With help from Envirofluid, this citrus grower solved the problem of clogged irrigation drippers. 88 percent of the farm’s equipment was restored to full function after using Triple7 Envirobore.
The citrus industry uses millions of low-volume, under-tree irrigation drippers that save water whilst providing irrigation. These drippers can become clogged with particulate and organic matter, necessitating the physical removal of each clogged dripper to unclog it with a piece of wire, before reinstalling. For some orchardists, this routine maintenance was required once a year to solve the problem.
An Australian citrus orchard was irrigated using gray water from a sewerage plant and the under-line drippers became clogged with a chewing gum-like matter. It had to be cleared every two weeks which had become a costly problem. 25 drippers had also become inoperative over time and the company faced having to procure new drippers if the situation wasn’t resolved.
The challenge lay in finding a method or product that would unclog the drippers and restore the inoperative equipment so they could once again be utilised.
Envirofluid supplied the citrus orchard with Triple7 Envirobore, a non-toxic and non-corrosive pipework and bore cleaner. It is specially formulated to safely remove iron bacteria, slime, and odours without harming crops or plant life. The product is derived from renewable resources, readily biodegradable, and is safe to use, store, and dispose of.
The orchard prepared an experimental site of 7.4 acres of citrus trees, with a spacing of 8 metres between rows by 5 metres between the trees. Three days before the trial, 25 inoperative drippers (i.e., drippers with very little to no flow) were tagged with flagging tape. Some additional drippers were tagged and numbered, three of which had a few small squirts as flow, whilst nine had a few droplets of flow.
On the same day, a metering pump was installed with a 200-litre polyethylene drum of Triple7 Envirobore for metering at 0.02%. The metering pump was manually turned off when finished. The drippers were irrigated and the metering pump turned on for 6 hours on 1st July. On 2nd July, the irrigation and pump were turned on at 9:00am for assessment of the treatment. Flagged drippers were assessed for function, photographed; plugged drippers were physically cleared.
All of the 25 inoperative drippers were restored to full function. Five of the nine numbered drippers were fully functional after the treatment. The drippers were pulled on the remaining four plugged units. These clogged drippers contained particulate matter, sand particles, insect pupae cases, and insect parts.
Of the 34 nonfunctional drippers, 30 (88%) were restored to full function, while four (12%) remained nonfunctional due to untreatable particulate matter. The 88% success rate achieved with a constantly plugged and partially functional irrigation system was deemed phenomenal. The system continues to operate at an injection rate of 0.001% of Triple7 Envirobore to determine long-term performance.