Though El Niño is predicted to bring heavy precip to California during winter 2015, a crapshoot factor is still in effect for the roughly one-half of the continental United States that is, to one degree or another, suffering from drought conditions.
The impact on this country’s food production is astronomical and growing. In California alone – and in 2014 alone – crop revenue losses attributable to the drought totaled nearly $1 billion, according to the Economic Analysis of the 2014 Drought for California Agriculture produced by the University of California at Davis and published on line at https://watershed.ucdavis.edu/files/biblio/Economic_Impact_of_the_2014_California_Water_Drought_1.pdf.
But when the going gets tough, American ingenuity gets tougher, as shown by Irrigation Accessories Co. in Vancouver, WA. For more than 50 years the company has manufactured water-saving ag irrigation products, the latest of which is dubbed “Innovative Boom Technology” with the use of its trademarked Boombacks on pivots.
Company owner Jon Johnston, who started with IAC in 1982 as a temp, found his engineering niche in irrigation design and purchased the operation in recent years, said Boom Technology was developed initially to address carrot germination under pivots. The success with that commodity led to other applications, including onions.
“It works very well with onions, and we have a grower in Prosser, WA, who’s increased his use of Booms incrementally over the past several years,” he said, noting that the Booms are quite effective in irrigating tight soils where runoff is a problem.
“Some growers have seen a 33 percent decrease in water usage along with an increase in yields and quality,” Johnston said.
Johnston, who heads up the R&D department at his company, said the design is relatively simple: “By using Boombacks to spread the water out nearing the end of a pivot, you lower the instantaneous application rate, allowing the soil to make full use of the water being applied. Water dispersal unit technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, and it is time to use those advancements to their fullest potential.”
He added, “This new technology not only reduces water usage but also diminishes runoff, resulting in lessened soil erosion and compaction. Runoff is one of the most environmentally sensitive issues in irrigation. Runoff results in unused water and fertilizers being carried into lakes, rivers and streams. Runoff also means lower application efficiency increasing operating costs. Soil erosion is a pollutant issue also resulting in lost fertilizer and lower overall crop growth.”
The company also manufactures Dry Wheel Track, which minimizes wheel tracking and reduces ruts.
For more information on Boomback technology, visit the company at www.boombacks.com.