How to Install an Irrigation System
posted in Tractor Tips
Watering plants is a precise science. Crops need just the right amount of water at consistent intervals through the growing season. Even with a smaller garden, trying to keep up with the daily demands of watering by hand is nearly impossible.
Instead of spending your valuable time dragging a hose around, you can install a simple irrigation system that will handle the hard work for you. Read on to learn about different types of irrigation systems, how to install them, and how tractors and attachments from Yanmar can help get the job done right.
Types of Irrigation Systems
There are numerous types of irrigation systems ranging from simple to incredibly complex. When it comes to agriculture, the most common varieties used are surface, sprinkler, and drip. Here are the basics about each system.
Surface irrigation is considered the most common type of system used for agriculture around the world. A water source is dammed and collected in a basin or channel that runs along the farmland. Then, the water is released into the field and allowed to flow freely among the crops.
You may have also heard surface irrigation called “flood irrigation” as the land can appear flooded when the water is released. Surface irrigation can be used for any size plot, but is most efficient for watering very large spaces such as fruit orchards.
The type of irrigation most people are familiar with is sprinkler irrigation. This utilizes pipes and pressurized sprinkler heads to water land in a specific spray pattern. Sprinkler irrigation is very versatile, and can be used on a wide variety of terrain and crops. It’s also highly controlled, allowing you to use a precise amount of water and specific timing.
Generally regarded as the most efficient type of irrigation system, drip irrigation uses a network of hoses, pipies, timers, and sensors to deliver precision watering. Instead of spraying or flooding the land, small hoses run along the ground next to the crops. Water is then delivered directly to the soil at the root level in specific amounts. This provides tremendous control and also limits the amount of water wasted through evaporation.
How to Install a Drip Irrigation System
Drip irrigation can be used for everything from a small collection of raised garden beds all the way up to a multi-acre farm. While installation might seem complicated on the surface, the process is fairly simple. Here’s how you can install a drip irrigation system on your land.
- Map the area. The first step to installing your irrigation system is mapping out the area that needs watering and the crops that will be planted there. This allows you to make a clear plan and ensure you’re buying the right amount of line to cover it efficiently. In most cases, drip irrigation is done on a row or grid system.
- Prepare the soil. Though drip irrigation can be installed for existing plantings, it’s easier with a blank slate. As you prepare the soil for planting, let a tractor do the heavy lifting. The disc harrows attachment will quickly break up the soil for planting, and the rotary tiller will help work fertilizer deep into your beds. Once your seeds are planted in neat rows, it’s time to get the drip irrigation in place.
- Connect to a water source. Any drip irrigation system is going to need access to a consistent water source. A simple spigot can be used for a small garden, while a dedicated tank and pump may be needed for larger plots of land. To control the flow of water, attach a pressure regulator and vacuum breaker to the water source. Then, connect your main supply line.
- Lay drip line. With your irrigation system connected to the water source, you can start laying the drip line throughout the garden beds or fields. Go up and down each row to ensure all crops have coverage. Drip line comes in different diameters to supply more or less water. Make sure yours is adequate to meet the volume and type of crops you’re growing. Once the lines are in place, stake them to the ground so they’re not tripping hazards or blowing around in the wind.
- Punch holes and install feeder lines. If your main drip line isn’t quite reaching the base of the crops, install smaller feeder lines off that main line. Feeder lines are easily installed by punching a hole in the main line and pressing a barbed connector into the hole. This connector creates a seal in the main line, and allows you to attach a feeder line at your desired length.
- Close and cover lines. When all of your lines are in place, make sure the end of the main line that is not attached to the water source is sealed off. This can be done with a cap, or you can crimp the line like you would a hose, then attach a clamp to seal it. As a final step, add a layer of ground cover over the irrigation lines wherever possible. This will help reduce evaporation and make the system more efficient.
Four-In-One Planting Tool Kit
Though a drip irrigation system isn’t terribly complicated to install, it does require its fair share of time-consuming work. Fortunately, Yanmar’s Four-In-One Planting Tool Kit simplifies the entire process. This innovative attachment will help you shape your beds, apply plastic or paper mulch, and install two irrigation drip tubes simultaneously. With just a single attachment, you can shave days off your timeline and have your drip irrigation up and running in no time.
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