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Old September 20, 2011   #14
Heritage
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: San Diego
Posts: 1,251
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Jack,

Just a few points that hopefully will be helpful:

- Drip Tape (T-Tape, John Deere, etc) and Drip Lines (Netafilm.etc) work similarly, but drip lines cost about 5-10 times as much as drip tape. The setup cost (filters. headers, pressure regulators) is probably about the same for each system, the difference is in the cost of the tape/dripper line itself. Dripper lines are a thick plastic tube with embedded (or individually installed) drippers, while drip tape is a thinner (commonly 8 mil) plastic tubing with holes in it. All of the flower farmers around here use the 8 mil drip tape w/ 8 inch spacing. It costs about $175 per 7500'. As a comparison, 7500' of Netfilm @ $68/250ft (from SprinklerMart website) would cost about $2000. Drip tape is rated for a single season (I get at least 2 years out of the cheapest T-Tape) while drip systems should last for years.

- You will have to figure your flow rate/supply to figure out how much line you can run. As an example, if you have a 12 GPM supply you could run about 17 100' rows using a high flow 8 mil .67 GPM /100 ' drip tape. Figure about 15 rows to allow for leakage, etc. So, every series of 15 rows would be run separately, either manually, or with a timer. A one-inch header poly pipe would be sufficient to supply the 12 GPM to the 15 rows. You could either use a pressure regulator inline, or adjust the flow with a manual valve. (what I do) Drip tape has to be run at low pressure (I believe 15 psi or less, check the specs), if it is under high pressure, it bursts. Too little pressure will give uneven water on fields with a slope, but I'm not sure what the recommended minimum pressure is. It is easy to adjust.

- With drip tape, expect to do repairs. I don't know how the varmit situation is in Texas, but here in So Cal I repair T-Tape holes almost every time I turn it on. Crows are so clever it doesn't take them long to discover there is water in the tape and they soon learn to poke holes in the tape to get a drink (usually at the end of the line). Coyote pups like to chew holes in tape just for the game. Similarly, if the tape is buried, gophers soon chew holes in it. If you incorporate a black plastic mulch it would take care of the crow problem. Also, black plastic mulch (or other mulches) are commonly used with tape to further conserve water and save on weeding labor costs. Repairs to the tape are easy and inexpensive. (except for the labor)

- If you use chemical fertilizers be sure to use a good pre-plant fertilizer. I use Apex slow release 14-14-14. You will also probably want an injector system to supplement fertilization as needed. However, soluble fertilizers, suitable for injector/tape systems are expensive, so use the pre-plant fert to cut down on this cost.

Good luck!
Steve

Last edited by Heritage; September 20, 2011 at 02:00 AM. Reason: spelling
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