Term 4 – Week 3 – Irrigation Installation

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View of orchards using a water race and dams to get water

The new frost fighting irrigation system for the young apricot trees was installed this week. The system is constructed from PVC pipes underground, steel uprights and overhead impact sprinklers.

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Team leader Bruce sizing up the job

Luckily for us students a digger dug out all the trenches for the new pipes. We just had to hand dig more carefully around the existing pipes.

The pipes were laid and joined up using a primer and PVC glue. The primer is important as it etches and cleans the pipe before gluing. Twist the fitting a half turn to smear the glue evenly. Hold firmly for about 90 seconds for it to set. It will take at least an hour to dry, up to 24 hours to dry fully.

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Primer application

Once everything was dry the water was turned on to check for leaks and to flush out any gravel or grit that had gotten into the pipes. The first sprinklers at the start of the system were added to the top of the uprights after the initial flush and then flushed again. Then the same again for the next section. This is because the water pressure is strongest at the start of the system and adding the sprinklers moves the pressure down the system, flushing out anymore dirt that was stuck in the corners of the pipes.

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Frost fighting impact sprinklers in action

Also this week I got to have my first go on the Hydralada. The controls to move it are all under your feet (which can be a problem if you lose your balance!), push your toes down to go forward, heels to go back, left toe to turn right, right toe to turn left etc. There is another control in the middle of your feet that moves the ladder up and down. It feels much higher than it looks when you are up there! It’s really stable though, and you can still keep driving it from up in the air.

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Learning to use the Hydralada

Last week’s weather:

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