At Pleasant Meadow Creamery, being in a western state, we learned long ago that a Wade Rain Wheel line is absolutely necessary to have green grazing 5 or six months per year.
Prior to getting wheel lines, we would have the fields dry out in early August, and our solo cow would already be looking for hay.
We therefore sought to install an irrigation system. It involved building a dam on the creek and irrigating from the creek. This worked to water one pasture, with one wheel line, but only barely because we would draw the creek down after just two or three hours irrigating and we would have to shut down for ten hours to recharge.
Finally, we sunk real money into putting in an irrigation well. To drill and develop the well (which we developed ourselves) cost over $24,000. It was worth it though, as we now have an irrigation system that can water 45 acres and run 24 hours per day 7 days per week week in and week out.
In a normal year, the system runs either 44 or 55 days, depending on whether we do five runs across the fields or four. This summer is a four pass summer thanks to rains as late as July 8. It has been dry dry dry since then, but not on our fields. Every 11 days, we put down about 2.5 inches of water.
We chose to buy a Wade Rain wheel line because for our pastures, the coverage is excellent, based on shape and size, and they were very affordable versus overhead pivots. Furthermore, Wade Rain parts are readily available and are manufactured in the United States. In fact, there is a company in Spokane, WA that makes many of the components for the wheel line.
We buy our replacement parts through Ragan Equipment in Coeur D Alene – http://raganequipment.com. They have lately become quite the small property tractor store, but formerly were very involved with larger equipment and irrigation systems. Now, they call those smaller tractors “boomers” because of the people who buy them, but that is for another blog post.