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.

water droplet_generic

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

CitrusGrowers Need To Take The Ball And Run — Now! [Opinion]
October 18, 2014
Help yourself, your farm, and fellow colleagues by becoming more involved in your industry. Read More
GrapesNew American Viticultural Area In Northern California Established
October 17, 2014
“Eagle Peak Mendocino County” lies entirely within the North Coast viticultural area. Read More
GrapesMapping Grape Crown Gall Tumor Disease
October 17, 2014
Scientists are close to cracking the disease’s genetic code, a major boon to vineyard protection. Read More
CitrusScientists Uproot Common “Superweed” Myths
October 15, 2014
A new fact sheet is available that explores the truth behind two fallacies.   Read More
CitrusUF/IFAS Joins In On Specialty Crop Block Grant Bonanza
October 15, 2014
Researchers partnering with FDACS and USDA on 24 separate projects to strengthen the produce market sector. Read More
Citrus2015 Florida Agricultural Hall Of Fame Inductees Announced
October 14, 2014
Six more to be honored for helping shape and influence the state’s farming industry. Read More
Apples & PearsVirginia Tech Research Center Receives Grant To Study Organic Production
October 14, 2014
Rootstocks are the focus a of project led by assistant professor Greg Peck. Read More

The Latest

CitrusGrowers Need To Take The Ball And Run — Now! [Opi…
October 18, 2014
Help yourself, your farm, and fellow colleagues by becoming more involved in your industry. Read More
CitrusScientists Uproot Common “Superweed” Myths
October 15, 2014
A new fact sheet is available that explores the truth behind two fallacies.   Read More
CitrusUF/IFAS Joins In On Specialty Crop Block Grant Bonanza
October 15, 2014
Researchers partnering with FDACS and USDA on 24 separate projects to strengthen the produce market sector. Read More
Citrus2015 Florida Agricultural Hall Of Fame Inductees Announ…
October 14, 2014
Six more to be honored for helping shape and influence the state’s farming industry. Read More
Does Leaf Cover Interfere With Herbicide Efficacy In Grapevines?
FruitsDoes Leaf Cover Interfere With Herbicide Efficacy In Gr…
October 9, 2014
A raking study investigated what effect falling grape leaves has on herbicide efficacy. See the results here from researcher John Roncoroni, farm advisor at the University of California. Read More
Review Of Glyphosate Resistance Of Horseweed
FruitsReview Of Glyphosate Resistance Of Horseweed [sponsor …
October 9, 2014
Horseweed has been in the deeper soils of Sonoma County, California, for a few years but is now a problem. John Roncoroni, farm advisor at the University of California, shares the problems that horseweed is causing for grape production in Sonoma County. Read More
FruitsCornell University To Host Marketing Conference
October 9, 2014
Two-day event focuses on emerging markets, wholesaling, and ethics in agribusiness. Read More
Weeds That Tolerate Glyphosate In The Western United States
FruitsWeeds That Tolerate Glyphosate In The Western United St…
October 9, 2014
Some weeds have shown a natural tolerance to glyphosate. John Roncoroni, farm advisor at the University of California, gives a rundown of these troublesome weeds. Read More
CitrusNew Jersey Green Industry Council Will Host Pollinator …
October 8, 2014
The New Jersey Green Industry Council’s 2014 Pollinator Summit is an event and issue briefing for everyone who works in Read More
CitrusFarm Bureau Urges Senate To Ditch Proposed Water Rule
October 8, 2014
Farm Bureau says the time is now to have the proposed water rule withdrawn. Read More
FruitsTop 100 Grower To Receive Award From Western Growers
October 7, 2014
Top 100 Grower Gary Pasquinelli of Pasquinelli Produce Company to receive Award of Honor At Western Growers’ 89th Annual Meeting; Leno to entertain. Read More
Apples & PearsStemilt Unveils One Of World’s Largest Apple Sizers
October 7, 2014
High-tech unit, which has 79 drop points, is nearly the length of a football field. Read More
Food SafetyCenter For Produce Safety To Fund 14 Projects
October 7, 2014
The objective of the new grant awards is to provide the industry with practical research that can be used at all levels of the supply chain. Read More
FruitsUSDA Expands Access To Credit To Help More Beginning A…
October 7, 2014
Changes increase eligibility and financing options. Read More
FruitsLabor Shortage On Growers’ Minds This Harvest Season
October 7, 2014
With large crops in Washington, growers scrambling for enough hands to harvest. Read More
Citrus2014 Irrigation Show To Highlight Education
October 6, 2014
The conference, to be held in Phoenix, AZ, brings together all aspects of irrigation and water management: education, certification, networking, and innovative technologies. Read More
Farm ManagementSpecialty Crop Producers Score Nearly $118 Million In G…
October 2, 2014
Via 2014 Farm Bill, USDA seeks to bolster major driver in U.S. economy.   Read More
FruitsOrganic And Local Food Economies Receive More Than $52 …
October 1, 2014
Most of the grants were authorized through the 2014 Farm Bill. Read More