Monday, June 16, 2014

A New Way to Match Drop Hose Length to Crop Height | by Jerry Gerdes

It’s been almost 40 years since drop components were developed as an option for mounting sprinklers below a center pivot pipeline. 
Wrapped hose

Placing sprinkler devices close to the crop canopy improves irrigation efficiency by reducing evaporation and wind drift losses of the irrigation water. In many applications, growers will place the sprinklers just above their tallest crop, which could be field corn, silage corn, or sugar cane, to maximize the uniformity of application for all crops. However, for low growing crops, such as wheat, soybeans, or potatoes, application efficiencies can be reduced because the sprinklers are well above the crop canopy.

Growers wanting to maximize uniformity and application efficiency for all crops began looking for a way to change the sprinkler ground clearance for the crop being grown. One solution is to use flexible drop hose material and “wrap” the drop hose around the span pipe (photo at right . For tall crops, the drop hose is wrapped around the span pipe to raise the sprinkler. For low crops, the drop hose is unwrapped to lower the sprinkler.

Using a lift pole to hang the drop hose in the AquaDock.
Dale Shelton of Pasco, WA, is a farmer who saw firsthand the benefits of adjusting the sprinkler ground clearance by wrapping drop hoses to match the crops being grown. However, the time it takes to wrap drop hoses and the risk of injury while performing the task led Dale to develop a better solution. His solution is AquaDock™. 

AquaDock drop hose docking stations are a series of drop components that allow for two sprinkler ground clearances within one drop configuration. 

Using a lift pole, the sprinkler position can quickly be raised or lowered to match the crop being grown. The AquaDock products can be attached directly to u-pipes or can be attached around the span pipe. The span pipe mount also doubles as a span cable theft deterrent.

The AquaDock product is exclusively available through the Valley® dealer network. For more information visit the Valley website, or contact your local Valley dealer.

Watch this video to see how AquaDocks work:

Standard drops without AquaDock.

AquaDock drop hose docking stations with unlatched hoses on the left, and raised hoses on the right.

Jerry Gerdes
Product Manager - Water Application

Jerry, Nebraska-based Water Application Product Manager, contributes years of experience from his time working for a sprinkler manufacturer prior to joining Valley Irrigation. Currently working with different sprinkler manufacturers, Jerry develops the recommendations for the optimum water application package for a grower's operation.