As Summer begins and Spring wanes, our once plentiful rains have subsided. We are left with dry ground and a struggling crop of corn. We have had such drought in the past that you would be able to stick your hand into the cracks of the ground. This prarie clay can get seriously dry.
We have had trouble with corn in the past, either too much rain or not enough. Since we have invested in the seed and fertilizer, Dad decided we had to devise a way to irrigate. We looked at a pivot and they are really nice machines. Flipping a switch for water is an ideal situation. However, that setup also comes with a nice price tag. Leave it to an engineer and a bulldozer to design a system that gets the job done. We are employing the use of flood irrigation.
People for eons of time have been using flood irrigation to irrigate crops. We know they were used in ancient times as people settled along the Nile River and used these ancient techniques to get water to their crops. The alliance for water efficiency defines flood irrigation as “Very simply, water is delivered to the field by ditch, pipe, or or some other means and simply flows over the ground through the crop.”
This is exactly what we use at Tanner Farms. In the fall of 2011, we dug a feeder pond in the back fields and waited for it to fill. The Spring of 2012, they began working on laying pipe and getting enough water pressure for it to work.
Our Feeder pond
Now, our crew are pros. We have learned a lot during our experiment and now have it down to a science. Here are some photos of Gary, Tim, Reuben and Marcos and the guys as they assemble the pipes and get everything ready to flow.
It isn’t necessarily beautiful but it is simple and effective. Well, the guys may not agree that it is simple. It is laborious, hot, back-breaking work but it will save the corn and our investment in it. It’s a good thing our team doesn’t shy away from the tough jobs. It is important to note, we have been fortunate that for the last two years the Lord has blessed us with adequate rainfall and we have had no need to water.