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

Richard Moyer ramoyer at gmail.com
Mon Jun 6 14:45:58 EDT 2011

Was asked:
>If you leave it in the field, how do you work the fields up with it in
>there? Are you using a no-till system, and relying on herbicides?

As Todd pointed out, care in gently moving goes a long way.  I also
try to avoid stressing it on a hot day when it's empty, as it gets
quite soft.

As for our system, when we gathered it into bundles and stored it in
the barn, some insect? made two identical holes on one side of the
tape, looking something like a snake bite.  So we now store most of it
in the field, horizontally.  Because we grow in 4 irregularly shaped
fields, it's easiest to keep the drip-tape pieces close to their
particular field.  Sometimes gently moving it to one side of the
field, 80-100 foot section at time, resulting in a pile of it like
spaghetti in a box.  But more often moving pieces over, off one to a
few beds, working the beds, them putting it back.  Also leaving it in
place, sowing cover crop over it and allowing residual legumes and
grasses grow, then in the spring taking the end caps offs and pulling
it out of the field lengthwise before mowing cover crops.  We graze
milk goats on the forbs in the cover crops fall/winter, so far they've
not chewed on the drip lines (sound like Carla's critters are much

Having said all this, realize I don't have hired labor, or kids who
operate much power equipment.  That could be a game-changer on the TLC
drip tape is given.

We've always used ours on top of the ground.  Often on top of mulch so
we can see it, usually right beside plant stalks, so if we slice into
the drip line, we run the risk of hitting crops as well.

Need to go rotate the watering now.
Richard Moyer

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