Chris Drew is reaping the benefits of change. He is the production manager for Sea Mist Farms in Castroville, California, where he is responsible for over 5,000 acres of cool-season vegetables, the majority of which are artichokes. To say that he is busy would be an understatement, so he is thrilled about the recent conversion from sprinkler irrigation to a John Deere Water drip system at Sea Mist. The change produced time and money saving benefits for Drew and the entire company.
Sprinkler irrigation can be extremely inefficient and costly. Prior to converting to a drip system, Drew found that sprinkler irrigation added to his operating costs because it was labor intensive. “Sprinkler irrigation required a lot of labor to move pipes in and out of the fields, as well as a great deal of management,” Drew says.
When it comes to windy conditions, Drew feels that drip irrigation systems have the advantage over sprinklers. He explains that running a drip system in 30 mph winds can easily result in an efficiency rate of 90% plus, while the efficiency rate of sprinkler irrigation is often below 50% in the same conditions. Another advantage is that you can irrigate at any time, without having to pay so much attention to the weather.
Switching to a new irrigation system has been a relatively painless process for Sea Mist Farms. Their biggest hurdles were helping their employees feel comfortable with the new technology and training their staff to operate the system accurately. Fortunately, the John Deere Water technical support crew was there every step of the way to help with the transition. Drew feels that the investment in the John Deere Water drip system has more than paid off because of the benefits it provides. An increase in uniformity distribution has been one such benefit. “The uniformity of sprinkler distribution can be at best about 80%. If a drip irrigation system is set up and used properly, uniformity is closer to 95% plus,” Drew explains.
The drip system also makes it easier to irrigate with precision, where the crops need it most. Crops are less susceptible to pathogens because they do not have water sitting on their surface. In addition, there is a reduced need for fungicide applications. Applying water at the base of the crop is also advantageous when it comes to fertigation.
Drew believes that running the John Deere Water drip system at Sea Mist Farms has helped decrease the overall water usage on their ranches. The company’s farming operation is more sustainable because of the savings in water and electricity. Embracing change can sometimes be difficult; but for Sea Mist Farms, the change to drip irrigation has been a welcome one that has brought about many benefits. In the beginning, they chose John Deere Water because of their quality products and excellent service. Now, they look forward to continuing to enjoy the benefits of the drip system for many years to come.
John Deere Water provides the most reliable integrated Ag water management solutions with superior channel partners to growers that want to optimize operations and output.