Cal West Rain & Netafim provide new irrigation technology on campus farm
The Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology showcased a new innovative drip irrigation technology system on Friday, May 12 that was made possible through a partnership with industry leaders Netafim and Cal West Rain.
Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro, Jordan College Dean Sandra Witte and other representatives publicly dedicated the unit, which is located in a 36-acre almond orchard block, a quarter mile northeast of the corner of Bullard and Cedar Avenues on the Fresno State campus.
Nearly half of the unit’s $141,000 installation and material costs were covered by gifts from Netafim, Cal West Rain, Larry Isheim, a partner and manager for Cal West Rain, and his wife Phyllis. Jim Martin, a fellow Cal West Rain partner, is a former Ag One president and Fresno State alumnus.
“We sincerely appreciate Netafim for making Fresno State the first campus farm to utilize this unique irrigation technology,” said Dr. Sandra Witte, dean of the Jordan College. “Both companies have long-standing connections with Fresno State, so we look forward to this new chapter that will give students first-hand experience with the latest agriculture innovations.”
The system will irrigate the orchard’s three different soil type zones independently to meet each area’s specific needs. Irrigation drip lines on the east and west side of each row will also keep soil moisture levels even across the entire root zone, especially in hot summer months.
The system was designed and installed by Cal West Rain and includes six control valves and dual-drip irrigation lines, Netafim tubing, water meters, control valves, filter control box and various PVC components and pipelines. Installed in March 2016, it can be expanded to irrigate another 200 adjacent acres that include row crops and a pistachio orchard.
“This technology is important because it allows farmers to allocate water more efficiently and be calibrated to each soil type to avoid over- or under-irrigation and save water, energy and costs,” said Isheim, an irrigation professional with 50 years of experience and a former advisory board member for the Center for Irrigation Technology at Fresno State. “The equipment also uses smart technology that is managed by computers and cell phones that provide data back to the farmer that they can cross-reference with other GIS technology, weather and productivity maps.”
Fresno State has partnered in other ways with Netafim, a Fresno-based manufacturer firm that started in 1965 in Israel and is a world irrigation industry leader with offices and factories in 120 countries. New Netafim products are independently tested in the Water Energy Technology Center campus laboratory, and the campus Center for Irrigation Technology utilizes Netafim staff in public and industry training programs. Fresno State students also learn about Netafim equipment and assembly first-hand through equipment donated to a new industrial technology department irrigation water delivery class.
“We’re excited to be able to partner with the campus farm and use this equipment as a training tool for Fresno State, the community, Netafim staff and visiting professionals from around the world,” said John Vikupitz, Netafim USA CEO and president. “Fresno State is a powerful force in educating and uniting the Central Valley community, and shares our mission in trying to better sustainably manage our food, water and land resources locally and globally.”
Cal West Rain is also locally based with offices in Kerman, Hanford and Paso Robles with many employees that are Fresno State alumni. The company was started in 1989 and specializes in designing, installing and servicing irrigation, pump and well systems.
More information on each company is available at http://www.calwestrain.com and http://www.netafimusa.com.