Lucerne flourishes under Floppy

All the water in the Orange River is of no use if you cannot get it on your lucerne efficiently and profitably, says Willem van Zyl of Orania.

Until a year or two ago Willem was a dry-land farmer in the Standerton district. When he bade the dry-lands farewell to be an irrigation farmer at Orania he was determined to do it right. He thoroughly investigated all options before deciding on an irrigation system.

An overhead Floppy system met all his requirements and his choice is confirmed every day that it is in use:

  • It is more efficient and uses less water per hectare to achieve the same results as other systems.
  • Once the Floppy has been put up it requires minimal labour.
  • Land abutting the Orania canals is precious and has to be utilised to the fullest extent. The overhead Floppy competes extremely well with other systems in cost terms and there are no waste pieces.
  • The Floppy system can be used to irrigate fields of any shape and sections can be logically laid out. Willem’s lucerne land is divided into three 6-hectare sections and the remainder is used for trial plantings of maize and wheat in association with the ARC.
  • The Floppy system enables Willem to apply liquid fertiliser and caterpillar remedies even when it is raining.
  • Willem is particularly impressed with the Floppy’s perfectly uniform droplet size which, just like rain, falls evenly and does not run off or compact the soil. Willem irrigates his lucerne in three-hour cycles to ensure thorough wetting without waste - even here, next to the Orange River, farmers believe in water use without wastage.
  • Floppy’s expert assistance with the planning and measuring out of the system as well as their good advice concerning the erection and operation of the system are very important advantages.

Willem put up the poles and overhead cables himself, but employed a company to install the underground anchors so that he could commission the system as quickly as possible. 

Willem is harvesting 18 tonnes of lucerne per hectare in his first year and expects to cut 25 tonnes or more next year. This means that the Floppy system will have paid for itself within a single season, he says with a satisfied grin. And from now on it is pure profit, because the Floppy has no gearboxes and wheels and micro-switches and fiddly bits that keep going wrong and costing money.

Do you also want to get the most from your water? Talk to Johan Hiemstra of Floppy Sprinkler at (013) 752-4252.