System saves time, labor
An innovative irrigation system developed in New Zealand is catching hold with grassland and pasture irrigators on the West Coast.
The K-Line Irrigation system uses low-volume sprinklers housed in protective polyethylene pods that are connected by flexible polyethylene tubing. The system is designed to be easily moved to new sets, towed behind a four-wheeler or small tractor, while the system is still irrigating.
"If you can ride a four-wheeler, you can move the K-Line system," says Tye Fountain, owner of Pacific Ag Systems Inc., Junction City, Ore., one of several K-Line dealers in the West. The system works on small or large acreage, Fountain said. Most of the systems he's designed have been in the 20-acre to 100 acre range. A 10-pod system, with pods spaced at a maximum of 50 feet apart, can cover 4.5 acres with an eight-day return, moving the system once a day. Each new set takes only two to three minutes and without the heavy labor required by lateral hand-lines or wheel lines, Fountain said,
"The system's very uncomplicated" Fountain said. "The only complex part is the initial system design, and that's something dealers provide."
The tubing that goes between the pods is specially designed UV- stable, low-density 40 mm. polyethylene that's flexible, and doesn’t kink or roll, Fountain said. Because the tubing isn’t brittle, when the system is running and the tubing is full of water, it's resistant to animal impact and landowners can even drive tractors, pickups or four-wheelers over it, he said.
The system can be designed to use conventional impact sprinkler heads or Nelson Rotator sprinklers. Low gallon-per-minute nozzles are typically used and sets of 24 hours are encouraged. The lowpressure application over a longer period of time provides good soil absorption and reduces runoff or pooling, Fountain said.
Although the system is durable and long-wearing, if repairs are necessary, they are relatively easy to make and the entire system doesn't need to be shut down while being repaired, Fountain said.
The system can be designed for odd-shaped or hilly fields, with normal pasture grass profiles.
"I usually tell people the grass shouldn't be more than shin high, about 10 inches to 14 inches," Fountain said.
In general, the system costs slightly more than a lateral hand-line system, but less than a wheelline system. K-Line Irrigation also can be phased into operation one section at a time as budgets allow, Fountain said.
One of K-Line's biggest benefits is in time and labor savings.
"We have people from age 12 to age 80 moving these," Fountain said. "It's an easy, very efficient way to irrigate."
Reprinted from an article in the Capital Press.