Irrigation & Water
Irrigation & Water
To minimise energy costs and maximise pump life, it’s necessary to know how efficiently a pump is operating. But how do you know if a pump is operating efficiently or not?
A weather station comprises a number of instruments that measure atmospheric, and in some cases, soil conditions, then records this information, allowing the data to be displayed and used to manage or control production nursery systems.
In nursery production, managing severe events and their aftermath may have to be dealt with from time to time. While they cannot be prevented, careful planning and preparation can help minimise the effects of these events. The following focuses on irrigation management, irrigation infrastructure, and the three stages of events - preparation, the event, and dealing with the aftermath, with preparation being the key to achieving the best outcome.
When applying fertigation, or disinfesting water, the selection of the correct injection equipment is just as important as choosing the correct nutrients, or the most suitable method of water disinfestation. The following describes the methods used to inject solutions into irrigation water, and some of the other factors that need to be considered when deciding on an appropriate system.
The effective management of water quality in storages needs to be flexible, and quickly react to changes in water quality. This video explains strategies that can be employed in managing water quality in water storages.
Improvements to water use efficiency with genuine reductions in irrigation water use are most often achieved through upgrading irrigation layouts, or by altering irrigation scheduling practices. The following article looks at other components of the production system that affect overall water use efficiency.
One measure of water use efficiency is the volume of water applied to produce 1000 plants. If an irrigation system can be designed or managed to decrease the water volume required to produce 1000 plants, then increased production is possible from the same volume of water.
A biological water clarifier was added to a nursery water storage containing increasing levels of algae, plankton and surface floating weeds, leading to costly management and maintenance activities, crop production issues and an unpleasant odour. Water turbidity decreased, algal blooms had disappeared, and the previous unpleasant odour was no longer evident.
The availability of good quality irrigation water in sufficient quantities is absolutely necessary for all nursery production. While the physical availability of water is obvious, water regulations add another layer that must be navigated through to ensure sufficient water quantities are available for irrigation, and that environmental impacts are minimised through both water use and drainage water quantity and quality.
All mechanical systems require monitoring and maintenance to keep them operating at peak efficiency. Regular sprinkler and drip system ‘catchcan’ tests, and pump performance assessments are key tools in identifying and addressing maintenance issues within any irrigation system.
The Portable Weight Based Scheduling Tool has been developed to assist growers in Nursery Production obtain a better understanding of their irrigation scheduling options to improve on-farm water use efficiency.
pH and electrical conductivity (EC) meters are essential pieces of equipment for onsite testing of water and growing media. Onsite testing allows immediate decisions to be made on the nutritional status of crops, as well as being able to monitor changes in water quality.
pH and Electrical Conductivity meters are extremely useful pieces of equipment used to measure and monitor basic chemical characteristics of water and growing media. Regular and correct calibration of this equipment is necessary to ensure the results are as accurate as possible. The following video describes the basic procedures for calibrating pH and EC meters.
Membrane filtration is a technique used to separate waste material from a liquid for the purpose of purifying it. The main benefit from membrane technology is in its successful operation without the addition of chemicals, its relatively low energy use, with minimum waste.
Media filters are effective in filtering both organic and inorganic contaminates. They have a large filter area or surface providing a huge holding capacity requiring less regular filter cleaning when compared to other filter types. Media filters are an efficient type of filtration for water heavily contaminated with algae, organic matter and other impurities often found in nursery recycled water.
During low rainfall periods, a considered strategy is required to make the best use of available water resources. Rather than make decisions on the fly, a pre-determined plan can be put in place to ensure the most efficient use of the available water is achieved. The plan should include measuring available water and water use, and short and long term strategies.
The growth of algae in water storages can cause significant problems with pumping infrastructure by increasing the clogging of filters and emitters. Algae also reduce water quality by increasing pH levels, in turn reducing the effectiveness of water disinfestation treatments. The fact sheet looks at algal species that may be present in water storages and potential methods to manage the problem.
How much do you know about your irrigation and drainage? Knowledge of your irrigation and drainage systems helps you to make informed decisions on required system changes. This fact sheet provides a short questionnaire to help identify those areas you may need to look at to improve your irrigation and drainage systems.
Daily fluctuations in weather conditions can vary up to 300 percent in summer and, in winter, plants can sometimes go for days without irrigation. If the irrigation schedule is not adjusted to take these variations into account, water use will be excessive, leading to excessive leaching of nutrients, poor plant growth, leaf drop, poor internode spacing, excessive drainage and elevated or contaminated water tables.