Vineyard Drip Irrigation Line Planning

Vineyard Drip Irrigation Line Planning


Vineyard Yard Irrigation

Planning Your Drip Irrigation Lines and Zones For Vineyards

We will now use our water supply knowledge and apply it to a Drip Line layout.  For this discussion we will assume a flow rate of 300 gph, and pressure of 60 PSI.

The Vineyard we will use for this example will be 15 Rows of 250 ft each.  Each row will be 16 feet apart.  The water supply will be located 100 feet from the start of the Vineyard.  Vines will be planted 6 feet apart.  We will now go through the steps to determine a zone layout that will provide an effective Drip Watering system.

Step 1: Calculate Number of Grape Vines and Water Needed - In this example we will have 630 Vines to water (15 Rows with 42 Vines per Row).

250 Ft Row ÷ 6 Ft Spacing =  41.66 (42 Vines/Row) x 15 = 630 Total Vines     

Step 2: Calculate Water Use Per Row and Choose Emitter Flow Rate - Choosing an emitter flow rate is one of the most critical components for planning an effective Drip Irrigation System for Vineyards. The decision will determine the number of rows you can water at one time while also impacting the time it takes to effectively water the entire Vineyard.  There are a few factors to take into account when choosing an emitter.  The primary factor is water source available, time to water, and soil type.

In this example we have 42 vines per drip line.  The higher the output of emitter we choose the less time it will take to water the row.  Take for example a day where you would like to give each plant 1 gallons (3.8 Litres) of water.  This would require 84 Gallons Per Row.

Emitter Ouput 1/2 GPH 1 GPH 2 GPH
Time To Water One Row (Hours) 2 Hours 1 Hour .5 Hour
Consumption Rate Per Row (GPH) 21 GPH 42 GPH 84 GPH
Maximum Number of Rows (300 GPH Available) 14** 7 3
Recommended Maximum Rows (75% = 225 GPH) 10 5 2

**Maximum Number of Rows Calculated as 300 GPH ÷ Consumption (for 1/2 GPH Emitter) 21 GPH = 14.28

As you can see as the Emitter output goes up the time to water goes down, and at the same time the number of rows that can be watered at any one time goes down.  We have found most customers have chosen a lower emitter rate to increase the number of rows that can be watered at one time with 1/2 GPH being our most popular.  For pressure compensated drip emitters the lowest available output is 1/2 GPH, however emitters available in Drip Emitter tubing are offered as low as .26 GPH.  

Step 3: Planning Your Zone Layout - When deciding on a zone layout for a Vineyard Drip Irrigation systems we always recommend to be conservative when planning your zone layout.  Having more zones serves a few purposes; firstly it will ensure the zone has adaquate water supply to feed the emitters, and secondly provides more control over the entire system if for instance one zone has been harvested and needs to be shut off from the rest of the system.  

For this illustration we have 15 rows in our Drip System with a recommended maximums of 10,5 , and 2 rows per zone depending on the emitter output used.  Since we have adaquate water supply for the system we will choose a 1 gph emitter to decrease the time to water for each row.  As you can see from the chart we can comfortably split the Vineyard into 3 zones of 5 rows each.  This will ensure adequate water flow for each zone and split the watering system into thirds.  That being said there is nothing wrong with dividing the Vineyard up into smaller zones to provide more control.  This is often done when different varities of vines are grown in the same Vineyard, when one may require a different watering schedule than the other.  

For this example we will continue with 3 zones of 5 rows each and now we can start to put the Vineyard system together.

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