Irrigation Archives - West Coast Nut





Irrigation



Distribution Uniformity: Why it Matters, What Influences it, and Improving Yours

By Dani Lightle, UC Cooperative Extension Orchard Systems Advisor, Glenn, Butte & Tehama Counties

What is Distribution Uniformity?

Distribution Uniformity (DU) is a measure of how uniformly water is being applied across the orchard, or whether certain parts of the orchard are receiving more water than others. It is a measure of the irrigation system. DU is a different measure than irrigation efficiency, which is a measurement of how well the applied water matches the crop water requirements. Irrigation efficiency is a measurement of how well you—the irrigator—applies a correct amount of water at an appropriate frequency. However, it [caption id="attachment_1928" align="alignright" width="331"] Figure 1. Illustrations of irrigation uniformity and efficiency. Darker brown soil indicates the wetted soil by the irrigation system, while light brown soil indicates dry soil. a) Water is not applied uniformly, nor efficiently. Trees are getting differing amounts of water, with some trees receiving too much and others not enough. b) Water is applied...

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Iron Bacteria and the Problems it Creates in your Emitters

By Cecilia Parsons, Associate Editor

A slime invasion might make for a good horror movie, but no one wants to find one in their drip emitters. Iron-loving slime bacteria can cause severe clogging in drip irrigation systems. Iron bacteria is a filamentous amorphous gelatinous type of reddish-brown slime. When the bacteria, the most common is Gallionella Sp., reacts with iron through an oxidation process, iron is changed to an insoluble form. In this form, the iron is surrounded by the filamentous bacteria colonies creating the sticky iron slime that is responsible for clogging the dripper. Sarge Green, interim director of Center for Irrigation Technology at Fresno State University, said the slime/iron problem that is causing problems in drip irrigation systems might be caused by water quality or the age of the well. It is likely that on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, where wells are pumping water from historic depths, iron in...

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When to Begin the First Irrigation

When to Begin the First Irrigation

By Cecilia Parsons, Associate Editor

Don’t Play A Guessing Game   Farm advisors and professionals in orchard water management emphasize that tools to determine soil moisture in relation to water holding capacity of the soils and tree water stress in your walnut orchards are critical to irrigation decisions.   Allan Fulton, University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) irrigation and water resources advisor in Tehama County, said, many walnut growers and managers in the Central Valley are using some combination of soil moisture sensors, water budgeting, and tree stress indicators to determine initial irrigation needs and they also use them to make sure trees have adequate moisture throughout the growing season.   Proper use of those tools can prevent over or under irrigation, and stress on trees, ultimately improving production, consistency and potential.   Why would a grower risk guessing on such a critical piece (plant available water) in the complex environment that makes up their...

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Aboveground Water Storage in California

Aboveground Water Storage in California

By Jodi Raley, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Western Agricultural Processors Association

What is the cost of getting water storage in California? Funding requests to the California Water Commission’s Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP) suggest the bill is a little over $5.7 billion. With that in mind, the applicants requesting these dollars are all competing for their slice of the $2.7 billion pie that makes up the WSIP portion of the California Prop 1B Water Bond. With 12 different projects on the table, the members of the California Water Commission reviewed applications to determine basic eligibility. Following this action at last month’s board meeting 11 projects now remain. Among the remaining projects are Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat Reservoir. These two large aboveground storage projects were identified early by project proponents to provide benefits to the public, environment and notably additional water to California’s farmers. Sites requesting roughly $1.6 billion dollars, will hold 1.8 million acre-feet off stream from the Sacramento River,...

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drip irrigation

Subsurface Drip Irrigation has Pros and Cons in Almonds

By Julie R. Johnson, Contributing Writer

Subsurface drip irrigation in almonds may not be the way to go for all growers in the state, but for two almond operations, Terranova Ranch in Fresno County and 4R Farming in Arbuckle, the practice has proven to be very successful. The use of subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) is nothing new on a worldwide level. In Israel the practice has been around since the 1960s.  SDI has had many diverse uses around the world for a multitude of crops on multiple soil types in various climates. Here in the United States, studies and research into SDI, its advantages and disadvantages, continues, as is education on the system and commercial activities. SDI is a system that provides a low-pressure water source to almonds, and other crops, through buried drip tape or hard tubing with built-in emitters. Terranova is a diversified farm that grows more than 20 crops per season on roughly...

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