Watering Crops in a Field Irrigation System Short Crops

It’s the springtime, which means growers across California are relying heavily on their irrigation systems once again.

Irrigation systems require ongoing maintenance, both before and during the growing season. “Think of it as an oil change and tire rotation for your vehicle,” says Sam Baldiva, FGS’ irrigation sales manager. All month long, Baldiva has been spending much of his time in the field, diagnosing issues that have interrupted the unrestricted water flow of his customers’ systems. “We’ve been seeing a lot plugging due to calcium build-up or algae growth,” he explains. “We’re seeing hoses that have been chewed up by varmints or coyotes. We’re seeing leaks.”

If an irrigation system is stopped up, more energy is needed to push water or fertilizer through the compromised system. Algae, bacteria, and mineral buildups can cause damage to irrigation lines and emitters, resulting in uneven watering amongst your crops. To ensure a fluid watering schedule during the springtime, Baldiva encourages everyone to begin their maintenance during the colder months.

“Preventative maintenance during the wintertime is what will keep you afloat during the spring and summer,” he advises. “If you have a reservoir, you want to make sure you keep the weeds down. You’ll want to kill all the mold or moss that grows inside there, to prevent it from coming into your filter system. If you pre-treat all of that, it’ll prevent it from plugging.”

He adds, “The heart of any irrigation operation is the filtration system. If you go through it months before the irrigation season starts up, you’ll be better prepared. We recommend a DU check, which stands for ‘distribution uniformity’ and involves checking flow rates, checking pressures, and ensuring the tightness of sprinklers and emitters.”

What if growers want to maintain their irrigation systems right now, though? Baldiva has some advice there, as well.

“Flushing out your systems anywhere from one to three times a month will help prevent buildup of calcium and bicarbonate,” he says. “Different chemicals can be used, all depending on what’s going on with your well water or your surface water.” FGS can help determine the right concoction to use for those flushes. “Give us a call and we’ll come out there, take a water sample, send it to a lab to analyze what’s happening to your water, and give you a recommendation of what you should be flushing your system with,” he adds.

Also consider making a trip to the nearest FGS operation center. “We’re fully stocked,” says Baldiva. “We recommend stocking up on your couplers, droppers, spaghetti tubing, sprinklers, and emitters.”

That’s not all FGS offers. We specialize in commercial irrigation systems that are custom-designed to ensure proper distribution uniformity across your entire operation, from the first tree in your orchard to the very last. We provide onsite installation, too, and we’re just a phone call away if any repairs are needed.

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