High Rise Farms, located just north of Morgan Hill installed a new buried row crop drip irrigation system in 1993. The amount of the CEC loan was $42,700.

The installation of the drip irrigation system on the Peppers did provide significant improvements in the amount of water use, energy required and yield increases especially in the first year of operation (1993) and the third year of operation (1995). The second year of the project (1994) did not have yield increases. The primary lessons learned from this project included:

  • The yield differential between drip and the furrow irrigation methods was attributed to the ability to irrigate during multiple pickings with drip. Using furrow irrigation, the ranch has experienced tremendous losses between pickings.
  • The problem encountered in the second year was root intrusion of the drip tape. This problem was alleviated in 1995 by replacing the original tape with tape having improved root intrusion prevention characteristics along with maintaining a lowered irrigation system pH. In addition, the grower modified the operation to use a removable surface drip system. This reduced the plugging problems and added more flexibility for the purpose of crop rotation.
  • The grower plans on increasing the drip irrigation acreage by another 100 acres in 1996. This CEC project helped provide the seed money to get the farm involved with drip irrigation.
  • Energy Use Efficiency, Water Use Efficiency and Yield, all of which relate production to resource, were significantly improved on average over the three study years under the drip irrigation.
  • Excellent irrigation management of the bell peppers results in yield increases. The yields can be maintained at high levels if the drip irrigation system is carefully watched and correctly operated.


Bioresource and Agricultural Engineering

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URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/bae_fac/123