Friday, October 10, 2014

Trench Duty

(Note: This first picture is the so-called "featured image" for the agroliquid web site, and I will install it first from now on for the blogger version too.  It's kind of artsy, don't you think?)
 So we started the installation of subsurface drip irrigation on Farm 12 earlier in the summer.  The drip tape was buried in the spring and since then the farm crew has been installing the feeder and drainage pipes, and connecting the tape to them.  I have shown some of it in a previous blog and I always said that I would help.  Well I am running out of time.  I stopped by Tuesday and saw Kalvin and Mitch at work digging and laying pipe.  Truck driver Kevin, on loan from Ashley, and Phil were there as well.  I vowed that I would show up on Wednesday ready to help.  It has been said that I do the work of two men....Laurel and Hardy.
They had it down to a specialized procedure.  The pipe at the bottom of the trench is at the end of the irrigation run.  The tape is on 30 inch spacing, and runs under each row in the field.  Phil assembles and slides the "L" shaped tubes into the drip tape and secures it with wire.  Kevin drills holes in the pipe.  And I had the most important job of fitting the tubes into the pipe.  Well that's what I thought anyway.  The drip tape itself is around 16" or so deep.  This is the view of the tubes awaiting connection.
 Kevin is drilling holes 30" apart as that is the tape spacing.  A crop row is over each tape run, now and forever.  Recall that we use GPS guidance in the field to know where everything is.
I have mentioned that the soil on Farm 12 is kind of unusual for the area.  The soil is classified as a Sebewa Loam with clay loam at 11 inches deep.  The top is black and has high organic matter and the clay is very hard when dry.  So this drip irrigation will help.
Here is a view of a completed section.  We did turn on the water to charge the lines and check for leaks.  There were only a couple that were fixed.  It would be harder when filled in.  In the very top "feature" picture you can see that there are two lines of soil along the trench.  When Mitch digs, he puts a line of the clay soil and a line of the loam soil.  Then it will be filled back in with the proper soil arrangement.  We are here to act in harmony with nature, not to mess it up.
Well we got to the end of the current trench, and Mitch and the back hoe were having issues.  There is still a long way to go, so I guess we will have to do it the old fashioned way.
Well I guess now I can say that I helped.  Things will get back to normal after that, I'm sure.