System uniformity in irrigation systems is important, especially when working in the agriculture field. A system that isn’t uniformed can create uneven growth and, in some cases, cause a loss of crops from under watering or overwatering.
Before designing your next system, take a look at these two factors that play a huge part in creating a uniformed irrigation system.
1. Sprinkler or emitter spacing
Achieving equal spacing between sprinklers or emitters may seem straight forward, but there are actually many factors that go into the process.
Systems with bad spacing produce uneven growth among plants, so it’s essential you get the spacing correct during the design phase.
“To achieve system uniformity, particularly when working with ag-focused systems, you need to take multiple things into account. A big one is crop spacing,” said Scott Jensen, National Agriculture Irrigation Products Sales Manager.
Crop spacing refers to the process of factoring in row spacing and plant spacing in the field. Other factors Jensen recommends looking at include:
- Sprinkler or emitter distribution of water
- Slope of the land
- Potential obstructions (such as plant material or growing structures)
- Root ball coverage (ensuring water reaches the entire root structure)
2. Proper flow rate selection
The ultimate goal for the system you are building is for it to provide the right amount of water to a specific type of crop. Jensen said soil type, evapotranspiration and system type will help you determine a proper flow rate for your system.
- Soil Type: The infiltration rate of soil dictates how fast water moves through the soil. Clay, sand, silt and loam all have different flow rates.
- Evapotranspiration: Evaporation (the process of turning water into vapor) and transpiration (the process of plant material giving off water vapor from the leaves) both use water distributed from the system before it reaches the plant. Determining how much water those factors use will help you determine how much water the system needs to produce to properly water the crop.
- System type: What is the main purpose of the system you are designing? Is it supposed to control frost during the winter and early spring? Is its primary purpose irrigation? Or is it supposed to cool the plants down during the hot summer months?
Farmers and growers depend heavily on their irrigation systems. A uniformed system produces a uniformed crop.
“There is an expectation that the design we create will maintain the uniformity performance of the system,” Jensen said. “Looking at all the various factors that impact the final design will help the designer create a better system to meet the farmer/grower’s needs.”
Factoring in sprinkler or emitter spacing and flow rate will help you achieve uniformity and keep their crops healthy.
What’s your experience with system uniformity? Sound off in the comments below.