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Downes Nursery: Water Course Set

Agricultural & Farming Site Report

In Sydney’s western suburbs preparation for the opening of Downes Wholesale Nursery’s new site is picking up pace. The irrigation system is well in hand, as Warren Downes explains.

With its opening only weeks away, Downes’ Wholesale Nursery’s new Theresa Park facility is being fitted with a state-of-the-art irrigation system designed specifically for the 58-hectare site on Sydney’s western fringe. More than three kilometres of 200- millimetre and 150mm PVC main line have been laid for the irrigation system and a sophisticated pump station is ready to be commissioned in the next few days.

Being freshly dug, the dam has a lot of suspended particles in the water so before the irrigation can be used it has to be settled.

Rather than set up an expensive injection system to add flocculent, Downes’ Wholesale Nursery has used a non-toxic polymer-based brick flocculent which simply needs water flowing over it.

Once the dam has been initially settled, the wetlands area will take over to keep the water clean. The Rain Bird LF1200 sprinkler heads have been set out in a triangle formation for superior performance in windy conditions.

To tie the irrigation system together and control the solenoids and weather sensors, the business has chosen Rain Bird’s SiteControl system, which features a graphic interface which will display a map of the nursery on a computer as well as maps of the pipework and solenoid valves which will be able to be adjusted simply by clicking on their icons.

One thing the Downes have noticed in a lot of nurseries is that the owners are often unaware what their pumps are capable of. To overcome this, SiteControl can communicate with the pump station to check on available pressure and turn extra valves either on or off during the irrigation cycle to shorten complete cycle times.

SiteControl can also communicate with the nursery’s temperature sensors, anemometer and rain tipping bucket and make adjustments to the irrigation cycle as needed, such as turning on frost control and pausing irrigation during rain.

This all helps to make sure the nursery is using its water wisely.

Extracts reprinted with kind permission from Australian Horticulture, October 2005 edition.