High Yield and High Quality Corn in Chihuahua
Growers are saving money with Rivulis subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) systems
Despite the uncertainty lingering in the environment, corn growers from Chihuahua have been able to save water and obtain higher yields and high quality corn thanks to subsurface drip irrigation’s (SDI) innovative technologies. The implementation of Rivulis irrigation systems have enabled Chihuahua’s corn growers to save up to 50% water and increase their yields by 33%, at the same time. After replacing their furrow irrigation system, Jacobo Enns from “Agrícola Granos de Valle” says that he is very happy with the savings that Rivulis system has helped them achieve.
Calling drip tape a “beautiful addition” to his irrigation program, Dale Ockels says it has allowed him to grow high-quality crops in areas of fields that are inaccessible to pivot irrigation.
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“Our yields on drip tape are right up there with pivots,” Ockels says. “There’s no yield lag, no issues in that way at all.”
Ockels is one of three brothers running the farm started by his father in the 1940s in Milton, DE. Ockels Farm grows corn, soybeans and wheat on nearly 4,000 acres. They do a strong rotation of half corn and half beans, although half of the soybeans are a double crop behind winter wheat, he says.
Ockels began using drip tape, specifically Rivulis T-Tape, five years ago on a small, 28-acre field. Because most farmers in his area did not use drip tape, he turned to local retailer Vincent Farms for advice. The company’s recommendation was T-Tape, and it provided expertise throughout the installation process.“That first T-Tape system has been in for five years and we’ve had great experience with it,” Ockels says. “Since then, we’ve put in more systems, and our T-Tape acreage is producing just as well as the acres with the pivots. We’ve lost no yield and are really happy with it.”
Drip Tape Fits Anywhere
The light sandy soil at his farm makes irrigation necessary for a good yield, Ockels says. And he was losing yield in the corners of square fields where the circular pattern of the pivot couldn’t reach, or in small or odd-shaped fields.
“Drip tape will go anywhere and fit into any situation as far as we’ve been able to see,” Ockels says. “Our T-Tape systems have taken corners where we were lucky to get 100 bushels of corn to now, where we can get more than 200 bushels without any issues at all.”
Making the acreage more productive benefits the larger community as well, Ockels says. He rents a lot of his land, and the amount of rent is based on bushels per acre. With the T-Tape allowing Ockels to use nearly every piece of land and get a better return, he pays a higher rent. “So the whole circle of us is happier,” he says.
Ockels says he does quite a bit of fertigation through his pivot systems and is also doing it through the T-Tape. While you have to be more particular about the products you use in drip tape, he says, it works well.
Installation is Simple and Affordable
Ockels was also pleased with the cost of installation and the ease of the process itself.
“Installation is no more of a problem than any other irrigation,” he says. “If you’ve got a good dealer, which we do, and a good support system with that dealer, they handle all of that. For us there were no issues with the installation, and it was a big selling point to have Vincent Farms there to take care of us.
“The installation cost is very similar to pivot. Obviously, the bigger a pivot is, the cheaper it is per acre, and that’s not necessarily true with drip tape. But again, we’re not working on big acreages. We’re doing those corners where we couldn’t do anything with a pivot. In the smaller fields drip tape is a better investment per acre because you get all of the acres. For us, it’s been a good investment.”