SUBSURFACE DRIP IRRIGATION PROJECT
VALK LAND AND CATTLE LTD.
Valk Land and Cattle have worked with Southern Irrigation to implement a 625-acre subsurface drip irrigation system, the largest in Canada. The system was ready in 2021, during Alberta’s hottest year in history.
“I’m Lawrence Vandervalk; I represent Valk Land and Cattle, co-owners with my wife, Sherry.
I would recommend SDI to anyone who was interested in the future of irrigation.
Our project was 625 acres, apparently, the largest single unit of irrigation in North America, being a 625-acre field in one unit.
We had Southern Irrigation install our system. We walked into their office one day and asked if they had anything to do with drip. They informed me that they did, and the rest is history.
After last year we realized the importance of drip, the importance of irrigation. I have no pivots; I never irrigated previously.
So, after seeing what we did last year, what was the result of the work of SDI, we decided to go ahead with an additional quarter. So, currently, we are plowing in another 160 acres.
The dryland this year would have been a disaster, we got less than 4″ of rain, so there wouldn’t have been much of a crop. Hay probably would not have been worth cutting—yields on the winter wheat, probably less than 20.
Southern Irrigation was great; they gave me lots of support. I really appreciated our 6:30 Monday morning meetings out in the field.
We did soil moisture probing. To our surprise, we discovered that even in the extreme heat that we were getting and the lack of moisture, that we really only needed in total 11.5″, and we stopped irrigating on August 12th. The profile was basically empty when we started, and we finished the season with a full profile.
SDI, there’s a nickname for it; it’s called 30/30/30. 30% less water, 30% less operating costs, 30% more productivity. We started with an empty profile, 11.5″, and we had no problems keeping up.
The people, their work ethic, hands down, bar none, number 1.
I think every dollar that you spend towards irrigation, no matter what system you use, is going to be a big benefit in Southern Alberta. It certainly was for me.
We managed to have the system running in the dryest year in history, and I originally thought, this is a home run. I think it was a grand slam.”
~ Lawrence Vandervalk, co-owner of Valk Land and Cattle Ltd.