[Market-farming] Old drip tape--why does some last longer?

Richard Moyer ramoyer at gmail.com
Sun Jun 5 19:34:28 EDT 2011


"I agree with you on the economics of time, though maybe a heavier mil
tape would lessen that issue."

While at a regional conference this spring, the presenter recommended
drip irrigation, but then shared its negative of one more input to be
purchased each year, every other at most.
A guy near me in the audience said he'd been using his for 4 years.
And I'm on our 5th year with the same pieces of Toro Aqua Traxx 10 mil
(mid-weight), not 8 mil (light weight, 25% cheaper).  The two
presenters were surprised, and I was glad to meet someone else with
multi-year use.

Those of you wanting it to last longer, are you using mid-weight (10
mil) or heavy-weight (15 mil) or only the 8 mil or similar?

Interesting thread, as my daughter and I were setting up driplines for
her okra and sunflowers yesterday, commenting on how well ours has
lasted and how few holes it has (0-2 repairs per 80-100 ft section).
When we bought and installed 6000 ft of lines 5 years ago, we also
bought a bag of 50 repair connectors, and we've yet to repair that
many holes.  We do have black tape a few places, but more of the
orange connectors in place.

Locally, market growers tend to throw it all away, and tell new
growers it won't last a second season.  (I realize the advantage of a
new roll with a bed shaper and drip-line layer.)  A family we know
threw away thousands of feet last year, being told reuse wasn't worth
the trouble, so they did so reluctantly.  When we told them we were
into year 4, there was a head slapping moment.  With many kids at home
this family has more labor, than money to purchase inputs.

So two sets of questions:
---Why is my drip tape lasting so long?  We leave it out in the field
for years at a time, not even bothering to bring it in.  For those of
you where it only lasts one year, are you using the thinnest weight
possible?  If so, at what point would paying 25% more for mid-weight
be worth it, especially if you loath throwing it away?
---For those of you getting rid of it all each year, to avoid the
hassles of storage or reuse, could you share it with someone who
could/would use it, at least those pieces without holes, especially if
mid-weight?  Not sure if Craig's list, Ebay or local ad is best mode.
But new, 100ft sections sell for $10-15/100 ft, whereas 6000 ft rolls
cost less than $3/100 ft.  Those pieces you have that do not leak, can
they be donated to, or gleaned by, local community ag groups?

Richard Moyer
SW VA, where we need rain


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