Mid-South Extension, NRCS offer free loaner flowmeters

The speed at which water moves past the propellers is measured by the flowmeter. It can be quickly attached and detached from a well outlet.

Several portable flowmeters are available as loaners free of charge for growers to use to check well output. Having well-production data is the first step needed to use Pipe Planner, a free online program that calculates hole placement and irrigation polytubing size for multiple inlet rice irrigation.

Depending on the location, some flowmeters are available for check out while others come with professional assistance.

“The biggest bottle neck for completing Pipe Planner plans and saving water is having an accurate measurement of water discharge from your well,” Matt Lindsey, Delta Plastics director of irrigation resources, said in a news release.

University of Arkansas studies have found that multiple inlet rice irrigation saves an average of 25 percent water compared to conventional flow-throw irrigation systems.

Even if you’ve started pumping, it’s not too late to use a flowmeter to double check your well output. You also can get a jump on developing a Pipe Planner irrigation program for 2018.

Many farmers have already benefited from free flowmeters. Fred Black, a Desha County, Ark., producer was one of those who borrowed a flowmeter and received assistance from Colton Rutherford of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“I am always looking for ways to reduce costs on my farm,” Black said in the release. “I have heard good things about Pipe Planner. This was just that little help I needed to get started.”

Providing flowmeters is in response to grower feedback and requests for help. It also is part of the H2O Initiative commitment to reduce irrigation water use by 20 percent by 2020.

Founded in 2014, the H2O Initiative is a collaborative effort among Mid-South irrigation leaders.

For a list of where loaner flowmeters are available, visit Delta Plastics.

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