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Programming a Surge Valve

 07-13CFcvrJason Krutz, Irrigation Specialist,Dan Roach, Ext. Associate,Trent Irby, Extension Soybean Specialist,Bobby Golden, Agronomist, Delta REC, Mississippi State University,Darrin Dodds, Extension Cotton Specialist,Erick Larson, State Extension Specialist

We are having lots of questions concerning the proper setup of surge valves. First, please consider some of the basic terminology associated with furrow irrigation. Phases of Furrow Irrigation

  1. Advance Cycle – The phase in which the dry furrow is wetted.
  2. Out Time – The time required for water to reach the end of the furrow.
  3. Soaking Cycle – The phase in which the required application depth is infiltrated.
  4. Soaking Time – The time it takes the required application depth to infiltrate.

The following are points to consider when setting up a surge valve: If you have a silt loam or sandy soil that has a tendency to seal causing water infiltration to be an issue:

  1. Determine the Out Time from past experience.
  2. Set the Advance Cycle to ½ of the Out Time + one hour. For example, if you have a field that has historically required 24 hours to get the water across and you now have this same field set up with a surge valve, the Advance Cycle would be set to 13 hours.
  3. It is critical that the time required for water to actually reach the tail ditch be recorded. Any adjustments to the Advance Cycle of the surge valve need to be made before the Soaking Cycle begins. You may need to add or subtract time from the original settings of the Advance Cycle. If you miss this timing, adjustments can only be made after the completion of the Soaking Cycle.
  4. The Soaking Time or completion time can be found on your PHAUCET printout. If PHAUCET requires 20 hours to apply 3 acre-inches, then the total system run time is 20 hours before you shut the system and well off.

If you have a cracking clay soil:

  1. Refer to your PHAUCET printout for the time required to apply 3 acre-inches. For example, the printout may say that 22 hours are required to apply 3 acre-inches.
  2. Set the Advance Cycle to the recommended time on the PHAUCET printout.
  3. It is critical that the time required for water to actually reach the tail ditch be recorded. Any adjustments to the Advance Cycle of the surge valve need to be made before the Soaking Cycle begins. You may need to add or subtract time from the original settings of the Advance Cycle. If you miss this timing, adjustments can only be made after the completion of the Soaking Cycle.
  4. Shut the well and system off at the recommended time.

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