Thao Tran

Two Cal Poly professors wrote a book on irrigation after 15 years of research that will soon be translated into five languages.

“Drip and Micro Irrigation for Trees, Vines, and Row Crops,” a 285-page book, is available in Spanish and English, and will soon be published in Dutch, German and Italian.

“We’ve just been very fortunate,” co-author Stuart W. Styles said. “It’s been well received by the industry.”

Charles M. Burt and Styles wrote the book to provide the agriculture industry with methods and techniques for design and management of micro and drip irrigation systems.

According to the publication, “The information in this book was obtained over the years from discussion with literally hundreds of growers, system designers, installers and professionals.”

Irrigation designers, farmers and managers mainly use the book.

“It’s a wonderful reference and technical text,” said Susan Rathbun, a designer working for Cal West Rain. “As a designer, it provides all the technical tools to complete a drip irrigation system. It’s very practical and easy to follow the path of design parameters.”

“Drip and Micro Irrigation for Trees, Vines, and Row Crops” is recognized by the United States government as one of the best resources for agriculture.

The book’s information is valuable and unique because of the “diagnostic research” conducted, collection of data, and 15 years of work and study Styles said.

“We went out and looked at what the growers were doing. We saw what works and what doesn’t work,” Styles said. “We interviewed the growers and got very practical information on why something worked in a certain way, evaluated it and then documented it.”

The book includes a section on “Row Crop Drip Irrigation,” which uses a new product called “tape” for high valued vegetables such as, celery, strawberries, lettuce and peppers.

“We noticed the yields were greatly affected using the tape,” Styles said. “Users of the book can get a payback and recovery of their investments.”

Micro and drip irrigation became widely used in the 1970s, but as a fairly new technique, little and unreliable research inspired his dedication and time for writing the book, Styles said.

The book includes information on hose friction, hydraulics, filtration (solids removal) and key installation details.

In addition, the book supplies the reader with examples on how to build an irrigation system with good distribution uniformity with plugging prevention tips.

Some Cal Poly classes use the book as a required text, such as Irrigation Design, (BRAE 414) and Drip/Micro Irrigation (BRAE 438).

The original version of “Drip and Micro Irrigation for Trees, Vines, and Row Crops,” was published in 1995, but due to changing technologies and advancements, a second edition of the same book was published five years later, adding new concepts and facts.

The new European edition will include a guide to design micro-spray and drip irrigation systems for orchards and vineyards as well as permanent row crops.

Burt also wrote other books including, “The Surface irrigation Manual: A comprehensive guide to design and operation of surface irrigation systems,” and “Fertigation.”

“Charles Burt, the lead author, is best described as being pragmatic and in tuned with what the industry is doing,” Styles said. “He’s the main catalyst and the reason we have the center right now.”

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