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Travelling irrigator helps farmers work wiser with water

Chris Robbertze is highly satisfied with the efficiency of the Irrigation Unlimited Ocmis irrigation system. On the left is the water supply pipe and on the right the trailer carrying the water cannon, which is towed to the end of the land opposite to where it is connected to the water supply. It is then slowly reeled back to the starting position, irrigating all the time, before being moved to a new location.

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The present virtual country-wide drought conditions are forcing farmers to work wiser with water when irrigating. That is where Irrigation Unlimited, a specialised irrigation company, becomes the farmer’s friend in wise water usage providing knowledgeable advice and efficient irrigation products. One of these products, that can take the sting out of drought conditions, is the popular and dependable Ocmis travelling irrigator.

Chris Robbertze has been farming a few kilometres from Rustenburg since 1985. He says he noticed how drought conditions increased year by year. Chris and his son cultivates vegetables, and also grain as green fodder for their cattle. In 2012 Chris decided to buy the Ocmis travelling irrigator from Tobie van den Heever of Irrigation Unlimited. He picked the R2/2-model, which means that the sprayer works from a 100 mm thick supply pipe of 300 metres in length.

“I required an irrigator that would suit my type of farming best,” says Chris. “With a centre pivot I would have lost approximately 22% of the irrigable area as my lands are square. That made me decide on the Ocmis traveller.”

Chris says he was impressed by the operation of the irrigator from the word go, but there was one disadvantage – he sometimes had to set the alarm to move the unit late at night. He hit on a solution by purchasing a second Ocmis traveller.

“Now it has become a logical routine – when one sprayer completes its cycle, it means closing one and opening another valve and the second machine takes over.” Chris says that the travelling irrigators are so efficient that he could recoup his capital outlay within 18 months. “The first ‘traveller’ performed so efficiently that I could afford to buy a second one within six months.”

Chris is well-equipped for these irrigators and his system works efficiently. Two boreholes, together delivering 60 000 litres of water, feed two dams on the farm. From the dams the water is fed with a main on the side of the land with spaced valves where the irrigators can be connected.

“I make sure the irrigated areas of the sprayers always overlap so that I can be certain the whole area is properly serviced,” says Chris.

No guesswork required. This graph on the side of the Ocmis tells the farmer exactly how much water has to be applied with each of the gear adjustments – a stickler for accuracy.

This is how the irrigators work:

A travelling irrigator employs the water flow to drive a gearbox, pulling a trailer with the cannon sprayer connected to the big pipe across the land. You tow your Ocmis trailer with the big reel to the side of the land and connect the pipe to the nearest supply point. Now you tow the trailer with the irrigating gun and big reel to the opposite end if the land.

Open the water supply and the water-driven gearbox slowly reels the trailer and irrigating gun (cannon) in slowly, spraying water all the way. The speed at which the sprayer is towed, can be adjusted to regulate the quantity of water applied with each run. Chris says he had to spend an absolute minimum on maintenance for the two Ocmis irrigators in the past seven years. “As long as you grease the gears regularly, you should have no problem with the rainmakers.”

Chris also praise Tobie and the after-sales service team of Irrigation Unlimited. Some of the advantages of the Ocmis irrigation system are that the machines can be moved easily to a new area and that they are versatile in their application to irrigate different lands. The design of the machine makes for an uncomplicated piece of equipment with few parts that can break. The water supply pipe is made of high quality polyethylene, which ensures a long life. The sprayer can be adjusted according to the water pressure to allow water to be delivered evenly and efficiently.

Contact Tobie van den Heever on 082-658-6054 (cellphone) or 012-736-2121 (landline), or send an email message to tobie@iunlimited.co.za, or alternatively visit the website www.iunlimited.co.za for more information.

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