Extending Irrigation For Personal And Small Farms

Construction & Contractors Blog

Managing a small farm without investing in heavy machinery can be tough. Whether you're a part-time farmer with a day job or a small farm owner trying to fill a niche, there's quite a few things that can be done to make life easier. To cut down on carrying heavy containers of water down acres of land or having to buy irrigation from someone else, take a look at a few ways to make a water well work harder and smarter for you.

Low Power Well Boosts

The standard water well is a cherished tradition, but leave the hand-powered pumps for decoration. To get things done in a meaningful way, you'll need a powered pump, some hose and a little trial and error.

Powering the pump is the first step, even before choosing the right kind of pump. Although many farms are increasingly more connected to rural electrical grids, you'll need to make sure that electrical utility companies are able to reach you. If not, you'll need to invest in a power pole and pay the fee to connect your farm to nearby power systems. The price varies depending on location and the amount of electrical cabling needed to reach your farm, so contact your local electrical utility or city hall to find out.

Photovoltaic (commonly called solar, but not limited to direct sunlight) power is another option, and is more than good enough if you're not living on the farm or not willing to pay for the pump's small footprint on the power bill. Many pumps are sold with solar panels already connected, but an electrician can swap the normal electrical connectors and add a battery to something that a power panel can use.

Although moonlight can deliver a bit of a charge, it's better to let the pump charge throughout the day. Every solar panel system is different, but it's fine to use a pump shortly after setting up the system. The rest of the day can be used to store up a full charge, and you won't be using a full charge to water everything on a small farm.

Pump selection is a lot more simple than getting the right power to the farm. Even a half horsepower pump is enough to drag water from the ground to the surface, and from there you'll need to setup your hose system.

Proper Hose Management

Hose arrangement depends on what you plan on doing with your water. You can either use the hoses to directly water crops, deliver bulk water for storage or some combination of both.

To irrigate your crops, you'll need to measure the length of your growing area and determine the right place to add irrigation. Sprinklers are useful for covering wide areas, but if you're in an area where the ground water can dry up fairly quickly, you may want to use drip irrigation to send limited drops of water to specific plants. Water will eventually return to a ground source after use, but not necessarily fast enough to be dependable throughout the week, so be sure to ask local agriculture extension experts or US Department of Agriculture (USDA) offices.

If you have other parts of the farm where you'd simply like access to large amounts of water for precise watering, washing or delivery to livestock, you'll need containers to reach the other side of your farm. It may be worth investing in a stronger pump, which well water systems professionals can help you choose depending on the distance. Contact a water system professional to discuss your pump needs. Contact a business, such as Golden Gate Well Drilling & Water Conditioning, for more information. 

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