Helpful tips and tricks with Agricultural Irrigation

Best Applications for Sub-Surface Drip Irrigation  

WP Law - Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Sub-surface drip irrigation is an irrigation technique that varies from the conventional practices which most individuals are used to. Unlike surface irrigation or traditional drip irrigation, this method uses drip tubes buried under the soil surface to supply water to plant roots. The depths at which the drip tubes are buried depend on the crop being watered and the farming practices employed. It is a costly watering system because it requires expert design and maintenance, but the fact that it delivers water directly to plants roots makes it very effective.

Sub-surface irrigation eliminates many of the effects of conventional irrigation methods such as ponding, surface infiltration, surface water runoff (leading to erosion), and excessive water losses through evaporation. Water moves out of the drip tubes in all directions and wets the soil around roots. With a well-managed sub-surface irrigation system, it possible to maintain a high degree of uniform water application throughout your fields. Plus, water is only applied underground instead of to the soil surface where weeds could easily germinate. This reduces weed growth and makes it possible for crops to enjoy more nutrients from the soil.

Best Applications

In arid, semi-arid, hot and windy areas – The system is best for such areas with low rainfall and limited water supply because of its low evaporation rates compared to conventional irrigation methods. Countries such as Israel heavily rely on this technique in their farming.

For weed control – The system can help reduce weed growth substantially.

Growing crops that require dry surface conditions – Some crops benefit from a drier soil surface and foliage because of reduced potential for fungal diseases.

Medium and large-scale production – The system is relatively complex and in most cases automated, so it’s not best for small-scale farming.

If you are considering sub-surface irrigation, contact W.P. Law, Inc. today for more information!

Beginners Guide: Water Well Basics  

WP Law - Wednesday, October 03, 2018

If you are planning on having a well drilled or you are a new well owner, it is essential to know well basics.

Types of wells

• Driven wells - They are made by driving a pipe with a well point into shallow water-bearing gravel or sand.

• Dug wells – They are wells excavated by hand using a shovel to a level that is below the water table. They are usually lined with tiles, stones or bricks. They are shallow and easily get contaminated.

• Drilled wells – they are constructed using a rotary drilling machine. They are usually more than 100 feet deep.

Well contamination

It is easy to contaminate a well especially if it was not well constructed. Contaminants can easily slip into the well if toxic materials are dumped close to the well and leach into the aquifer contaminating the groundwater. Consumption of water from a contaminated well can be dangerous. It is essential to have your well tested on a regular basis for pathogens, contaminants and other chemicals.

Potential sources of contamination include;

• Microorganisms such as bacteria, parasites, and viruses

• Nitrate and nitrite present in human waste and chemical fertilizers

• Heavy metals

• Fluoride

• Radionuclides

Protecting your well from contamination

Proper well maintenance which includes an inspection every ten years is important. You should also install a well cap to prevent hazardous materials from falling into the well. Use caution around the well and do not put any dangerous substances close to it.

If you are planning to own a well in the future, talk to the experts at W.P. Law Incorporated.

The Modern Way to Conserve Water with Agricultural Irrigation

WP Law - Thursday, August 16, 2018

In many regions of the country, water is becoming an increasingly precious resource; and sustainable, profitable agriculture depends more and more upon the effective management and conservation of resources.

Fortunately, modern irrigation technology has provided a number of ways in which the consumption of water can be minimized

Drip (Micro) Irrigation Systems

In a drip irrigation system the water is delivered close to the roots of the plants minimizing losses due to runoff and evaporation that typically occur when a traditional sprinkler or spray system is used.

Drip irrigation also allows for water to be delivered during the cooler hours of the day, further reducing evaporation losses. Water can also be directed to the correct root depth to inhibit take up by weeds.

It’s estimate that a well-designed and monitored drip system can reduce water consumption by as much as 70-80%.

Proper Scheduling

Effective scheduling depends knowing the water requirements of the crop you are growing and having the ability to accurately measure the amount of moisture in the soil.

Proper scheduling can not only save you money in pumping costs, but can also reduce the potential for certain diseases and save you money on your spray bill.

Smart Irrigation Systems

The most advanced irrigation systems now include sensors which can monitor the levels of moisture in the soil and make any necessary adjustments to the amount of water being delivered.

These systems therefore precisely optimize the amount of water being used, eliminating waste while also ensuring adequate hydration.

A number of smartphone apps are also now available which allow farmers to control and adjust their irrigation systems remotely.

Contact Us

W P Law Inc has been helping farmers get the best possible return on their investment in all kinds of irrigation systems since 1970.

If you’d like to find out more, you’re welcome to stop by one of our four South Carolina facilities any time, click here to drop us an e-mail or call 800-476-4515 toll free and we’ll be glad to talk with you.

The Difference between Overhead Irrigation Vs. Drip Irrigation

WP Law - Thursday, July 12, 2018

Farmers and growers often have preferences about the best way to water their crops. Whether you have a large area to irrigate or are planning a system for a smaller patch of land, knowing the difference between drip and overhead irrigation will allow you to make the best selection for your needs.

Enhancements in sprinklers and water lines have made newer systems incredibly water efficient compared to older practices. When measuring efficiency, we must consider more than the amount of water used.

Advantages of Drip Irrigation

  • Slower distribution of water prevents excessive runoff and possible soil erosion.
  • Offers much better water efficiency than sprinklers
  • Waters only those plants or crops alongside the lines, not weeds and unwanted plants that may be on the grounds
  • Avoids potential water waste that may occur with sprinkler systems due to evaporation and winds
  • Excellent for chemigation and fetigation of crops

Advantages of Overhead Irrigation

  • Ability to cover a larger area as sprinklers imitate rainfall
  • Excellent for frost protection if designed properly
  • Requires less filtration unlike the frequent flushes necessary to keep drip systems from experiencing plugged lines
  • Generally has lower maintenance costs and a longer lifespan of use

With four locations in South Carolina, W.P. Law supplies fluid handling systems that will meet your needs. Contact us today so we can assist you.

7 Irrigation Tips Guaranteed to Make Your Farm Expansion Easier

WP Law - Thursday, March 22, 2018

Expanding a farming operation often involves more than just planting more acres. Many farmers know they will need to improve and expand their current irrigation systems to account for the increased acreage. There is a lot to consider when updating or expanding an irrigation system. Here are several things that need to be considered.

  • There is no universal answer for the best irrigation system to install. This decision usually comes down to the cost per acre to install and operate the system and the monetary value of the crop being grown. High value crops such as vegetable and orchard crops are usually irrigated using drip or micro irrigation. In addition to high uniformity and high efficiency, another plus is that the irrigation will not interfere with other field operations such as cultivating, spraying and harvesting.
  • It is easier to increase energy efficiency to reduce costs and waste than in the past. Variable frequency drives (VFD's) can greatly improve the performance and efficiency of electric irrigation pumps. Ask an expert for help in making the right choice for your farm.
  • Buried pipelines cost more to install, but they rarely leak when properly installed and maintained. Above ground pipelines are less expensive to install, but they are more susceptible to damage from equipment and rodents causing multiple leaks. In some cases up to 30% of the water is wasted before it reaches the crops. Keep this in mind when deciding which system you need.
  • Don't forget to speak with your electric company about different charges that probably exist for electrical usage during off-peak hours. Keep in mind that not all crops thrive with off-peak watering.

If you need help with your irrigation or waste distribution systems, contact W.P. Law, Inc. for help with these and many other services. Contact us for more information and help.

The Definitive Checklist for Healthy Crops This Spring

WP Law - Thursday, March 15, 2018

Farmers and home gardeners share many of the same tasks when it comes to planting their crops. Although there is a difference in scale and because of that, practices. Here is a look at some of the things that successful farmers know that home gardeners can apply to their summer gardens.

Things All Producers of Crops Can Do in the Spring to Increase Production

1. Prepare the soil prior to planting. This begins with a soil test. It is important to know what nutrients need to added to the soil for it to produce the optimum yield for the crop you are growing. In addition to adding nutrients, the soil needs to be tilled to reduce weeds and improve water infiltration and aeration. In some cases deep tillage is required to break up hard pan.

2. Understand your crop's normal cycles. By understanding what your crop is supposed to do and when will help you identify potential problems early. Things such as how long after planting should you expect the seeds to germinate and how long after germination should you expect flowering are good to know. Also knowing the number of days it takes to produce a crop can help you schedule planting dates.

3. Know the nutrient and water requirements at different stages of growth. This can help you adjust fertilizer and irrigation schedules. Also know if you crop is susceptible to insects or disease a various stages of growth. This can help you develop a spray program to minimize disease and insect damage.

4. Keep in mind that you will improve your harvest if you alternate how you do things from year to year. Farmers learned many years ago the importance of crop rotation. This same principle applies to home gardeners as well, just on a smaller scale. For the home gardener, simply plant your crops in different places in your garden each year.

Contact W.P. Law, Inc. for Help with Your Crop

If you need help with your crops, contact W.P. Law, Inc. for help with irrigation, chemicals, frost protection, and many other services to keep your fields or gardens growing and healthy. Whether you have thousands of acres or orchards, vineyards, and vegetable or a backyard garden, we can help improve your harvest. Contact us for more information and help.

The Art of Irrigating Your Orchard this Spring

WP Law - Thursday, February 15, 2018
Crop Irrigation

Adequate irrigation is essential for the healthy development of the trees and fruit in any orchard.

But care is needed because relatively small changes in irrigation patterns can lead to significant variations in the amount and quality of fruit produced.

A number of variable factors can make it difficult to gauge just how much irrigation trees are likely to need, particularly at the beginning of the annual growing season each spring.

The Danger of Excessive Irrigation

Trees require less water than many people assume during this time of year, and the appearance of dryness on the top of the surrounding soil, or in surface plants and grass, is not necessarily an accurate indication of moisture levels at tree root depth.

So it is easy to over-water at this time, which can retard the growth of the trees developing feeder roots or even lead to them rotting. It may also leach vital nutrients from the soil.

The Three Key Metrics You Need to Know

There are three measurements of which you need to be aware to ensure that your trees get enough, but not too much, water --

  • the amount of water your system is delivering
  • the amount of that moisture which is retained by the soil
  • the rate at which the trees are using water

The water delivered by your system should be relatively simple to control. But the amount of moisture retained in the ground may vary considerably; sandy and rocky soils absorbing much less than heavier loams and clays.

The rate of water usage by trees depends mainly on their size and can be roughly calculated according to height, width and amount of leaf cover.

But water uptake also varies according to regional and climatic differences in hours of daylight and sunshine, temperature, humidity and wind.

Trees also use water more slowly in spring than in the later growing months. As a rule of thumb, an amount of water which lasts a tree for 14 days in April will last for six days in May and just three in July.

Accurate Moisture Measurement

There are a variety of moisture sensors available on the market today. Accurate moisture measurement is critical to determining the best irrigation schedule for your orchard crops. By knowing what the moisture level in the soil actually is, you can adjust your irrigation schedule to have the right amount of water available to the tree when it is needed the most.

Contact Us

At W P Law Inc we've been helping South Carolina farmers and orchard owners to understand and resolve irrigation issues on properties of all types and sizes since 1970.

Stop by one of our locations any time, click here to drop us an e-mail or call 800-476-4515 toll free and we'll be glad to talk with you.

3 Reasons to Consider a Custom Fabricated Pump Station

WP Law - Thursday, January 18, 2018
Crop Irrigation

Pump applications will always vary depending on where the pump systems are to be used, material to be pumped, and type of project at hand. If you are about to undertake a certain project and are not sure whether to use standard pump systems or custom fabricated pump systems, go through these few reasons why the latter is a better option:

1. Fits your specific operation perfectly

One of the greatest benefits of customization in any industry is the development/creation of systems that meet the specifications of the owner. With a custom fabricated pump station, your pumping system will be tailor made to perform operations that are specifically targeted to your project’s goals. All you need is to consult a professional and experienced pump fabrication expert to develop a pump station for you according to your specifications.

2. Saves you money in the long-run

A custom fabricated pump station leaves room for expansion in case your operations grow in the future. This saves you money in the long-run as upgrading the system will be easy and swift. It also saves you money by ensuring that your operations are streamlined from the word go.

3. Maintenance on such systems is easy

It’s easy to maintain a custom fabricated pump station especially when it’s the fabricator or installer offering the required routine maintenance services. The fabricator understands the system inside out, making it easy for them to identify where an emergency problem is and how to solve it fast. Most manufacturers also offer maintenance services at a reduced price for a certain period to guarantee the quality of their work.

A custom fabricated pump station is definitely the better option in many projects. However, it’s always smart to consider professional advice on the best option depending on the type of project at hand.

2 Reasons Why Traveler Irrigation Systems Are Your Secret Weapon  

WP Law - Thursday, January 11, 2018
Crop Irrigation

There are many different types of irrigation systems, each intended for different purposes. One popular type is the traveler irrigation system, which utilizes a large sprinkler mounted to a cart with wheels. This sprinkler is commonly referred to as a "big gun." The sprinkler sprays water in a radius of up to 250 feet. The sprinkler must be moved to irrigate the field. Here are two reasons why traveler irrigation systems are your secret weapon.

1. Traveler Irrigation Systems Get the Job Done Fast

The main advantage of traveler irrigation systems is that they can get the job done quickly and efficiently. The sprinkler of a traveler irrigation system typically can spray water in a radius of 80 feet to 250 feet. This makes the traveler irrigation system ideal for fields that are very large and need to be irrigated frequently.

2. Traveler Irrigation Systems Are Versatile

Another reason traveler irrigation systems may be your secret weapon is that these systems are very versatile. If you own a property that is rectangular in shape, such as an athletic field, traveling irrigators are a great option. Traveler irrigation systems can also be ideal if you need to apply a small amount of water in a relatively short period of time. Depending on the type of traveler irrigation system, they can be relatively easy to shift around a property, making them ideal for properties that are oddly shaped.

If you need an effective and versatile irrigation system, you should consider a traveler irrigation system. For more information about the many advantages of traveler irrigation systems, don't hesitate to contact us here at WP Law.

More Reasons to Irrigate Your Lawn During the Winter

WP Law - Thursday, January 04, 2018
Crop Irrigation

Just like any other season when precipitation is sufficient, whether it’s in the form of rain, snow or ice, dormant warm season grasses will continue root growth and water and nutrient uptake although at a reduced rate caused by slowed metabolic activity. Cool season lawns and winter plantings of annuals to provide color have to have sufficient levels of moisture because they are actively growing. How do we accommodate these needs while preventing problems such as winterkill in turf or dead pansies due to lack of water?

Drought conditions: It is not uncommon to have long stretches of time between rain events during the winter months. After several weeks have passed without rain, applying water once a week will be enough to keep your sod hydrated until natural precipitation occurs. If using an irrigation system be sure the watering cycle starts later in the day to prevent dangerous ice buildup on hard surfaces such as roads and walkways.

Extreme cold fronts: During the winter months it is not uncommon to have cold, dry, and windy fronts move through. This, accompanied by rapid temperature drops during the day (or night) will cause the bark layer of shrubs and trees to split in effect girdling the plant. The same thing happens to the dormant turf. The soil will give up its moisture quickly in these conditions causing the grass to become “freeze dried.” The water that is in the grass plant at the cellular level freezes and expands destroying the tissues. This causes winterkill which shows up as what looks like large burned patches in the lawn during spring green up. Paying close attention to weather reports and irrigating before the arrival of the front, may help prevent or decrease the amount of winterkill observed later.

Plants that provide color: Annuals planted to provide color in the landscape this time of year are actively growing and require moisture. Isolating these areas of color with drip irrigation will apply water as needed for growing healthy plants while preventing over watering nearby dormant turf.

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