Greeley Daily Tribune from Greeley, Colorado on March 9, 1976 · Page 94
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Greeley Daily Tribune from Greeley, Colorado · Page 94

Greeley, Colorado
Issue Date:
Tuesday, March 9, 1976
Page 94
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22-D GREELJEY |C»k..| TRIBUNE TW. M.r. 9,1976 Cenfer piVof irrigation changing shape of agriculture here By LYNN IIEINZE Tribvie Staff Writer Maximum efficiency of water use with minimum loss due to deep percolation or run-off. Natural irrigation adapted to the precise needs of the plant. More efficient fertilizer and pesticide chemical use. Irrigation on lands not adapted to traditional flood irrigation. While these advantages may explain the new shape in agriculture in Weld County today -- round instead of rectangular -- none get to the main reason why the center pivot irrigation systems have become so popular. "Labor is the key to the success of the center pivot system," Gordon Johnson, operations president for the Irrigation and Power Equipment division of the Toro Corporation told the Tribune. The company it located south of Greeley and is the manufacturer of the Raincat center pivot irrigation system. "Labor is the driving force behind the increased popularity of the systems. Growers have found labor either expensive or impossible to find to carry out irrigation duties during the summer. "Let's face it. One man can irrigate 16 or 20 quarters (most of the center pivot systems cover a quarter-section of land, or 160 acres) himself and continue to remain a family farmer. "He doesn't have to search out men to do that job, he does it himself and he can do it with more control and less waste. "He looks at the other advantages too, but it's the labor problem that caused him to decide on the pivot irrigation system." Johnson said. The Irrigation and Power Equipment Company started business in Greeley in 1956, Johnson said. "1 suppose we were a fairly typical company at the time. We sold aluminum pipe, pumps and a few stationary or drag set sprinkler systems. "But there has always been a need for mechanization in irrigation. We sturtes selling what we called a 'germination system' with up to a quarter- mile of pipe and a pump. And a lot of growers used the system to get the crop up when spring conditions were dry and flood methods just didn't do the job," Johnson said. But the fanners started to "rebel against the drudgery of moving the pipes" and the pivot systems came into the picture in the early 1950s. A Denver man had the first idea of moving a pipe around a center pivot. "The Valley people in Nebraska were the first to pick up on the concept. They had a lot of problems, but stuck with it. '"Then the Layne and Dowler Pump Company in California heard of an Australian version of the center,pivot, and sent their engineer* to take a look at the system. "They brought the system to the U.S., developed and modified it and started to manufacture pivot systems mainly for the Pacific northwest. So the name Raincat became known, Johnson said. The Raincat innovations included the use of electric drive, rubber tires and articulated pipe. As the company's popularity grew in this country, a factory was needed here. But difficulties prevented the company from opening the factory and, instead, sold the manufacturing rights to Johnson's group in 1771. The Greeley company's sales have seen a steady 20 per cent per year growth ever since, "ant it looks like the trend will continue," 'Johnson said. The Toro Corporation started negotiations with Irrigation and Power Equipment in 1974 and the company was sold to Toro in February, 1975. "There is no question that the future of the company is bright. There'll be changes in the product to make it more efficient, but I see no end in sight to the acceptance of the system," Johnson said. The use of the center pivot has other labor-savings and energy-savings advantages, Johnson said. "Growers are using the systems for the applications of fertilizers, and chemicals for insect and weed control to a more limited degree. "This kind of use saves labor and energy because a man doesn't have to ride a tractor across the field to apply the chemicals as he would without the pivot system. "But there is another important advantage, especially in the application of fertilizers. Because we're applying the irrigation naturally, the ground isn't sealed over as normally happens. So the plant can take on the fertilizer a little more easily. "And there's less fertilizer to waste, because it can be applied just as the plant needs it. There's no percolation loss, so the pivot system enhances the availability of nutrients to the plant," Johnson said. Because the pivot irrigation systems can be programmed to supply the exact amount of water needed by the plants, many growers have started using soil moisture monitors to gauge those water needs, therefore see consistent growth with a knowledge of the soil profile under (he system, we know how much water Ihe plant can take from the soil. We try (o keep the moisture above the minimum support levels and therefore see consistent growth of the plant. "Under furrow or flood irrigation, we see a staggered growth pattern in the plants. The reason for Ihis is that we saturate the ground in order to push the water through the field and the plants grow rapidly. Then, as the soil dries our between irrigations, growth slows and may even come to a halt during the hot, dry days of summer," Johnson said. But even though a pivol system may operate continuously during the two hottest summer months, Johnson claims a water savings of up to 50 per cent over furrow irrigation methods. "In this area we generally figure that we have to add 24 to 30 inches of water a year to grow a good crop of corn. That's ·what we figure when we add normal rainfall and consider Ihe total amount of water the crop needs to mature. "But in order to gel lhat much usable water to lire crop using furrow or flood irrigation methods it m i g h t lake anywhere from four lo five acre feet of walcr to push it through. "Wilh Hie center pivot, we add just what is needed, when ils needed by Ihe crop. In fad. our research lias shown lhat we can aclually apply even less water w i f h proper liming and soil monitoring and slill have a good crop of corn," Johnson said. In (he fulurc. Johnson sees Ihe pivol systems "on (he best farms in Ihe county. We slarled out in Ihe fringe areas where there were more irrigation problems, where (he land was cheaper and where walcr was a litlle less available. "But even (he best graded lands in (he counly will probably go to the systems because (hey save labor, lime, energy; because they conserve wafer and provide easy, efficient fertilizer and chemical application, and because control is a key advantage," Johnson said. SEES BRIGHT FUTURE IN PIVOT IRRIGATION -Gordon Johnson, operations president for the Irrigation and Power Equipment Company south of Greeley, sees a bright future for the pivot sprinkler irrigation systems. CHANGING THE SHAPE OP AGRICULTURE -- The center pivot irrigation system is changing the shape of agriculture in Weld County and much of the surrounding area. Here a pivot system near Galeton provides controlled, natural irrigation. The system saves labor and water, according to one industry spokesman, Gordon Johnson of Irrigation and Power Equipment. (Tribune photo by Lynn Heintc) HAIRITADE 1227 llth Avenue 356-8711 Here is the greatest piece of construction newspaper enterprise we know of. The T r i b u n e - R e p u b l i c a n h a s engaged Prof. M. E. Knapp of the State Agricultural college to create and conduct a farm department for this paper. This will be nothing more nor less than the agricultural college brought right to the homes of the people of this county. It inaugurates a new era in public service by a newspaper, We consider it the most important announcement ever made by Ihis paper. Prof. Knapp, who is already knnwn In a jrpal many nf lh» Tribune onnounces addition of agricultural agent farmers of Weld county, and to Greeley people through his work here in charge of the Boys and Girls' Garden club two years ago, will have absolutely free rein in the work he has undertaken, which virtually amounts to that of county agriculturist. He will be at the service of Tribune-Republican subscrl- bers, which means, practically every citizen of Weld county, Prof. Knapp is fully equipped for the service by education, business training and practical and technical f a r m i n g knowledge. This work is not undertakn as a hit nf nMlsnlhrnm. h.,t 3. , carefully considered and well organized business, one that can and w i l l i stand upon ils own foundation. Our aim is to make it so useful to UK people of Weld county that no person directly or indirectly interested In farming can afford to be without the Tribune- Republican. The service to the public will be in two forms, through Uie columns of the paper and by direct work among the farmers by Prof. Knapp. We expect to first give the value, and by reason of (his, largely increase the circulation, and consequently the ijcpftilnr.^ nf iho Tribl!??- Republican. That is the com- pcnsalion we ask. This is a work lhat the editor has dreamed of for months. This idea is now a real, vital, throbbing thing of life. It is here wants your cooperation, no matter where you are located, in city or country, whether ownerorlenant.Wewantyouto become a part of this great movement toward better farming that is sweeping the country, and everywhere raising not only the income from the farm but raising tire standard of living. . We want every family in Weld c"un!;' ('.' rend !ho Tribune Republican and we want everyone to make suggestions nnd to ash questions of I'rof. Knapp and his department. Head his column every day. There will be something worth while to some one in every item. It may be your time today, it may be tomorrow that you receive the hint that will save your dollars. Tell your neighbors about this service and make use of it yourself. Call up Prof. Knapp or write to him, and if he can not answer your question off hand he will put you in (ouch with the man who can, if it can be answered, or if your problem can be solved by anyone. lie will come lo your farm and help you if your want him. He is your man. Make use of him. Tribune, Feb. 8,1917. . . .They couldn't fix theirs . But we can fix yours!!! BOB'S WESTVIEWTV 3219 W. 10th St. Phone: 352-8553 Radio, Stereo Television Repairs · Quasar Sales Service Also some good used TV's * * * * * * * ' Chuck wagon time At lunch, cowboys in the trail drives took time lo eat at the chuckwagon. This photo was taken during a drive in October, 1919 and includes a glimpse of some eastern visitors who stopped in to see a "real cattle drive" first-hand. You'll see the Easterners near the center of the photo, a man in a long coat and a woman in furs. =ei=^=^ =/*** Salzman's Shoe Repair 911 8th Ave. and Shoe Healer Greeley Mall YESTERDAY and TODAY The Finest In Shoe Repair r-=v*T,i. 7\Tm Wife important Concerns of agriculture in the | mid-1800s were limited to new crops and livestock, better farming practices and west- , ward expansion. Right? Wrong! At least one physician of that day was prompted to write rather pointedly on the hardships of farmers' wives. Here's some advice he gave back then: "Few things will bring a more certain and happy reward lo a farmer than for him to lemeiubei hit wife is a social being; (hat she is not a machine, and therefore needs rest, and recreation, and change. "No farmer will lose in the long run, either In money, health, or domestic comfort, en'*»yment and downright Y pi ness, by allotting an oc- .sional afternoon, from mid- jay until bedtime, to visiting purposes. SEERY SERVICE featuring Mobil Products at 6 locations in the area. Seen/ Service 1300 - 8th Ave. Seen/ Service 1110 -28th Ave. Seery Service Hillside 2501-nth Ave. Gas Bar 2134 - 8th Ave. Mobile Car Wash 3102 - 10th St. Kwikki Car Wash Eaton, Colo.

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