Tag Archives: drip irrigation on row crops

Farmer Solves Water Woes with Subsurface Drip Irrigation

When Jim Bahrenburg looks across the land he’s worked in the Monument and Kimberly areas, he sees buried treasure.

That treasure isn’t gold, but water.

Drawn from the North Fork John Day River, this water flows through small underground tubes to gradually irrigate blocks of land for crops. Starting on the North Fork Ranch in the Kimberly area, Bahrenburg said he first planted rye to choke out the thistles on what was just a neglected pasture, and then continued the transformation by planting row crops.

Today the land produces corn, onions, beets, peppers, squash and dill. Continue reading

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Reiter Berry Farms, Watsonville and UCCE, Monterey County, CA

Row crop growers were among the first farmers to adopt drip irrigation as a production tool rather than to save water. Initially, drip was viewed as a superior way to manipulate plant growth and quality by precisely managing water and fertilizer after germination or plant set. Sprinklers are commonly used to germinate vegetable seed or set vegetable transplants, and in some cases, are still used today to irrigate throughout the crop cycle. But with water, labor, energy, fumigation, organic, and food safety issues becoming more important each day, growers are finding that drip provides real solutions, and may be used for much more than just irrigation after plant establishment.

“With drip, I’m not applying water in-between the beds, so weed growth is greatly reduced. With sprinklers, weeds germinate everywhere and I am forced to hand weed, which is expensive,” says Frank Estrada, Area Manager for Reiter Berry Farms in Watsonville, California. “We stopped using sprinklers over three years ago for anything except pre-irrigation prior to bed prep.”
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