Posts Tagged ‘Equipment’

A Guide to Organic Farm Irrigation System Design


2017
09.18

There are many important aspects of planning out an organic farm. According to The Irrigation Shop, one of the biggest feats to tackle in any farming setup is the farm irrigation design. What exactly is irrigation you may ask? Irrigation is the supply of water to crops and farmland to aid in crop growth. While farm irrigation systems are not mandatory, they aid in ensuring high quality crop yields and are used on almost all farms.

Water Source

Water sources are typically from the local municipal water source, on-site wells, or rainwater collection. It is very important that the water source remains pure and unpolluted. If the water source is contaminated and you continue to water your crops with it, the crop in question is undoubtedly tainted with the same pollutants present in the water source.

Irrigation Design

There are several different avenues of design you can explore with farm irrigation systems, some are better suited to organic farms than others. Drip irrigation delivers water to the plant roots through low pressure pumps either at ground level or underground. Surface irrigation bypasses the use of pumps, using gravity to carry water across land downhill.

One of the main things to take into consideration with organic farm irrigation equipment is energy use. This makes the surface irrigation design one of the best options for organic farms whenever possible. The next type of irrigation farming is the centre pivot irrigation design. Center-pivot irrigation is typically used on flat, large-scale farms and requires the use of pumps and sprinklers on wheeled towers. Manual irrigation is only effective for very small scale farms, where workers physically water each crop by hand.

Organic Irrigation Farming

Since most organic farms are typically smaller scale, manual watering is very feasible and favoured. Nothing beats letting the rain take care of your watering needs, watering only areas needing a bit of love. When organic farms start to grow in size, the next best option is the drip irrigation design. Since this design uses low-pressure pumps, energy use remains generally small in the grand scheme of things.

Another benefit of drip irrigation is that you can incorporate nutrient distribution with the same system. The only downside to drip irrigation is that installation can be a bit costly, which largely depends on a few factors. One being the soil quality, the type of terrain and sewing pattern also play huge roles in the affordability of drip irrigation.

The most important factor being the type of crop you are watering. Certain fruits and veggies require more or less water than others. If farms have blocks split into several different crop varieties, the cost rises as more main pipes and switches will be required.

Surface irrigation can also be employed as a cheap, greener option for organic farms. This type of irrigation works well with closely planted crops. If water needs to be pumped uphill, renewable resources like solar or wind energy can be used to transport water uphill to storage tanks that release water downhill to the crops.

Planning

The best way to go about designing your irrigation equipment is by drawing it all out on paper, deciding which irrigation design best suits your farm and planning how many main pipes will need to be installed, as well as water switches. The next step is to call local vendors to get price quotes for your specific acreage and design. Most local vendors are going to be a bit cheaper than larger scale irrigation equipment suppliers, so the more research you do, the better the pricing.

Read Also: New Equipment for Future Organic Farmers

New Equipment for Future Organic Farmers


2016
02.28

With the demand for organic produce growing at an unprecedented rate, it’s becoming necessary to develop farm machinery that can promote healthy growth and effective weed control. The elimination of chemicals for killing weeds and fertilizing crops has created a need for faster and more effective farm equipment.

In response to the demand, the necessary organic farming equipment is being developed and produced by an increasing number of farm machinery manufacturers, and including systems that have the ability to identify and eliminate weeds within the plant rows as well as between rows.

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Seeders

Most seeders can be readily added to your inventory of organic farming equipment. The popular Jang seeders are easily adjustable to singulate and provide the necessary spacing of seeds. Changeable attachments will accommodate different seed sizes and planting depth. Depending on the model, these seeders can be pushed or pulled manually, or hitched, with the necessary attachment, to a motorized farm vehicle.

Organic Farming Equipment for Weed Control: Tined Weeders

If simplicity is your goal, tined weeders will remove most weeds from your crop. In addition to weeding, multi-purse tined weeders with comb harrows can be used in preparing seedbeds. They will also break up and aerate the soil to allow better circulation of water and air in the soil. When used at higher speeds, this machine can effectively remove dead thatch and large rooted weeds.

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Robocrop

Developed by Garford Farm Machinery in the UK, Robocrop moves farm equipment into new levels of technology. Video cameras, identifying weeds by determining their size and shape, allow Robocrop to weed crops more accurately by automatically adjusting the directions of the hoes. And it is able to navigate row crops, including narrow rows and multi-line rows. Speeds up to 7 mph are possible – even higher in some cases.

Robocrop InRow Weeder

More modern technology is available in Robocrop InRow. Using special software to identify and target weeds, Robocrop InRow can remove weeds from within the rows as well as from between them. With crops that are regularly spaced like lettuce and cabbage, Robocrop will also perform accurately if the plants are clearly separated. Up to three plant spacings a second are possible, and machine sizes are available for up to 18 rows. Hoes can be rear or front mounted. The machine can be guided by the driver, by a second person, or by a video guidance system.

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Organic Farming Equipment for Spreading Manure

When spraying of chemical fertilizers is eschewed by organic farmers, it becomes necessary to utilize alternate fertilizing methods. Manure spreader manufacturers are making every effort to provide machines that improve the way that manure is processed. One of the leading companies involved in this endeavor is Richard Western, Ltd. New machines developed by this company are designed to finely shred the fibrous manure, ensuring the soil’s organic content and making sure that no clusters of straw or lumps of manure remain. This process aids in spreading the manure thoroughly and evenly.

Conclusion

A quick Internet search provides a wealth of information about farming and the tools and equipment needed. The only problem is in deciding how expensively and how deeply the farmer wishes to delve into organic agriculture. From simple to advanced, the equipment is readily available.