Scaling Up Irrigation & Frost Protection Systems: Kiwifruit Case Study
AgFirst Engineering worked with PoriPori Trust to develop their existing irrigation system on their green and gold kiwifruit orchard. Their old irrigation system was too small and not suitable for a larger kiwifruit development. Not having an appropriate irrigation system in place can create many issues such as crop failure through lack of water and crop damage due to frost.
The PoriPori orchard has previously suffered significant frost damage on the gold kiwifruit blocks, with nearly 70% of last year's crop experiencing damage.
The new system was required to have the capacity to successfully irrigate and protect 40 hectares of fruit against frost. This includes the existing 16 hectare orchard and the additional 24 hectares of future kiwifruit development.
AgFirst Engineering’s Design:
Two new bores were installed that supplied a new 15 million litre storage pond. The pond is used to have the water capacity to frost protect the entire 40 hectare orchard when it is developed to its full extent
Two containerised diesel pump sets are used for the frost protection requirements with the third electric pump used for irrigation requirements. A new 300mm ringmain was installed to supply the existing orchard and offtakes for the future orchard areas.
The existing orchard was divided into new irrigation zones with new components installed. The orchard utilises a dual purpose sprinkler system on a stake, below the orchard canopy for irrigation and above canopy during frost protection.
The system has been designed on a max flow rate during frost protection of 720m3/hr when the orchard is fully developed, 360m3/hr per diesel unit.
The system is fully automated on a control system that has remote access. Live information via telemetry is recorded to an online access portal where an individual can view critical information, including weather station data, pond filling status and pond level, diesel pump fuel level and other sensors. The control system allows remote starting and stopping of the system and adjusting of set points. The control system has different levels of access, which allows key staff to have the ability to view data, whilst managers have higher levels of access to program and operate the system.
If you too are looking at improving your irrigation and frost protection system, get in touch with AgFirst Engineering. The team of water technicians can help ensure your orchard’s irrigation system is performing optimally, improving efficiency, sustainability and productivity.