Stripling Irrigation Research Park has the Smart Irrigation Month campaign to send out tips to our clientele throughout the month of July. Here are 2014’s tips:
Tip #1 – The average life of a sprinkler head / nozzle is about 7 to 10 years. Check your center pivot application uniformity by having a “catch can” test performed, fix leaks, and replace worn nozzles. Nelson (www.nelsonirrigation.com) and Senninger (www.senninger.com) make several types and models of sprinklers.
Georgia Soil & Water Conservation Commission (gaswcc.georgia.gov), USDA-NRCS, or your local UGA Extension Service office can provide assistance.
Here’s a link to a UGA extension publication on uniformity: http://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.cfm?number=C911
Tip #2 – UGA’s Calvin Perry (Stripling Park) and Wes Porter (Extension Irrigation Specialist) have put together a Center Pivot Spring Check List. It includes items to get your irrigation system in top shape. Many of the things covered can be applied to your system year-round.
Tip #3 – A quick way to increase the efficiency of an ag irrigation system is to repair all leaks on the center pivot or other type system as soon as you notice them. Buried pipes seldom leak. However, above ground pipes frequently have worn gaskets and considerable amounts of water (up to 30%) can be lost before it gets to the actual discharge point (sprinkler). Replace leaking gaskets, boots, etc. and plug any holes in the pipes.
Tip #4 – Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) is a tool of precision agriculture that optimizes irrigation water application. UGA and SIRP have been at the forefront of development and adoption of this important technology. Research shows that implementing a VRI system can result in water savings averaging 15% vs. conventional water application.
For more info, go to http://striplingpark.org/agricultural-water-conservation/ and scroll down to Variable Rate Irrigation.
Tip #5 – To practice smart irrigation, consider using soil moisture sensors to help you decide when to trigger irrigation on your crop/field. There are a number of commercially available sensor systems, such as AquaSpy, AquaCheck, Decagon, John Deere, Irrometer, Sentek, etc.
Over the last years, University of Georgia researchers, led by George Vellidis, have been developing their own affordable system – the UGA Smart Sensor Array – consisting of Watermark soil moisture sensors, temperature sensors, wireless mesh radio transmitter, and base station with cell modem. A web portal provides secure access to the soil moisture data.
For more info, go to http://vellidis.org/research-projects/smart-irrigation/uga-smart-sensor-array/.