments inadvertently protect weed seeds from its usual predators. Read More
Citrus
August 11, 2017
Field Scouting Guide: Common Lambsquarte…
Take a look at these tips for identifying and treating this pervasive weed. Read More
Farm Management
August 10, 2017
Climate Change Drives New Healthy Soils …
California offers farmers grants to improve soil health; new program is funded by cap-and-trade auction revenue. Read More
Citrus
August 9, 2017
Florida Farming and University Extension…
Learning is a two-way street to success in the field and the lab. Read More
Apples & Pears
August 9, 2017
2017 Washington Apple Crop Down Slightly
Forecasted harvest predicted to be 131 million boxes, down 1.2% from 2016. Read More
Citrus
August 9, 2017
Traceability Products to Help You Track …
One way to ease the process of a food safety recall is by having detailed records of where each crop has been and who has touched it. Look over these traceability products using the latest technology to help you stay on top of your records. Read More
Citrus
August 8, 2017
Drought-Busted Sunshine State Still on t…
Despite prolific periods of precipitation, parts of Florida remain under water shortage warning order. Read More
Fruits
August 7, 2017
Inaugural Organic Grower Summit Attendee…
Only 22 booths remain for exhibitors at the trade show, which is scheduled for Dec. 13 and 14 in Monterey, CA. Read More
Citrus
August 7, 2017
New Funding Available for Agricultural T…
USDA announces $400,000 to support ag science entrepreneurs. Read More
Fruits
August 6, 2017
Western Growers Supports U.S. Appeals Co…
Organization says original decision was based on sound science and applicable regulatory procedures. Read More
Apple Grower of the Year
August 4, 2017
Road Trip Provides Hands-On Educational …
A visit to orchards in Upstate New York became a learning experience when my mom came along for the ride. Read More
Crop Protection
August 3, 2017
Can Avocados Be Saved from Deadly Laurel…
Scientists from Florida and California are on the case and collaborating. Read More
Citrus
August 2, 2017
Recalls Happen. Here’s What You Ca…
Follow this 10-Step plan to protect the public — and your farm. As a bonus, see how Duda Farms runs its mock recalls. Read More