Articles, Blog

Oregon farmers help conserve groundwater with efficient irrigation

Here’s our new irrigation system right here
that we purchased last year. It’s called a linear. And it moves at thirty feet an hour
to put on one inch of water. Before, we used to use big guns, like the big gun you see
back there in the distance, to water this field. With the big gun, you have to move
it every two hours and it requires more horsepower from your pump and more electricity, not the
mention the labor of moving it every two hours. When we purchased this system, we made sure
to buy a V-F-D, a variable frequency drive. With that, it will adjust a pump based on
the water that we need. With our linear, we don’t need a whole lot of volume or pressure
to run it. When we run our big guns, like you see in the background, you need one hundred
and twenty P-S-I, thus, we didn’t want to have to have two pumps, and we want to use
the same pump, we got a variable frequency drive. With the variable frequency drive,
I just simply go in there, touch the pad, and set the pressure that I want based off
if I’m running the linear or the big irrigation guns.
It’s allowed us to use less water because we’re putting a system that is more efficient.
We’ve saved the labor costs. We’ve saved the land by not having to have part of the
land out of production to have runways for the other types of systems that you would
use. And since it’s done a better, more even application of the water, we’ve been
able to increase our yields. So labor savings, energy savings, water savings, and increased
yield. Just looking around right here, when I first
moved out here everything was big guns, big energy, lots of water being spread around,
and very inefficient irrigation, you know, in the valley. And you know, being able to
see all the conversions, that’s what’s great about it, is that we’ve been able
to help out and in this change and the cultural change of how we use our irrigation water
and our energy. Currently we have over fifty irrigation systems
that have been converted, you know, in the Stayton Sublimity Area, which has helped the
groundwater recharge and keep it on a static level that we don’t have to worry about
it going to critical. We’ve been real happy with the way they’ve
been able to explain the program to us, the opportunities that there are there, it’s
kind of a win-win for both of us. We’re able to financially benefit with the cost
savings and the water usage, as well as electrical bills. It’s just been a good relationship.

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