Building a Sprinkler System

Back in 2004 when Cyndi and I bought the farm, as they say, it was just some flood irrigated pasture land that had not been farmed for a lot of years. After deciding we wanted to grow Alfalfa there for our horses and livestock we set out to come up with a good design for irrigation.  To make the most of my time there since we still worked and live in Southern NV. it was decided to put in a underground pipe to bring our canal water some 10,000 + feet from the canal out to our place. This meant crossing one road and three adjoining farms to get there. After contacting all of the land owners and working out the details with them and permits in hand from the local Sevier County guys we went to work.

It was the fall of 2005 when the work really got started after farming was done for the summer on the other adjoining fields we had to cross during the underground phase. I started to dig the 4 foot deep trench by 24″ wide with a 420d Cat backhoe ( my first backhoe ) at about 100 feet or less an hour I could see this was not going to be a high speed operation. All of the PVC pipe, fittings and supplies had shown up back during the summer. The pipe & fittings all came in on three double trailer semi’s, it was quite a stockpile of pipe. Then another semi for the pivot pipes, pumps, frame pieces, wheels and other parts. We had gone with an full sized elevated hydraulic controlled pivot from TL Pivots from Redmond Irrigation up the road in Redmond, UT. The pivot installation was taken care by them thru Tim Wallace, a local contractor who saved me more then once out there over the next couple of years while I learned about the pivot. 

My son Clint and started to dig over a weekend while he was there, both of us are used to running heavy equipment for moveing dirt – not backhoes. So this was a slow start but we both learned fast and soon we were well on our way to digging maybe 75 – 100 feet an hour, oh boy were moving now.  After the first day or so you start asking your self “Are we done yet” and we were not off of our field yet.  Once reaching the southwest corner of my field I went back and installed the first pipe heading away from the base of the pivot to the corner of our field.  This was 10″ pipe and these sections went for maybe the first 2,000 feet or so. So far I was on my own and feeling pretty good about what had been done – it had been maybe a week or so. Winter was coming and I was thinking I would run out of time since most of the time I was the only working on the water line. So I enlisted the help of a couple of local guys Seth Lundgreen and Justin Jensen to help lay pipe as I kept digging. This helped speed things up pretty good and by this point I was up to digging maybe 200 feet an hour. One of my cousins who is in the underground business told me I should be digging up to 300 feet an hour. So while I’m digging away out there I was always thinking of how to get faster along with singing to myself along with the radio.  I was told by the help not to quit my day job as I was no singer.

Two weeks into the job I reached the paved road to the south of us, by crossing the west edge of the two farms south of our place. Seth and Justin had been running right along behind me all the way installing all the pipe which had now reached 12″ in diameter, I then back filled the trench each evening before moving on.  Once reaching the road we had to have a local underground company, Claw Construction from Ephraim, UT come in and bore under the paved road. County requirements had to be met, as it was a non cut road. This part was pretty cool to watch as they set up on each side of the road by digging pits to locate all of the buried underground lines.  Some had been there for maybe 60 years. Once found they set up the boring machine on the north side of the road this would handle the boring operation and leave a 18″ steel casing pipe under the road along with our 12″ PVC water line inside of it once completed. They did all of this by mid November. 

Winter was moving in fast now and with a ways still to go I hired the guys from Brotherson Excavating from Mt. Pleasant, UT to move in and finish up the last 2,500 feet or so. This was all going to be larger 15″diameter PVC pipe and had another crossing to make that required another steel casing pipe. This casing pipe was a 24″ by 30 feet long piece and had to be placed under the existing canal that carries water pretty much full time. We had it closed it down for 24 hours while we crossed it. These guys made real fast work of what was left. They came in with a full crew of 5 guys, a frontend loader along with an excavator and my back hoe they were done in two days. This only left the head gate concrete work which was done by Busk Concrete of Richfield. No sooner had we got done and the nice fall weather changed to winter in just a day or two. That was close.  I think that head gate was installed in March of 2006, water came in to the canal around the 25th of April – no leaks !

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