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Mobile Lab To Improve Farm Irrigation Efficiency

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What is Valley Water's Ag Mobile Irrigation Lab?

Drip irrigation Distribution Uniformity test

Managing and maintaining agricultural irrigation systems can be challenging. Valley Water’s agricultural mobile irrigation lab (mobile lab) provides free technical services for growers to help improve irrigation efficiency in seasonal row crops, tree crops, greenhouse crops, nurseries, and vineyards.

The Valley Water Mobile Lab Program offers the following free services for growers in Santa Clara County:

  • Irrigation system evaluations, including
    • measuring pressures throughout system;             
    • collecting volumes of water strategically in the irrigation block to estimate distribution uniformity (DU) and application rates;
    • inspecting for leaks, breaks, clogs, or other problems in system; and
    • providing a comprehensive and confidential report with system evaluation data and analysis.
       
  • Seasonal irrigation and soil moisture monitoring, including
    • installing flow meters and data loggers at individual irrigation blocks, and
    • installing soil moisture sensors and data loggers to monitor moisture levels throughout the growing season.
       
    Sprinkler Distribution Uniformity test
  • Seasonal crop canopy monitoring
     
  • Irrigation system design consultation
     
  • Irrigation scheduling decision support
     
  • Connecting growers to network of agency resources including the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA), and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

 

Flowmeter during a free mobile lab survey
Pressure gauge during a free mobile lab survey

 

Why improve irrigation management?

The benefits to improving irrigation management include:

  • Maintaining or improving consistencies in crop production and quality
     
  • Reducing costs with efficient use of water and nutrient inputs
     
  • Conserving water in our semi-arid climate that features cyclical periods of drought
     
  • Conserving fertilizer
     
  • Maintaining and improving groundwater and surface water quality

How can I schedule an initial site visit?

Michael Johnson, California H2orticulture Services, performing a free mobile lab survey

For more information and to schedule an appointment with mobile lab staff, contact Michael Johnson (California H2orticulture Services) at 831-325-3376. For eligibility or program questions about this free service, please contact Ashley Shannon at (408) 630-2951 or [email protected].