Hello everyone,

As I mentioned in my introduction post, we are managing an established blueberry plot (4.25 acres) on my family's homestead farm in south Georgia with almost 2500 mature berry bushes. The berries were not tended for two whole seasons while the farm was on the market, so we must do some serious rehab which includes new natural mulch, organic matter soil amendments, and a complete irrigation system overhaul. The existing overhead sprinler irrigation system is supplied by a deep well with what we suspect is a 5hp pump of unknown specs/mfgr. All we know for certain is that the electrical power and water consumption of that system is ridiculously expensive and inefficient.

That said, we would still need to keep the existing system operable to protect the berries in the event of a late frost. I am currently trying to do my homework on converting the entire field over to drip irrigation, hopefully to be supplied by a combination of rainwater collection and our 2 acre pond.

Checking historical precip data reveals that our location has averaged 47 inches of rainfall annually over the last 30 years. After doing surface area calcs of our buildings, we have a potential of catching 3000 gallons of water per 1" rainfall event.

Some potential issues would be the distance water would need to be pumped from the rainfall tanks and from the pond to the farthest driptape zone headers. The distance from the pond to the farthest zone would be right at 600 feet. The rainwater tank, depending on final location, could be as much as 500 feet from that same zone.

Give these variables, I'm not clear on the best system design approach and suspect that it may be necessary to pump the pond water and rainwater to yet another storage tank that is located more centrally to all the drip zones.

I've uploaded an overhead satellite view of the farm layout from Google Earth in the hopes that someone could make some suggestions on how to most efficiently (cost and function-wise) configure this system and which components to use. We will likely have a bank of IBC totes for rain catchment unless we can find a single 5000 gallon or larger poly tank at a better total cost. Ideally, I would like to have at least 30000 gallons of storage which would enable me to supply the equivalent of a 1" rainfall to the berries directly from storage. But we will likely start with about 5000 gallons and pump the rest from the pond.

We have approx. 11000 linear feet of berry bush rows with 4 foot wide mulch beds and total irrigation surface area of 44000 SF (roughly 1 acre net). After using the drip tape estimator at Dripworks I think it would be best to shoot for a flow rate from the supply of 500 GPH. We could probably make it work with 300 GPH, but the higher flow would allow us to have fewer and larger tape zones in rotation. I want to be able to deliver the equivalent of a 1" weekly rainfall in the event we go for an entire week or more without rain. This would require the system be able to deliver 27000 gallons of water over 7 days. We would be using a 15 mil low-flow 8" OC tape with average row lengths around 275 feet. At 300 GPH flow available, then 80% of available water would be 240 GPH. With this config, we would have 13 zones of 4 tapes each. At this flow rate, it would take about 113 hours to achieve 27000 gallon total delivery. There are 168 hours in one week, so this is doable. However, with 500 GPH available, I can configure seven zones of seven tapes each which would allow us to rotate through the field faster which may help us better reduce heat stress on the bushes during the daytime.

My musings on all this may or may not be relevant, so I am eager to hear what suggestions others may have on what is the best way to go in terms of design, components, and capabilities. I thank you all in advance for any information offered.