Home' Grower : August 2011 Contents 16
The South Australian Grower – August 2011
◗ Frost control
Correct maintenance key
to irrigation performance
IRRIGATION systems must
be properly operated and
maintained to accomplish the
uniform application of water
and nutrients to crop.
Manager Geoff Allen says grow-
ers should visually inspect their
irrigation systems before, at the
end and at least once during the
They should check, against the
design, flow rates, system oper-
ating pressure, field pressure
reducing valves, operating pres-
sure, main filtration – up and
downstream pressure, second-
ary or back-up filtration – up
and downstream pressure and
end of lateral line pressure.
Mr Allen says filtration systems
should have been selected so
they can properly deal with most
materials within irrigation water.
“It is important to have an
understanding of the various
factors that influence the per-
formance of your emission
device,” he said.
The causes of blocking could be
placed into three main groups:
• Dissolved solids or salts.
• Iron and organic particles
(which are alive or were
• Inorganic particles, such as
clay, silt or sand.
Mr Allen said dissolved salts
were difficult to deal with.
“Because they are dissolved,
we are unable to filter them
out,” he said.
“A water quality analysis cou-
pled with a competent interpreta-
tion can help avoid the effects of
salt precipitation, with the addi-
tion of appropriate water condi-
tioners, such as acids or seques-
tering agents. “With the help of a
water analysis, a proper mainte-
nance program can be set up.”
Mr Allen said organic was made
up of the living portion of the
ecosystems present in all irriga-
tion systems. These were either
living organisms that feed on oth-
ers or dead organisms that ser ved
as the organism’s next meal.
“If algae, fish and invertebrate
grow in the source water, we
can do a pretty good job remov-
ing them with a filter,” he said.
“The bacteria that grows
downstream of the filters is
what tends to give us problems.
“They feed off the dissolved
nutrients and minute particles
that slip past the filters. If allowed
to establish themselves in the
lines, these bacteria grow and
serve as an anchor for silt, which
serves as a food source for more
“To prevent this scenario we
need to periodically, or continual-
ly, add a biocide such as chlorine,
bromine or ozone to keep the
bacteria pollution at a mini-
The inorganic silts and sands
that form another group of con-
taminants needed a filter select-
ed that would remove the entire
range of this kind of obstruc-
tion. This should come after
considering the quality of the
“Flushing constitutes an
important part of a maintenance
routine, especially in micro-irri-
gation systems such as dripper
lines,” Mr Allen said.
“Talk to your irrigation repre-
sentative to set up a proper main-
tenance program for your irriga-
tion system. A proper program
includes the use of chemicals like
chlorine or acid. As with any agri-
cultural chemical, you must be
properly trained in the usage and
Need to know more?
Geoff Allen at Toro 0419 869 016.
■ Check against original irri-
■ Understanding dangers of
■ Regular flushing improves
☛ AT A GLANCE
Add a biocide such as chlorine, bromine or ozone to keep the bacteria pollutions
at a minimum.
ROGER Flavell (pictured), Hills Irrigation
Services, says vineyard and tree crop
producers intending to install effective
frost mitigation infrastructure should
follow a design completed by a leading
While overall cost is a factor, he
believes the selection of quality
components, layout and overall
attention to detail will ultimately give
producers the long-term protection
“Planning the system, and taking into
consideration what your future needs
might be, is crucial,” Roger said.
Hills Irrigation Services supplies only
products from leading manufacturers
to horticulture/viticulture developments
throughout the Adelaide Hills.
Roger says every job – manual
overhead sprinklers to fully-automated,
a different approach, from nozzle size
to the type and position of equipment.
Irrigation equipment manufacturer
NETAFIM has devoted considerable
resources to preparing a manual for
growers to understand the rudiments of
frost damage and the most appropriate
systems to guard against it.
The publication allows growers to
assess problems before any decisions
are made, ranging from site selection,
placement of dams and gauging
atmospheric conditions to detailed
information about heat transfer and
energy exchange – with wide
variations between crop type.
Other considerations should include
return on investment and the flexibility
to update installations as the need
Roger stresses that for all irrigation
systems, correct planning and design
is vital for the most efficient use of
water and energy.
Need to know more?
08 8389 8400 or email@example.com
Plan to protect orchards against frost
SPRAY Awards winner returns
AS judges head onto farms to decide the
State finalists for the 2011 Syngenta
SPRAY Awards, last year’s national
winner is heading back to work after
returning from the overseas trip he won
as the Sustainable, Professional,
Responsible Applicator of the Year.
Doug Clark (pictured, right, with
previous FSOOTY winner Peter Knight,
left, and this year’s FSOOTY winner Steve
Lake) took out the 2010 title after
impressing judges with his contract
spraying operation in Tasmania.
Doug covers about 8000 hectares of
crops annually, ranging from pyrethrum
and poppies to seed brassicas and
potatoes. His focus on quality and
getting the product to the target were
key factors in his win.
His prize was a $15,000 study tour of
the United Kingdom, tailored to reflect
Doug’s spraying areas of interest, Doug
Need to know more?
Gemma Butler-Fleming 02 8876 8646 or
Tatura Engineering P/L
Contact: Alex Carter Ph 0408 241 998
Email firstname.lastname@example.org Web www.tateng.com
Low Noise, Low Cost, Frost Protection
Frost Protection for all types of Fruit Tree’s, Vines,
Flowers & Vegetable Crops
for Frost Protection
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