An underground farm irrigation system provides water to crops with less evaporation than flood irrigation or traditional sprinkler irrigation systems. Underground water systems can be adapted to drip irrigation for orchards, vineyards and other long living crops. You can also design an underground irrigation system to provide water to field crops such as corn, wheat or barley.
1. Set up your water supply for your underground farm irrigation system.
A good water supply is mandatory for an underground farm irrigation system. The water supply can come from ponds, rivers or from a storage tank where underground water it pumped and stored. Additionally, the storage tank can be filled by a rain-catch system, if desired.
Your location will mandate which type of water source is optimal for your area.
2. Plan your delivery system for your underground farm irrigation system.
Large acreage may need to be subdivided to take advantage of underground irrigation without overtaxing the water source. A feeder pipe will connect the water source to tubing and emitters along the rows of the crops. Use valves to control the water flow to each feeder pipe. Pipes should be buried about nine inches beneath the surface.
3. Install tubing and emitters along rows and crops for your underground farm irrigation system
. The emitters are devices that will prevent the water flow from flooding one area while leaving another area dry. The tubing and emitters may be buried beneath the soils surface approximately 9 inches. Alternatively pipe risers can be used to bring the water to bubblers placed beneath orchards and vineyards.
4. Install additional components for your underground farm irrigation system
Install backflow preventers, flush systems, pressure regulators and pumps. Backflow preventers keep water that has been delivered into the underground system from flowing back into your storage tank. Flush systems are necessary to keep debris from clogging pipes, tubing and emitters. The pressure regulators help to maintain steady water pressure allowing the emitters to do their work while the pumps can be used if water pressure is naturally low.
5. Upgrade and maintain your underground farm irrigation system.
Solenoid valves and controllers can be installed during the initial set up or at a later date. The solenoid valves and controllers provide automation control to your underground irrigation system. Maintain you system by disconnecting and back flushing pipes to prevent winter freezing. Tubing is rated to last for a period of five years before needing replacements.
New Mexico State University: Drip Irrigation for Row Crops
University of Arkansas: Estimating Irrigation Costs
Tips for your underground farm irrigation system
• Once the water supply system is installed, new acreage can be added as funds become available.
Warningsfor your underground farm irrigation system
• Deep tilling will not be possible with pipes buried 9 inches beneath the surface