February 2022 - 20

IRRIGATION & WATER MANAGEMENT
Micro-irrigation system troubleshooting tips
By Brice Jones
Regional Manager for Ag Water
Kurita America
There are many factors that affect
micro-irrigation systems in agriculture,
which can have a significant impact on
your bottom line. Understanding some of
the unique properties of water will shed
light on potential issues that can arise, as
well as some of the most common water
treatment strategies to resolve them.
Water is called the " universal solvent "
because it dissolves more substances than
any other liquid. Water molecules have
a polar arrangement of the oxygen and
hydrogen atoms - one side (hydrogen)
has a positive electrical charge, and the
other side (oxygen) has a negative charge.
Water can dissolve a variety of different
substances, which is why it is such a good
solvent. In fact, water dissolves more
substances than any other liquid. This is
important to every living thing on earth.
It means that wherever water goes, either
through the ground or through our
bodies, it takes along valuable chemicals,
minerals, and nutrients.
Water helps plants - and us - by
transporting important nutrients through
the plant. Nutrients are drawn from
the soil and used by the plant. Without
enough water in the cells, the plants
droop, so water helps a plant to stand.
Water carries the dissolved sugar and
other nutrients through the plant.
Water is essential for growing most
things, however, the nutrients and
minerals transported by water are not
always beneficial to an irrigation system or
the plants they are intended to nurture.
Waterborne issues affecting
irrigation systems include:
* Biomatter: Filtration can greatly
reduce plugging problems.
However, algae, biologicals and
other small plants and animals that
live in or seek the water can still
pass through the filters. Microbes
that pass through the filters can
continue to grow inside the system.
Some organisms can build up in
numbers, often forming clumps
within the tubing at the point
where water enters the emitter.
* Scaling: Scaling may be caused
by calcium, iron or manganese
to name a few. These elements,
usually associated with limestone
or iron oxides, are often dissolved
in the irrigation water source.
Using this water for irrigation
without treatment for calcium
or iron can lead to scaling and
ultimately plug the emitters or even
irrigation system pipes.
* Iron and hydrogen sulfide
slime: Iron-rich water leads to the
formation of iron bacteria, which
convert soluble iron to insoluble
iron precipitates. The result is a red,
yellow or tan slime in the drip lines
and emitters. Iron concentrations
18 | VegetableGrowersNews.com
Shock treatment involves a one-time, two-part (sometimes annually) system treatment of flushing lines with specific products to clean
them and improve irrigation efficiency and effectiveness. Remedial treatment is applied after issues have been identified.
Photo: Kurita America
of 0.2 ppm are sufficient to support
bacterial growth. Hydrogen sulfide
in the irrigation water results in
sulfur bacteria, a whitish slime with
a rotten-egg odor.
Other issues that may affect
your irrigation system:
* Inorganic particulate matter:
The primary cause of emitter
plugging is foreign material, such
as particulate matter (mainly
sediment) from soil and/or
the water source. These small,
inorganic particles may pass
through filters and cause plugging
at the micro-emitter. If the size of
the particles exceeds the diameter
of the emitter orifice, or if smaller
particles stick together to form a
much larger mass, then emitter
plugging is likely.
* Organic particulate matter:
Arthropods like ants may enter
the emitter from the outside when
the irrigation system is idle and
become stuck in the tubing as they
seek water, particularly when the
system is turned on.
Hidden costs to be
considered:
* Replacing plugged emitters and
driplines.
* Increased pressure differentials
and increased backflush times in
your filtration system.
* Loss of water, and energy due to
increased backflushing.
* Increased labor cost to maintain
your drip irrigation system.
The good news is on-site system
analysis, including water testing,
irrigation flow uniformity evaluations,
field evaluations and irrigation
equipment inspections, can quickly
diagnose what the potential issues may
be. There are products and services
to ensure both water and fertilizer are
uniformly distributed to your crops for
efficient and cost-effective water use,
while enhancing the opportunities for
maximum yield potential and increased
ROI.
Some of the most common water
treatment strategies that effectively solve
these issues include:
* Shock treatment:
à A one-time, two-part
(sometimes annually) system
treatment involves flushing
lines with specific products
to clean them and improve
irrigation efficiency and
effectiveness.
à Remedial treatment is
applied after issues have been
identified.
* Maintenance:
à This is a targeted solution to
maintain a higher irrigation
efficiency for the entire
irrigation season.
* Well remediation:
à Chemically cleaning wells
to remove mineral scale and
biofouling, returning your well
to its design output.
à Chemically treating wells
is a simpler solution to
mechanically cleaning and a
fraction of the price.
* Reservoir remediation and
maintenance:
à Keeping your reservoir free
of algae is an important first
step in reducing backflush
times and maintaining proper
pressure differentials in your
filtration system.
à Having an algae free reservoir
helps to prevent algae spores
from traveling through your
drip irrigation system and
causing plugging and flow
uniformity issues.
à Decreasing backflush times,
saving water, energy, and
extending the life of your sand
media.
Integrating chemistry, equipment,
remote monitoring, automation and
correct water treatment practices can
help significantly reduce water usage
and increase distribution uniformity.
In California, being efficient can help
growers comply with the Sustainable
Groundwater Management Act
(SGMA) while maximizing the
efficiency of their water treatment
system.
Irrigation water treatment is like
changing oil in a car to ensure it
runs properly. Your irrigation system
is at the heart of your operation. It
deserves particular attention and
preventative maintenance in order to
function properly, which will quickly
pay dividends by helping you be more
efficient with your water and increasing
your yield potential and ROI.
For more information on Kurita America,
visit www.kuritaamerica.com. VGN
http://www.kuritaamerica.com http://www.VegetableGrowersNews.com

February 2022

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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/vgn-digital-seed-guide-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyers-guide-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-october-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-august
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/may-june-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/april-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/vgn-digital-seed-guide-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyers-guide-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-october-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/august-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-2022
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/seedguide-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/october-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/august-2021
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/seedguide-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2020
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/august-2020
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/october-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-2019
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2019
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