How do modern agricultural irrigation systems ensure even water distribution?
Modern agricultural irrigation systems use a combination of design techniques and advanced technologies to achieve uniform water distribution. Design choices as simple as the sprinkler type and water application pattern, as well as modern technologies like automation and pressure sensors, work together to create more efficient irrigation systems. The expertise of Stettler Supply Company ensures that each unique farm receives the right system and design to ensure even water distribution, minimal water waste and optimal crop yield.
How can agricultural irrigation improvements help me conserve water and save money?
Farms can experience substantial energy and water waste through evaporation, uneven or inefficient water application, and more. Proper irrigation design allows farmers to conserve water through uniform distribution, applying the right amount of water in the right zones for that unique crop. Additionally, the appropriate irrigation system requires less energy for pumping water and lower pressures to move water from the origin source to the crop, allowing the farmer to save on cost.
How does soil type and topography impact irrigation system design?
Different soil types need different water pressure levels and amounts to effectively feed a crop. The rate at which water infiltrates through a soil is dependent on the soil’s composition, and irrigation design should be tailored to a unique soil profile. Similarly, topographical inconsistencies like undulation, high spots, and low spots can also impact water distribution, creating the need for efficient irrigation system design. Fortunately, with modern agricultural irrigation systems, advanced technologies allow for pressure compensation at every emission point, to ensure an even application of water across a crop.
What is microirrigation?
Microirrigation is a type of irrigation system design that focuses on using less water volume and pressure while achieving more efficient water distribution. This method of irrigation involves a targeted approach, applying water to the appropriate areas and at the correct volume and rate to ensure a higher value crop. According to Stettler Supply’s vice president Taylor Meyer, “The high-level thought behind microirrigation is to do more with less.”
Why are filtration products an essential component of agricultural irrigation systems?
The filtration system is the first level of defense in an irrigation system. The purpose of filtration products is to protect the irrigation system from debris like sediment, silt and other minerals, which can damage and even plug components of the system. By preventing clogs and other damages, filtration helps to ensure even water distribution, minimizes the need for maintenance and repairs, and contributes to the health and longevity of an irrigation system.
How can fertigation help improve crop yields for farms in Oregon’s Willamette Valley?
Fertigation is the process of spoon-feeding nutrition through an irrigation system. In this modern agricultural irrigation practice, a farmer applies fertilizer directly to the water traveling through their irrigation system, ensuring controlled distribution of nutrients to the plants and increased yield potential. Additionally, fertigation allows farmers to easily regulate the time, amount, and frequency at which they fertilize their crop, and to amend those levels as the crop grows.
How often does an irrigation system require maintenance? What factors impact maintenance frequency?
Among factors like system type and design, the frequency at which an irrigation system requires maintenance is dependent on the surrounding environment, especially the water source. For a surface water application, such as a river or lake, the irrigation system may encounter obstacles like algae, which requires more consistent flushing of the system and consequently more maintenance. Generally, the cleaner the water source, the less maintenance a system will require. However, regardless of your unique system, standard maintenance procedures should be followed a minimum of once per year.
How do modern irrigation systems compensate for Oregon’s changing climate and weather patterns?
Modern irrigation systems use automated tools like soil moisture sensors and remote monitoring to track shifting climate and weather patterns and adjust the irrigation schedule accordingly. Automation allows a farmer to adapt to these changing circumstances with ease to improve irrigation efficiency and overall profitability.
How do I determine the appropriate pump size and capacity for my irrigation needs?
The process for determining the appropriate pump size for an irrigation system depends on several factors, including the acreage of a farm, the crop type, the crop’s water consumption needs, the soil composition and more. Choosing the right pump is essential not only for uniform water distribution but also for the health and longevity of the total irrigation system and the crop(s) it sustains. That said, pump selection requires considerable problem solving for each unique farm, since there are multiple viable pumps one could select for their irrigation system. To ensure that you perform the appropriate calculations and select the right pump for your irrigation system, consult with a professional pump service provider like Stettler Supply Company.
What types of pumps are commonly used in agricultural irrigation, and what are their differences?
The most common types of pumps used in agricultural irrigation systems today are submersible, turbine and centrifugal. Submersible and turbine pumps are similar. Both are used for a groundwater application, such as pulling water up from a well. However, submersible pumps are better suited for deep water situations, while turbine pumps are generally selected for shallow water. Centrifugal pumps, on the other hand, are designed for surface water applications, such as ponds, reservoirs, and streams. These pumps are more easily accessed and can be pulled in and out if needed, depending on the water level or season.
What is the expected lifespan of an agricultural irrigation pump, and when should I consider replacement?
When a pump is installed correctly and the power source is clean, a pump should last for 15-20 years. However, this can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the frequency of maintenance, the water source, and type of pump. When there is a decline in the water flow and pressure from a pump, it may be time to analyze the pump’s performance and consider a replacement motor or a whole pump replacement.
How can I optimize pump efficiency to minimize energy consumption and costs?
Optimizing pump efficiency begins with the initial selection. Once the desired flow rate of an irrigation system has been identified, an experienced pump service provider can help determine the right pump for the right application. Additionally, installing a variable frequency drive on the pump system can help minimize energy consumption and cost by matching the pump speed with the desired flow rate and output. This tool can decrease high pressure situations and maximize each kilowatt hour of energy used.
How can I monitor my pump station and verify proper performance?
One way farmers can verify pump station performance is to install pressure transducers and flow meters. Thanks to automated irrigation tools like these, farmers can track water usage and collect data in real-time. Pressure transducers and flow meters monitor flow patterns for any irregularities, measure water pressure levels, and ultimately verify that the pump is operating correctly. All of this information is accessible to farmers at a glance from their computer or smartphone.
What water issues are common for farms in Oregon’s Willamette Valley?
Farms in Oregon’s Willamette Valley experience a variety of common water issues, which are often dependent on the water source. Declining water table in late season irrigation is becoming more common across the valley. Agricultural irrigation service providers like Stettler Supply Company are combating the issue with lower pump depths to stay in the active water table and more creative solutions for surface water. Additionally, Oregon river water is susceptible to algae blooms, and irrigation systems pulling groundwater may experience high mineral content and bicarbonate levels. These issues can impact water quality and create agronomic complications, such as decreased nutritional values and lesser crop yield.
How do water treatment systems protect agricultural irrigation systems?
Whether a pump pulls water from a river, well, or other water source, the water may contain a variety of unwanted contents, such as minerals, iron, bacteria, manganese and more. These materials are detrimental to an agricultural irrigation system; they can clog emitters or nozzles, cause oxidation and scaling, and even corrode the pipes. A water treatment chemical injection site blends with the water and keeps those elements in suspension, mitigating their ability to damage both the irrigation system and the crop.
How often should I have my irrigation water tested?
When you first install your irrigation system, it’s imperative that you test your water source for quality. Once the system is installed, most experts recommend annual water testing. However, the team at Stettler Supply Company recommends testing your water once per year for groundwater applications and every other year for surface water applications. When an irrigation system is pulling water from a well or groundwater source, there is potential for high minerals, which necessitates more frequent water testing. For a surface water application, the need for water testing is generally less.
What is powder coating?
Powder coating is a more durable and economical alternative to traditional liquid paint. It is a type of metal coating that is resistant to corrosion and moisture, making it well suited for irrigation products and systems. The process of powder coating involves applying a dry organic powder to metal and curing it with heat. The finished product is attractive and non-hazardous.
Why is powder coating a better alternative to traditional liquid paint for irrigation systems?
Powder coating is far superior than conventional spray paint for several reasons. It provides a robust and resilient finish to protect products from harsh weather conditions and other outdoor elements. It is also resistant to moisture, various chemicals, as well as corrosion. Additionally, powder coating is available in multiple colors, textures and finishes to meet the needs of each unique customer.
What types of sensors exist in modern agricultural irrigation systems, and how do they benefit a farm?
Modern agricultural irrigation systems offer a number of sensors, which can help collect important data about the system’s efficiency. A few of the most common sensors include soil moisture sensors, weather sensors and pressure sensors. Soil moisture sensors give farmers the ability to track the holding capacity of their soil and determine how and when to irrigate. Weather sensors can measure factors like humidity, wind speed, and temperature, so farmers can make informed decisions about whether or not temperature thresholds should be set, fungicides should be added, or other other adjustments should be made for the benefit of the crop. Finally, pressure sensors can monitor pressure at emitters and elsewhere to ensure uniform water distribution.
How does automation improve an irrigation system?
Automation allows a farmer to manage their irrigation strategy with more control and efficiency. Farmers can monitor and manage their irrigation system at a distance, making immediate, deliberate decisions about their water and energy usage to limit waste. Automation can also help farmers cut labor costs and give them space to focus on high-level, management decisions versus manual work on their farm. Additionally, automation gives a farmer the ability to scale their irrigation management strategy. They can easily apply the same streamlined approach to multiple zones or customize their approach to meet the needs of diverse crops. Automation tools can also track and record data, collaborate with weather integration software, protect an irrigation system with alerts and alarms, and more.
Are there government incentives available for water-efficient irrigation products and systems?
Yes, there are government incentives available at the federal, state, and local level that encourage farmers to select more water-efficient irrigation products and systems.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is a federal government program, affiliated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, incentivizes the shift from inefficient to efficient irrigation systems, such as low pressure sprinkler systems, variable frequency drives, and more. Additionally, the Energy Trust of Oregon incentivizes pump and irrigation system upgrades that limit energy usage, and the Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District allocates Marion County tax dollars to help local farmers protect and conserve water resources.