Friday, May 19, 2006

Setting up New Pivots

We began our farm season about a month ago and has it been busy! When we (meaning the farm partnership) bought this farm last year all the fields but one were corrugated. Think of a piece of corrugated cardboard, that's how the fields were. The previous owner grew alfalfa for seed. The fields were corrugated to allow the water to be irrigated with cyphon tubes between the rows. It was a very labor intensive process to irrigate and Mexicans were hired to do the job.
The top picture shows what's left of some corrugated ground. Water was pumped into a ditch (top right and bottom left) and then a worker walked along starting the cyphon tubes and placing them in each row about every 12-18 inches. My SIL Anna is demonstrating how the cyphon tubes had to be started.

We grow alfalfa for hay, most of it sold to dairy farmers in California. The fields were awful to swath, rake, and bale last year because of the corrugations. It was like driving down a very washboardy dirt road only with the bumps exaggerated. Last fall we (the farm) took out some of the corrugated fields and were able to put in four new pivots. The pivots make better use of the water and are less work to irrigate with. This spring we have put in five new pivots. Each pivot makes an average circle about a 1/2 mile wide. In the first section we now have four large pivots with a smaller pivot in the center of all of them. The next section has four pivots and the last section has one pivot, which was put in by the previous owner.

The left picture shows the trench that goes from the well to the center of the pivot. The trench is about 6 feet deep and about 1/4 mile long. After the pipes are laid out and put together the length of the trench they are rolled into the ditch. One person starts the end by pushing it in and the rest falls in like dominoes. It is actually pretty neat to see. The top pic shows Darren, Joseph, and Ammon setting up all the electrical wiring at one of the wells. The bottom pic is of a pivot irrigating a field. The pivots can be programmed to go either around in a complete circle or a half circle or anything in between. On the bottom picture you can see the end gun shooting a stream off the end of the pivot. That is also programmed to spray at different spots in the field.

For those of you in Fallon, don't you wish you could put pivots in? It sure beats opening and closing irrigation gates, waiting for the ditches to fill, watching for the water to flood to a certain point in the check before closing the gate and opening the one on the next check, and best of all, we don't have to get up at night to irrigate when its our turn to get the water! :P

1 comment:

Calandria said...

I think having lived my life in Maine and Minnesota, I take water for granted! :-)