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Old September 20, 2011   #16
Heritage
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Jack,

I just noticed biscgolf's post above quoting a price of $300 for 3000' of the netafim system. That's a lot cheaper than the prices on the SprinlerMart website and puts it in competition with a drip tape system. I've never used the netafim system but the thicker poly pipe should be impervious to crows. The dealer should be able to tell you. Another option is to use a plastic mulch over the regular drip tape or bury the drip tape a few inches (I would use plastic mulch no matter which irrigation system I decided upon). The plastic mulch might, or might not, deter the crows - they are extremely clever and might soon learn how to find the tape through the slits in the plastic. Also, I'm not sure of the flow rate on the Netafim system biscgolf was referring to, so you would need to get that info to see how many 100' rows you can put on one header line. It sounds like your Feb. planting will give you a good opportunity to try either system on a small scale. Hopefully, biscgolf will post his source for the Netafim system - I might switch to it myself.
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Old September 20, 2011   #17
Heritage
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btw... I've never tested the thicker wall drip tape against crows or gophers. Might be worth a try.
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Old September 20, 2011   #18
Heritage
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Just another thought... you might contact the various companies and see what is involved in becoming a distributor for their respective drip systems. This would probably give you a huge price break and if there are more farmers in your area switching to drip systems it might be a good source of income for you. Of course, you would also want it to be the system that works the best for you.
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Old September 20, 2011   #19
JackE
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We have never used plastic mulch, Steve, but we were planning on buying a mulch layer this year. I've tried laying that stuff by hand - never again! :-) We do have ample volunteer labor for hoeing and cultivating - we also us hi-tech herbicides that target specific weeds with little or no toxicity.

From what I read, we need to lay that tape real close to the seed line because water goes straight down in our sandy soil. That will work-out okay, because we normally "lay by" the new plants, as soon as they're big enough, with a half sweep plow - thus burying the weed seedlings and giving the plants a chance to form a shade canopy. This will bury the tape under a couple inches of dirt, thus protecting it from solar damage. We run the pathways once or twice with selective herbicides, but we never spray it "over the top", even if the product is labelled for that. We use chemicals judiciously and sparingly - but we are not "purists."

I was in the contracting business for 50 years - all I do now is, frankly, "play farmer" and spend money. I'm 75 and don't have too long to go. :-) The last thing I need is a job. :-) That's a good idea, though. I'm going to mention it to a younger friend who has a degree in agronomy and manages a 5000 acre cattle ranch next door to me. This year, he is running those huge "walking" sprinklers, from enormous 12 inch wells! You wouldn't believe the amount of water they throw out! I'm worried about him sucking down our water table.

Jack

J

Last edited by JackE; September 20, 2011 at 06:08 PM. Reason: to add additional comments
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Old September 20, 2011   #20
Heritage
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Jack,

If you're planning on buying a mulch layer then you're farming on a much larger scale than I am.

I've never seen how the lettuce growers plant under the plastic mulch (or if they do) but I just assumed it was by growing the seeds in plugs and then plugging them in through slits in the plastic (and next to the tape). I've seen some field flower growers use this method - usually to keep the critters from eating the seeds before they germinate. And yes, if seeding in sandy soil I think it would be necessary to walk the line for the first waterings to make sure there are no dry/bare spots. For short season crops plastic mulch might not be a desirable or cost effective option. Maybe some "real" farmers will chime in on this.

Also, I seem to remember reading that the thicker wall drip tape was recommended if you are burying it more than a few inches. Not sure the reasoning there - I bury the cheap tape an inch or two by when I "lay by". Usually, though, I end up digging it out to repair the gopher holes...
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Old September 21, 2011   #21
JackE
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The little mulch layer we were looking at is under 3K. It hills, stretches tight and buries the edges. It's for a smaller tractor and only uses 4' plastic.

There are three growers in our project with a total of 15 acres under irrigation (at least the plumbing is still there LOL). We each specialize - one guy does corn, potatoes and snap beans, another specializes in purplehull peas (#1 one veggie here - we never have enough. People fight over them at harvest). I grow the tomatoes, cukes and peppers plus some winter crops. I have 22 acres, but only use three for veggies.

Of course that was all pre-drought - things have changed so much here it's hard to say what our future is now. Our other two growers both had a lot of cattle to feed or sell and veggies were at the bottom of their priorities this summer. It's been a nightmare for everyone - farmers and ranchers alike. Except for the really big operators with heavy-duty wells to irrigate hay fields, all the cattle are gone now. West of here, many died of thirst and starvation, stuck in the mud of what was once their watering holes. And many animals were roasted alive in wildfires. And it's not over - they say next year will be the same!

I searched the web but couldn't find a Netafim hi-flow product with the 8" spacing I want. So I am ordering a 4100 ft roll of thick wall (15mm) from Dripworks for $270, minus a commercial discount.

Jack
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Old September 25, 2011   #22
biscgolf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heritage View Post
Jack,

I just noticed biscgolf's post above quoting a price of $300 for 3000' of the netafim system. That's a lot cheaper than the prices on the SprinlerMart website and puts it in competition with a drip tape system. I've never used the netafim system but the thicker poly pipe should be impervious to crows. The dealer should be able to tell you. Another option is to use a plastic mulch over the regular drip tape or bury the drip tape a few inches (I would use plastic mulch no matter which irrigation system I decided upon). The plastic mulch might, or might not, deter the crows - they are extremely clever and might soon learn how to find the tape through the slits in the plastic. Also, I'm not sure of the flow rate on the Netafim system biscgolf was referring to, so you would need to get that info to see how many 100' rows you can put on one header line. It sounds like your Feb. planting will give you a good opportunity to try either system on a small scale. Hopefully, biscgolf will post his source for the Netafim system - I might switch to it myself.
sorry, haven't been online for a bit- too busy making like a duck with all the darn rain... wish i could send it to texas...

i got my stuff from griffin greenhouse supply... griffins dot com is their website
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Old September 26, 2011   #23
JackE
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We got the pump installed on the new well and plumbed it into the existing irrigation piping (all 2"). The pressure pump delivered water to all sections of the gardens - once it filled all that big 2" pipe, which took awhile!. I think, surprisingly, there may be enough water in that little well to run a lot of drip tape! All we'll have to do is to add some valves to make smaller zones. We installed a float switch in the 300 gal storage tank so the pressure pump won't burn-up if we pull more water than the well supplies.

I'm ready to order the tape and fittings now, along with the filter and pressure regulator. But I still haven't decided whether to go with fertilizer injection or not. I don't really understand how it delivers a uniform amount - I need to read-up on it. Do any of you guys have an injector? Or know anything about them?

Jack
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Old September 26, 2011   #24
JackE
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Well, I read-up on the different kinds of injectors, how they work, etc. It still doesn't register in my very limited intellect - it has the smell of problems and trouble to me.

I think, instead, that I'll leave tractor lanes between every six rows like I do now, and continue to apply the fertilizer with the trailer sprayer (100 gal tank, pto driven). Sitting on the tractor, using an ordinary garden hose nozzle with the pressure set at 20#, I can run 6 rows on each pass (three on each side) - applying exactly the right amount of fertilizer by just eyeballing it. That's what I've done for years.

On the other hand - I was a painting contractor, as was my father, and I remember as a teenager in the early fifties his refusing to use the new-fangled paint rollers and making us continue to use those miserable 12" wall brushes until the competition forced him to change. And I remember when airless sprayers first came out - backward like my father, I continued with the archaic, wasteful, unhealthy air sprayer until my best hands threatened to quit and the competition was killing me!

I guess I'm being the same way about fertilizer injectors! LOL

Jack
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Old September 26, 2011   #25
biscgolf
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i decided it was not feasible for me to add an injection system at the time.
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Old September 30, 2011   #26
JackE
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Well, I've done a lot more reading about fertilizer injection. I have learned this much - the electric units that inject a preset amount of fertilizer solution into the water are a lot better than the cheaper units that depend on water pressure alone (which work much like a Miracle Gro hose end feeder -VERY inaccurate.)

The Stenner electric pump unit looks good - pretty costly, though, at $455. You get what you pay for.

I don't want one that works on water pressure. The M-G hose-end applicator puts out an extremely strong, dark blue fert solution at first, and then it comes out almost clear! It's supposed to uniformly apply a solution of 1 lb of Miracle Gro to 50 gals of water. No Way! - it puts-out half the MG in the first 10 gals and virtually nothing for the last 40 gals! I ran a feeder-full into a 50 gal drum once to verify that.

As I understand it, with the electric unit you can apply a consistent solution regardless of water pressure. Is that right?

Jack
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Old September 30, 2011   #27
biscgolf
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correct- as you say, you get what you pay for...
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Old September 30, 2011   #28
JackE
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Thanks Bisgolf -- before I spend 500 bucks of our church's money, I'd sure like to talk to a few small growers that use injectors. I 've been to a few ag websites where big farmers hang-out - too technical for me - all math! Complicated equations, sophisticated electronics etc etc. Seems that modern farmers all have degrees in engineering!

Jack
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Old September 30, 2011   #29
Heritage
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@biscgolf - thanks for the griffins link...

Jack, the water powered injector pumps are extremely accurate and have nothing in common with a MG hose-end sprayer. I use both the Dosatron and the Dosmatic injectors and am happy with both.

Here is a link at Dosmatic that explains how to select an injector:
http://www.dosmatic.com/inj.php?lang=en

and a link at Dosatron explaining how they work:
http://www.dosatronusa.com/how-it-works.aspx

If you have a fertilizing method that works for you I would stick with it - you can always add an injector later if you find you need one. Good injectors are expensive and the soluble fertilizer for injecting is also expensive. I usually use a pre-plant slow-release fertilizer and only supplement with the injector system. Supplying all of the fertilizer with the injector system alone was getting too expensive. Of course, if you are a large enough grower you could get a lot better deal on fertilizer than I do. I'm a very small grower and buy my soluble fertilizer in 50 lb. bags and not by the truckload.
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Old September 30, 2011   #30
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I just started using drip tape this year over in Dallas. I use the slow flow tape since our black clay holds water well. The company I ordered from, Dripworks, has a free design service. I emailed them with the dimensions of my garden, my water pressure, etc. and they gave me a rough design.

Pete
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