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BRAE 236 Field Trip

BRAE 236 Field Trip - Dominic Sween BRAE 236 BRAE 236 Field...

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Dominic Sween BRAE 236 10/19/11 BRAE 236 Field Trip In the early hours of the morning on Wednesday, October 19, we all prepared to board the charter bus for the daylong field trip. The purpose of this field trip was to become familiarized with irrigation principles that are used in agriculture. It is invaluable to not only learn about various concepts in the classroom, but also to be able to put one’s hands on the material and see it. Throughout the day we visited several facilities and stopped periodically to observe agricultural equipment in the field. The first stop of the trip was at the Lake Nacimiento. When the bus was driving over the top of the dam of the lake, it was clear to see just how much water and force that the dam was supporting. This year happens to be a year in which the lake is more than 80% full. Due to the last few years of above average rainfall, the lake has steadily increased in overall volume continually. In 2008, the lake was only approximately 17% full. What is interesting about the dam is that it is actually apart of Monterey County. Although the lake is in San Luis Obispo County, it is still owned and controlled by Monterey County. The dam uses a system called an Obermeyer gate. This gate is a pneumatic bottom hinged spillway that controls the amount of water in the lake. It was interesting to see the watermarks that have been left on the dam from much higher water levels in years past. We learned that the approximate flow rate that can be drawn from this lake is between 25 and 400 CFS. Franklin stated that when this lake is full, it can supply about 378,000 AC-FT of water to growers. We did not have a chance to exit the bus due to being slightly behind schedule. After Franklin finished giving us facts about the dam, we departed for our next destination. The next area that we visited was Scheid Vineyards. Jeffery Rianda and Brett Waterman greeted us when we arrived. Jeffery is the official general manager of Gonzales Irrigation. Gonzalez Irrigation is a full service irrigation company. They work with everything that is irrigation, including design, repair, and installation. Brett works for the company that actually manufactures the material that is supplied to Jeff’s company. They began to tell us about the various irrigation characteristics of the vineyard. First, it is important to note that grapes are a permanent crop, meaning they will be in use for up to twenty or thirty years. Since the crop is permanent, the irrigation units used can be treated as a relatively permanent system. Jeff told us that the water that is supplied to the vineyard comes mostly from underground wells. It was clear to see the
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