Finding a way to keep fields perfectly hydrated and properly draining while saving water is one of the biggest challenges that field managers face. Thankfully there is a variety of new technology available to help ease your water woes. Here’s a look at some of the latest advancements in irrigation and drainage products.

Hunter Industries

One of the biggest impacts new technology has had on the irrigation industry is increasing water efficiency.

Photos courtesy of Hunter Industries.

According to Troy Leezy, senior marketing manager for Hunter Industries (http://www.hunterindustries.com), “New technologies have allowed us to become more advanced in irrigation control and sprinkler efficiency. Smart control and high-efficiency nozzles are providing users with water savings of up to 50 percent compared to systems used in the past. The overall increase in the breadth of irrigation products has grown to provide solutions for difficult and complex areas that were nearly impossible to irrigate before.”

Hunter is an industry leader in efficiency, announcing this summer that all Hunter AC-powered controllers will carry the WaterSense label when paired with the appropriate Solar Sync sensor. Using on-site weather data, the Solar Sync sensor adjusts daily run times on Hunter controllers to maximize water savings. Controllers to carry the WaterSense label include Hunter’s X-Core, Pro-C, I-Core and ACC product families.

Micro Rain

For field managers with limited budgets who are looking for flexibility with watering systems, traveling sprinklers can be a good alternative to inground irrigation systems.

Photos courtesy of Micro Rain.

Traveling sprinkler systems from Micro Rain (http://www.microrain.net) are portable, a useful feature for turf pros managing multiple-field complexes. The systems can also be used for rinsing and cooling synthetic turf fields.

There are a variety of models available, including the MR63, which features a 2.1-inch hose that is 328 feet in length. The MR63 can utilize up to 140 gallons of water per minute for efficient full-field coverage.

Spectrum Technologies

Photos courtesy of Spectrum Technologies.

With water restrictions becoming increasingly prevalent across the country, turf managers are under constant pressure to maintain healthy fields while reducing water consumption. In these situations, soil moisture monitors can be a valuable tool in your equipment arsenal.

Jacob Madden, director of marketing for Spectrum Technologies, Inc. (http://www.specmeters.com), said, “Turf managers are going to need to do more with less, meaning that they will need to identify the appropriate times to water . . . only when the turf needs watering. The ability to monitor soil moisture levels will become even more important as we look forward.”

Spectrum’s TDR 300 is a hand-held meter that allows users to spot-check moisture levels (volumetric water content) with the press of a button. All of the soil moisture data is logged, helping field managers to regulate irrigation.

And brand new from Spectrum, the FieldScout GreenIndex+ Turf smartphone app provides a turf health rating based on photos taken by the user. Field managers snap turf pictures, and the app calculates the DGCI (dark green color index) and correlates it to visual ratings. Users can customize the visual rating calculation for different species of grass and specific fields.

STEC Equipment

Drainage is a key piece of the water management puzzle, and a properly draining field can help prevent rainouts and hazardous conditions. Technological advancements have led to a myriad of new options in trenching equipment.

The TDT 400 wheel trencher from STEC Equipment (http://www.stecequipment.com is a tractor-mounted, disc-type trencher designed with field managers in mind. The machine creates trenches from 2 to 4 inches wide and up to 16 inches deep and can be used for installing secondary drainage and irrigation.

Photo courtesy of STEC Equipment.

STEC’s new trencher, the TCT, has a two-piece elevating conveyor for soil removal and creates trenches from 4 to 12 inches wide and up to 4 feet deep. There are several tooth options available.

These new equipment options are designed to meet the challenge of increasingly complex drainage and irrigation systems, according to Jason Sentell, director of sales and marketing for STEC. He says, “Today’s drainage systems are more complex in design, generally taking into account concepts such as slope, percolation rate and other factors. New trenching technology allows machines to be laser-controlled, matching grade automatically, without additional control from the operator.”Photo courtesy of STEC Equipment.

Varicore Technologies

Technological advancements have brought the invention of new solutions to irrigation and drainage dilemmas.

Photo courtesy of Varicore Technologies.

Arnold Plowman, senior sales and marketing manager for Varicore Technologies (http://www.varicore.com), says, “The drainage and irrigation industries have developed to the point that there are products on the market that will meet just about any design need presented.”

Varicore’s Multi-Flow drainage system is designed to provide an overall soil water management strategy. It uses a uniquely shaped pipe with a flat profile, rather than traditional round pipes.Photo courtesy of Varicore Technologies.