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Tag Archives: drip irrigation testimonial
Larry Standage has reaped all the typical benefits of converting to drip irrigation with his onions in Vale, Oregon, including increased yields, reduced runoff, and less use of water, fertilizer, and labor. But the most important benefit is that Standage builds customer loyalty as a result of a higher quality, more uniform crop.
“Each 50 pound bag of onions is superior becuse the crop is more uniform in size, shape, and color, thus the customer is more pleased. I use drip to keep my customers coming back,” says Larry. Continue reading
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.”
Even before the perfect storm of diminished water supplies, rising corn prices and government cost-share funding hit the plains, Steven Cox knew his irrigated farms would have to change. That’s why he installed his first subsurface drip irrigation system over nine years ago on his 4,000 acre operation, and has installed an additional 120 acres of drip irrigation since.
The conversion has allowed him to stretch limited water supplies while increasing yields and gain quality at the same time. “Before drip, we were trying to flood irrigate 60 acres with a 250 GPM well. We were lucky to get top yields on 25 percent of the field. I now get top yields on 100 percent of the field because of the increased uniformity and efficiency I get with drip.” Continue reading
Chuck Herrin manages Worth Farms in California’s Westlands Water District. Founded by his grandfather, a custom harvester turned farmer, Worth Farms today grows 4,500 acres of drip irrigated crops including 3,500 acres of processing tomatoes.
“Our best-ever yield on conventional sprinkler/gravity acreage was 64 tons/acre in 2004. five years later, we are achieving 50-100% increases in yields with drip, and an overall average of 65 tons/acre operation wide. On top of that, water, labor, fertilizer, and herbicide savings are substantial. We used to apply 36 inches of water per acre to meet a crop ET of about 18 inches. Now, we only apply 24 inches of water, a 33% savings. At the same time, we have cut labor use by half, and fertilizer use by a third. This is significant.” Continue reading
Mike and Brian Naumann are young farmers with a daunting legacy to fulfill: the family has been growing vegetables in Ventura County since 1898. But the Naumann brothers are not ones to buckle under pressure, and have adopted a “can-do” attitude to successfully farm 800 acres of mixed vegetables in a volatile, ever changing market. The secret to their success? Continue reading
Craig Andrus is no stranger to sprinklers, but has been using drip on his 400 acres of romaine lettuce, Southeast of Salinas for over four years, now. He used to have a linear, but when it came time to replace it, he noticed the trend towards drip and made the change.
“My yields are higher, the crop is more uniform, and the quality is better because of perfect growing conditions.” Continue reading
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. Continue reading
The benefits of drip irrigation are easy to see at Weilmunster Farms in Parma, Idaho. After adopting drip technology, the farm increased its hops yields by 400 pounds per acre, which translated into increased revenues of $800 to $1,600 per acre.
Using Fewer Resources
Beyond the increased production, Weilmunster Farms cut water use in half, reduced fertilizer use substantially, and had fewer weeds because the water was targeted to the root zone. They also eliminated sidedressing and corrugating for rill irrigation, and discovered they could irrigate prior to harvest without concern for a dry down period. They’ve even reduced theft by eliminating siphon tubes. Continue reading