Water is essential for new pasture during dry season
For the horses we need a new place to stay. So far I had rented pasture but as most subsistence farmers do not invest in any kind of irrigation system, all the available pastures have fallen dry and there is nothing to eat. Where the horses currently stay is a nice place with easy access but we had to cut and carry the food for them.
Now an opportunity to acquire some land has shown up and we used last week to clean some of it to turn it into a new pasture. As everywhere else the land has been fallen completely dry despite the fact that there is water coming out of the ground in several places.
We followed one of the little creeks to find the source and built a small retaining wall.
Then we dug a larger hole so that the water can accumulate and build up pressure for the irrigation system.
Currently water levels of all these little creeks are at a minimum as we are at the height of the dry season. The good news is that a creek that still has water at this time of the year is one that has water every single day of the year. So it simply becomes a matter of distributing the water to where it is needed. Further down it will join the creek again but before that the grass on the pasture will be irrigated.
So yesterday we tried for the first time with a hose and a garden sprinkler. The pressure is very low at the moment but that may be because the water level behind the wall is not that high yet and we had leaves clogging the pipe. We need to install some kind of a net to prevent stuff from entering the pipe.
The very same creek - just a few meters below the pasture - has formed a deep pond and a little waterfall. I’m thinking about using a hydraulic ram pump to use the kinetic energy of the water to move it up. That pump may provide enough pressure for larger sprinklers that can throw water over a significant distance.
Another idea is to use a low pressure system and irrigate drop by drop using one of these hoses with many little holes in them. These get buried into the ground and water simply flows out of the hose over its full length - drop by drop. That may work very well as the pasture is sloped.
I guess we will have to experiment a bit. At the very least we now have some irrigation system to start with and I expect the grass to become green and start growing over the next few days.
PS: For those who have been reading my stories about the rainforest farm before… No, the issues are still ongoing. I plan to tell the story when there is a result. At present nothing gets decided because the competent authority is being dismantled and is without leadership until the replacement authority has started to take over. It’s a political thing.
|30 Mar 2011
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