Home On The Range #005: Livestock Proof Irrigation

   09.04.20

Home On The Range #005: Livestock Proof Irrigation

Welcome to our reoccurring series of “Home on the Range.” Here, we would like to share all of our experiences for those who may be homesteading, living off the land, hunting, farming, ranching, and truly investing in nature and the great outdoors. The ability to provide for yourself and your family can be tremendously rewarding and simultaneously difficult at times. So, in “Home on the Range” we want to share our different exploits so you can learn and hopefully we can receive your feedback along the way as well.

When It’s Time To Pull out the Big Guns

Old wheel line

Livestock will never cease to surprise you at how adept they can be at breaking stuff.  Fences, pens, farm equipment, and especially irrigation equipment can all be targets of their wrath or boredom.  Whatever the motivation, its always frustrating when pasture irrigation infrastructure gets damaged by the very livestock you are trying to grow forage for.  At current operation, I had been left copious hand and (ancient) wheel line by the previous owner.  The acreage I have as fenced pasture is not very big, only about 20 acres total.  I did not want to deal with equipment constantly getting broken by my stock, or moving stock and irrigation equipment back and forth between divided pasture. Therefore, I settled on using long-throw sprinklers to cover the pasture while being all but impervious to livestock damage.

Hooked up and ready to run

Nelson Big Guns come in 4 different sizes, which are determined by gallons per minute flow rate.  After consulting with the local irrigation supply company, I chose the 100 Series Big Gun.  With the appropriate nozzle and pressure, the 100 series can cover an area up to 380ft in diameter.  That’s a range of 63 yards from the nozzle!  If you have the water pressure to do it, the Nelson 200 series can cover an area a whopping 620ft in diameter.

Operation and application

Limiter plates

The big gun heads are easy enough to attach and detach when using them in a solid-set role.  This gives you the flexibility of moving heads around easily if you don’t want to be running all stations at once.  The heads do pivot, and you can set their area of throw easily by attaching degree limiter plates to the head.  If using the big gun head to manually water a specific area, one can grab the drive arm and hold it down out of the way of the stream and use the drive arm to precisely aim the sprinkler at the same time.  One can also remove the drive arm for watering specific spots for longer periods of time.  The rotation speed can be set slower or faster by sliding a weight on the drive arm.  I have used the Big Guns in this manner to water in newly planted trees by saturating the tree well.

Rotation speed is adjustable
Drive arm actuator
Hooked up and ready to run
Drive arm can be held out of the way or removed

So far, the 100 series Big Gun series have been a real asset to our operation, saving us a lot of time and labor of moving lines around.  If the Big Gun sounds like something that might help you out with your irrigation needs, check them out at Nelson Irrigation.

Further protection afforded by fencing
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