New Blog Website – driptips.toro.com

Hi, fellow drip irrigation enthusiasts –

Our blog has been moved to http://driptips.toro.com.  All our old posts can be accessed at the new website, along with our new post, “Drip Irrigation is the Future for Processing Tomatoes.”

So if you are interested in following our blog, check out the new blog site and register to get email notifications.  We’ll also be posting new blog links to the Toro facebook page and the Toro Micro-Irrigation twitter account, @driptips.

Thanks for stopping by.  See you and your great comments at http://driptips.toro.com.

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Drip Irrigation on Alfalfa

When Bob Thomas and his son Rob began farming in the Imperial Valley six years ago, they quickly recognized that there must be a better way to irrigate their alfalfa.  They soon discovered that cutting-edge growers were successfully using drip irrigation instead of sprinklers or gravity irrigation.  After diligent research, they installed their first 116 acres with Toro’s Aqua-Traxx® drip tape in September of 2009, and have experienced significant benefits since then.  The details of their experience have now been published in Toro’s Crop Solutions brochure, Drip Irrigation on Alfalfa.

Alfalfa is one of the world’s most important crops, yet most growers still use relatively unsophisticated, less efficient gravity irrigation systems to meet its substantial water needs.  With a Toro drip system, the Thomas’ have reported increased yields, streamlined harvesting, reduced labor, improved energy efficiency and fewer weeds.  These are significant benefits in today’s challenging production environment.  The Thomas’ have successfully adapted drip technology to their particular application, and even with relatively inexpensive water, they believe the system will pay for itself quickly from increased revenues and decreased costs alone.

To learn more about the Thomas’ experiences , click the following link for the full drip irrigation on alfalfa testimonial or visit www.dripirrigation.org  or www.toro.com/agriculture for more grower success stories and information on drip irrigation design, installation, operation, maintenance and economics.

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Typical Drip Irrigation System Layout

If you’ve ever wondered how a drip irrigation system works, Toro makes it easy to visualize. A new illustration shows typical drip irrigation layouts with key components for five different types of drip irrigation systems: field crop Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI), short-term vegetable crop, longer-term vegetable crop, vineyard, and orchard. Go to drip irrigation layout to download a copy.

Picture the possibilities.

www.dripirrigation.org

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New Online Drip Irrigation Calculator – Estimate Application Rates and Run Times

What It Does
This drip irrigation online tool quickly calculates application rates in inches per hour – along with the number of hours required to apply 0.1 inches and 1.0 inches of water – for all Aqua-Traxx and Aqua-Traxx PC models in specific field conditions. The flow rate at the selected pressure is also shown in both gph/emitter and gpm/100′.

 

How It Works
Choose the Aqua-Traxx model from the pull-down menu, and then enter the tape inlet pressure, the tape lateral spacing and the drip system emission uniformity to calculate your results.

For example, based on EAXxx0834 with an inlet pressure of 10 psi, a tape lateral spacing of 3.5 feet and an emission uniformity of 90%, the calculator estimates a system application rate of 0.9 inches per hour, as well as 1.1 hours to apply 0.1 inches of water or 11.1 hours to apply 1.0 inches of water.

You can enter different data and recalculate the results as often as you like. As you change the input, results instantly change as well. (Note: The application opens with default values in the entry screens, which can easily be changed to reflect your information.)

Reap the Benefits
The new Drip Irrigation Calculator instantly shows application rates for an Aqua-Traxx tape system under varying conditions with various SKUs. That’s information you can use during the tape selection process. It’s also a great management tool for scheduling irrigations and matching up run times with crop water use.

Try it and see how easy it is to use from the field with your smartphone, or test it out online at http://dripirrigation.org/Calculator/Calculator.html. Either way, you have a quick new way to estimate this valuable information.

Learn more about drip irrigation at www.dripirrigation.org

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Closer Emitters Can Yield Better Results

Closely spaced drip tape emitters can enhance salt management for seed germination, leach salts in permanent crops, dilute soil salinity for salt-sensitive crops and manipulate the wetting pattern – all with less cost and more efficiency than widely spaced emitters. But with so many variables in farming applications, how do you know this is the best option? Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Drip and Micro Irrigation Design and Management Manual, published by the Irrigation Training and Research Center (ITRC) in 2007, offers the following guidance:

Seed Germination

In more arid areas, widely spaced emitters (such as one tape for every two rows, or emitter spacing greater than 16″) can cause salt buildup between the holes, which will prevent seeds from emerging in these areas. To help push salts away from seeds and enhance germination:

  • Use drip tape on the soil’s surface or just a few centimeters below with closely spaced emitters to leach salts downward.
  • Shape drip-irrigated beds with an indentation at the high points so that salts accumulate away from the seed line which is planted below the indentation.

Orchards and Vineyards

Drip laterals typically wet less than 40% of the total soil surface, and over time, salts carried to this wetted strip through the irrigation water will safely leach away from the soil close to the emitter. However, salts will concentrate in the soil as distance from the emitter increases. Periodic “reclamation” leaching is needed to remove the salt from these outer zones of the soil.

Using broadcast flood or sprinkler irrigation to leach these concentrated salts below the root zone can be wasteful, since only 20% to 40% of the surface area of the orchard or vineyard needs to be leached. If 100% of the soil area is wet, to treat this 20% to 40% of the area, 2.5 to 5.0 times the necessary leaching water will be applied. Instead, ITRC researchers suggest using a portable drip tape system to “target leach” the orchard or vineyard dripline zone.

Improved Yield

Crop yields typically decrease once the soil salinity reaches a threshold value, and as the soil dries between traditional irrigations, salinity concentration becomes worse. Irrigating frequently with closely spaced emitters can help. In fact, if soil salinity remains dilute, yields can be higher than they would be with the same water quality using sprinklers or furrow irrigation.

Wetting Pattern

Wide spacing of drip emitters in Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI) applications requires higher pressure during germination, as well as heavy-wall drip tape to handle the high pressure without damage. Water is also applied to the soil until the surface becomes very wet, often resulting in standing water in furrows. Initial buying costs and post-purchase operation costs will be higher, and soil surface wetting may damage crop quality and/or encourage unwanted weed growth. For optimal performance, closely spaced emitters are often the best choice to achieve the right wetting pattern, increase crop quality and reduce costs compared to wider-spaced emitters.

For more information about the advantages of properly managed drip irrigation systems with closely spaced emitters, visit http://www.itrc.org/, or www.dripirrigation.org.

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Drip Irrigation Payback Wizard on www.DripIrrigation.org

Find out what upgrading to drip irrigation could mean to your bottom line with Toro’s new Drip Irrigation Payback Wizard, developed in partnership with the Irrigation Association’s (IA) Drip/Micro Common Interest Group. Just answer five questions about the crop, and this online tool will analyze average production and investment costs, as well as projected revenue increases, to estimate the payback period and additional acres that could be farmed with the water saved. To click here to get started: Drip Irrigation Payback Wizard.

Visit www.DripIrrigation.org to learn more.

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Learn About Drip Irrigation Online

Want to learn more about the benefits of drip irrigation?  Visit www.dripirrigation.org, an educational website from Toro.  Aimed at the agricultural, landscape, and greenhouse industries, this site offers articles, illustrations, software, videos, and other links to answer questions about drip irrigation technologies.

Topics range from basic to advanced, including:

  • Drip irrigation basics
  • Design and installation
  • Operation and maintenance
  • Research and related articles
  • Tips and trends
  • Testimonials and case studies

Whether you want a quick overview of drip irrigation, or an up-close look at how actual growers are using it with crops like hops, corn, lettuce, celery, onions, etc., you’ll find it on this site.  You can also post your questions and register as a Local Expert to share your experiences and solutions with others.

www.dripirrigation.org

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