Is it Time to Update the Irrigation System for Your Farm?
Insights from Experienced Irrigation Professionals in Ontario
In Ontario, the irrigation season may last only from May to October. Yet, regular inspections and checks and timely repairs are critical in extending the life and performance of your irrigation systems and ensuring that they are up and running during the season. Whether it is a row crop field, a vineyard, an orchard, a golf course, or any other large, commercial outdoor space, the irrigation systems are at the core of all your crop growing or landscape maintenance activities. Usually, over 25-year old systems start experiencing more frequent breakdowns and pose difficulties in finding replacement components as certain parts become obsolete.
The experienced irrigation and water management (IWM) specialists at Vanden Bussche Irrigation share valuable insights on how and when to replace or update the irrigation system in your field, golf course, or agriculture farm in Ontario.
Extract the Maximum Value from Your Current Irrigation System
The last irrigation cycle of the year is a great time to look for potential improvements to the system for next year. Make sure you inspect your system before putting it away for the winter to avoid any headaches come the start of the next season. Make a list of replacement parts needed, questions to ask our irrigation professionals and begin thinking of a new way to irrigate your crop that will work more efficiently for you and your labour.
Check and test all the controllers, electric and manual valves to ensure they are working properly.
During your end-of-season inspection, seal any openings or holes that potentially allow access to insects or rodents.
Inspect the pumps for insect nests or rodent damage, review the safety shut-down systems, and check the batteries, belts, tires, and other commonly replaced parts.
Finally, drain the system and carefully use an air compressor to blow out any piping or equipment above the freeze line (typically 3' underground). When blowing out your system, take the following steps:
1. Select the right compressor. It's important to find one big enough to properly blow out any water in the system, but also not one too big that you'll damage the system. Typically using the divider of 7.5 to the system’s total GPM, you can find the right compressor. For example, a 900 GPM system would be best winterized with a 120 CFM air compressor (900/7.5=120).
2. Determine the air pressure needed. This is done by looking at the most vulnerable part of the system (likely the sprinklers) to make sure they are not hit with higher pressure than they can handle. Typically, air pressure should be in the 40-60 PSI range.
3. Make sure there is always at least one outlet open for the water to escape the system before turning on the compressor.
4. Use valves to control the entire system in sections rather than trying to blow out the entire system at once.
5. Run the compressor for an extra 2 minutes after it appears that all water is out of the system. This will ensure that you've done everything you can to blow out all remaining water.
Plan and Budget for Updating or Replacing Your Irrigation System
Whether it is a change in the water pressure, uneven watering patterns, leaking or damaged control valves, or frequent parts repairs or replacements, your irrigation system may experience common problems over the years. Certain issues may signify a poorly designed or incorrectly installed system, while others may indicate that the system is ageing and needs updating or replacement. While replacing your irrigation system can be an expensive project, constant repairs or parts replacement is not a desirable option either. Not only does that detract from the care of your crop, but it also impacts the operating expenses of your farm or business. Moreover, older systems that are not as energy-efficient tend to inflate your energy bills and overall irrigation expenses.
Routine checks, maintenance, and timely repairs will go a long way in extending the life of your existing system. Additionally,
- Plan and budget for a new irrigation system before it is due for replacement. That way, you can spread your expenses over an appropriate duration without burdening your balance sheet.
- Study the various systems available on the market. Talk to an irrigation specialist to learn more about the types of irrigation systems that best meet the needs of your property. This will help you estimate the costs and budget appropriately.
Efficient Irrigation Solutions and Quality Equipment at Vanden Bussche
At Vanden Bussche Irrigation, we specialize in designing, planning, and supplying a wide range of irrigation systems, including sprinkler irrigation and drip irrigation. As lead distributors for Netafim drip irrigation, Zimmatic Pivot Irrigation, Bauer Hard Hose Reels and Rain Bird and Nelson sprinkler systems, we offer our clients top-of-the-line products from globally renowned brands. We also stock an extensive range of irrigation application products from several reputed and trusted manufacturers.
Our highly trained and knowledgeable team caters to the irrigation system upgrades and maintenance requirements of diverse establishments across Ontario, including agricultural farms, residences, commercial premises, and golf courses.