Three Thousand Feet of Pipe

A recent project of ours has been laying pipe on our leased acreage.  I couldn’t get livestock out on pasture until I had a way to supply them with water, so I waltzed on down to the local irrigation store.  I think it’s safe to say that not very many people in my small town buy 1.5″ polypipe by the length of 3,000 feet, because they kind of looked at me funny.  Then they sent a semi truck to the farm with ten huge rolls of pipe.

That’s about the time I started sweating.

Because: oh my gosh – I have 3,000 feet of plastic pipe sitting outside of the barn.

And: I have a bill for $2,100 in my hand.

And: holy crap – I guess I’m really farming now.

It turns out that laying pipe is not very difficult.  It’s a full day of work to unroll that much pipe across two fifty acre fields, but there’s no better way to get an early Spring farmer’s tan.

(Next purchase: a marvelous new fashion trend called “tanktops”)

If we were ever debating the merits of buying the four-wheeler, that concern was laid to rest on this day.  Keith discovered (with much glee) that he could stack rolls of pipe three high on the ATV and tool around like he was driving a clown car.  It definitely saved time.  It also definitely looked ridiculous.

Trial run with two rolls of pipe:

Final run with three rolls of pipe.

I’m glad to say that I was proven wrong, and it was not in fact, a disaster.

We now have excellent water pressure filling stock tanks of the distant end of our field.  All in a day’s work!

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4 Comments

Filed under Project Start a Farm

4 responses to “Three Thousand Feet of Pipe

  1. Stevie

    thanks for this, I need to do this and the thought is daunting. Do you have spigots every so often or are you just trying to get the water to the other end of the field? The prospect of getting water to my livestock if I start rotationally grazing is puzzling me…I can’t figure out how to do it with out having hoses everywhere even if I put in a mainline like you did.

    It helps to know I could do that much in one day though with just one other person helping. Thanks again!

    • Stevie,
      I have an air bleed valve at the connector between every 300 foot section of pipe to prevent an air-lock. In certain sections, I put in quarter-turn hose bibs. A pipe or irrigation store will hook you up with everything you need to make all the right connections. For a distance and slope as long as mine, I had to make sure that there was a way to bleed air out through spigots or valves while filling the line the first time, or we’d have created an air-lock.
      My field is basically a 45 acre square. I have the trunk line running down the center, with hose bibs every 300′. There really is no way around having to use a couple hundred feet of hose. I pick them up and move them to the next hose bib as the animals move. It is my understanding that this is how they do it at Polyface too.
      I think in the future I would like to put another trunk line going the other direction across my field, creating quadrants. That would help get water closer to each paddock. But it’s working well so far.
      One tip: use a propane torch to heat the pipe as you slide it onto the connector pieces. It makes it so much easier!
      Hope that helps. If you have any more questions, feel free to let me know. Good luck!

  2. Stevie

    Thanks for the info! We have just found out by law we have to install an expensive back flow device because of our plans to use a float with our water troughs. We have municipal water, and it would be too expensive to drill a well. Do you have city water or your own water system or possibly live in a state where the back flow guys aren’t so diligent?

    • The land we’re leasing has a well, so no backflow device is required. Maybe you could pump the water to a central tank in the field? I’m not sure less expensive or not.

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