The island of Maré is a small gem in the middle of the Pacific on which many avocados, letchis and various citrus fruits are grown. Water being a scarce resource, optimizing its use for irrigation is an important challenge. The plot on which Aqualone has been installed is called a case orchard, which is a form of agroforestry with fruit trees of several species, having different ages and which are not planted in rows. This document presents the installation carried out.
IRRIGATION WITH AN ARROW HOSE
Irrigation water comes under pressure from the drinking water supply system. Prior to the installation of Aqualone, the network was divided into two main branches on which valves were installed every 30m. The 20m garden hose was moved from tap to tap to water the entire plot. This meant one full day of work per week, just for irrigation.
The purpose of the Aqualone installation is to free up time for the farmer and his family, while bringing water when the plant really needs it. The farmer hopes in this way to ensure the results of his next harvests and possibly increase the quantities produced.
A SINGLE AQUALONE FOR ALL TREES
To compare Aqualone with the hose irrigation system, a specific network was installed on 50 of the 200 trees in the plot. A “T” and two volumeters have been installed to compare the consumption of the two solutions.
Only one Aqualone PLUS was then installed for all the trees. For more details on installing Aqualone PLUS, read our guide Setting up Aqualone PLUS.
How do I know whether to use Aqualone 1000 or Aqualone PLUS?
If the delivery rate exceeds 1000L/h, Aqualone PLUS must be installed. The delivery rate is the sum of the flow rates of all drippers in the plot. Here, the 50 trees will be irrigated with drippers with adjustable flow rates ranging from 0 to 40L/h. If the 50 trees need to have their dripper open at a maximum of 40 L/h, the delivery rate will be 50 x 40L/h = 2000L/h. The Aqualone PLUS version was installed with a 1″ hydraulic valve.
Since the trees all have different needs (several species and planting dates), we have favoured the installation of adjustable flow rate drippers at the foot of each tree. The dose can be adjusted for each plant, for the same amount of irrigation. Thus, Aqualone can easily irrigate plants with very different needs.
SETTING UP THE IRRIGATION NETWORK AND DRIPPERS
After installing Aqualone Plus, a 12mm inner diameter polyethylene pipe was deployed and snakes to go to the foot of each tree. This pipe will then be buried to facilitate the cleaning operations of the plot.
The drippers are then spiked on this pipe and placed at the foot of each tree. The drippers have a small 6mm tube that allows them to be moved easily without moving the 12mm inner diameter tube. The drippers are then adjusted according to the needs of each plant. A flow rate of 10L/h was initially defined.
The first few days are important for fine-tuning the flow rate of the drippers. It is a question of bringing water as close as possible to the needs of the plant. For more information on setting Aqualone, read our guide Adjusting Aqualone PLUS.
The irrigation of the orchard is now autonomous, and all this very simply, without electricity!