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First Subsurface Drip System

First Subsurface Drip System for Crops Being Installed in the Oklahoma Panhandle

Subsurface drip system
This subsurface drip irrigation system is the first to be cost-shared in the Oklahoma panhandle.

Oklahoma Panhandle farmer George Freeman had a surface furrow irrigation system that had application efficiencies of only 60-65 percent. He thought he could be a better manager of his water, so he contacted the Guymon NRCS field office to change to drip irrigation. This change will improve his efficiency to near 95 percent, which is typical for drip systems.

Freeman's application was approved and the Guymon office is cost sharing the first subsurface drip irrigation system in the Oklahoma panhandle. The system is being installed on 80 acres of Freeman's farm just west of Goodwell. Rick Schlegel, state irrigation engineer, approved the system design in October, along with the water quality sample of the water source.

Freeman is using a GPS guidance system on his tractor to install the drip tapes on a 60" spacing. The tapes are placed about 14" below the surface. The overall design is based on a 4.0 gpm per acre water supply watering a total of 13 zones. The system will be capable of applying 0.21" of water to the entire field per day. Freeman plans to grow cotton on the field.

In addition to saving water, the system also saves time. Freeman can now water the whole field in one day, in contrast to the furrow system which took several days. This will help him during droughty periods when the crops are using a lot of water. This field under furrow irrigation did not have an adequate quantity of water to serve 80 acres and meet peak crop needs. The drip system will get more water to the plants and should be able to meet crop demands.

By Rick Schlegel, NRCS agricultural engineer, Woodward, OK
NRCS March 2008

Last Modified: 03/19/2008

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