Monday, April 29, 2013

South FL Landscape Irrigation Symposium: Spring Edition

Earlier this month I trekked to South Florida to participate in the Landscape Irrigation Symposium. This event, partnering public and private entities, highlighted the latest irrigation efficiency technology and information.

Covering all bases
Tailored for property managers, municipal workers and area contractors, the symposium featured six vendor booths, property management speakers, utility representatives and UF/IFAS experts.
Rose Bechard-Butman talks Florida Friendly Landscaping
The topics covered ranged from Florida Friendly Landscaping, basic irrigation physics, water requirement standards, smart irrigation and some product demonstrations. 
Barbara Powell fields questions about Broward County's conservation initiatives
Precision multi-streams: the Toro team sacrifices dryness for the cause
High-volume be gone: Broward County's Robert Carew reps for low-flow
Tri-county effort
The symposium was held at the Broward County Extension Office. This was my first time visiting this location. In fact, one of the unique aspects of the symposium is that it is the result of collaborative work among individuals in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties!

Jesus Lomeli and the Rain Bird rep discuss the finer points of rain sensing
University of Florida luminaries Dr. Kati Migliaccio and Dr. Michael Dukes
Outreach media
And if the subject matter is urban landscape irrigation in South Florida, of course Miami-Dade’s Urban Conservation Unit was in attendance!
Jesus Lomeli and Laura Vasquez: U.C.U. in pre-test mode
Having prepared a teaser video to herald the event earlier in the year, it was only fitting that we should roll cameras to document how everything finally came to fruition. You can view the report-back video here or below.

A regional hit!
As Dr. Migliaccio mentioned in a previous blog entry, interest in the symposium was so overwhelming that plans are already in the works to mount another event in the fall. Stay tuned!
Brought to you by...

Friday, April 26, 2013

April 4th Irrigation Symposium

On April 4th we had a wonderful extension event in Broward on irrigation. The event was meant to involve multiple counties and showcase new technology. Our goal was to provide the latest information, interaction with vendors, a panel of success stories, and some background on why conservation is so important. Here is an awesome video Michael Gutierrez developed on the event.

 We are planning another event in October in Palm Beach! More info to come on this event!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Congratulations on award!

Congratulations to Tanh for winning the McNair Bostick Scholarship for the spring semester! Great job! We are very proud of him!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Congratulations Tanh!

Please congratulate Tanh on passing his qualifying exams! Yeah!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Nozzle up: a D.U. study!

One of the projects I’ve been working on regularly since late 2012 involves testing the distribution uniformity of several spray head nozzles at a research field on campus.

The distribution uniformity (DU) of an irrigation zone is how uniformly it applies water. The DU test is an integral part of any irrigation system audit.

A catch can grid in a research plot
Volume information obtained from the catch cans used in testing not only reveal how balanced the zone application is, but can also be used to calculate zone application rate, or how fast water is applied.

The set-up
Last year a major irrigation brand asked our group in Gainesville to begin tests on several of its spray head nozzles and a popular nozzle from a competitor.

You put a rotor where?: The UCU's Jesus Lomeli in assessment mode
In my countless irrigation system assessments with the U.C.U. in Miami-Dade County, I have seen almost every kind of nozzle in all states of disrepair/misuse. Suffice to say I was excited to work with these big name products in a controlled setting.

Before the testing could begin, twelve plots in the research field were selected (three reps per nozzle).

The research field in Gainesville: 72 plots!
The water meters on those plots were calibrated to confirm how efficient the meters tracked volumes actually applied in the field.

Large containers capture water during a specific run time

Tubing directs water from head stem into containers

Large containers are weighed to determine volume
Then the grid pattern for catch cans in the plot was determined and marked with paint.

Researcher Bernard Cardenas surveys the can pattern

Technician Sara Wynn marks can positions in the plot
Then nozzles were then attached and spray heads were oriented.

Lower Quarter D.U.
Although the DU data from these tests is analyzed in sundry ways, the foundation for all data is the Lower Quarter DU test.

The percentage the above equation generates classifies the irrigation zone's distribution uniformity as excellent, good, or poor.

All can everything!
We have been conducting DU tests consistently since early December. Recently, we experimented with a grid pattern that left no piece of the plot uncover and allowed for mocking different grid patterns in the data analysis.

Just what it looks like: 320 cans!

...and time flies during data collection!
And lately, we have been focusing primarily on conducting tests during high wind days.

Results will be made public in 2014. Stay tuned!