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A supplier of Grassland and Forage Irrigation Systems throughout the United States and Canada

K-Line in the News



                                           Upcoming Nebraska Grazing Conference Meeting

                                           Mini Irrigation System Manages Runoff (by Loretta Sorenson,

                                           reprint from AG Web)

                                           What is a VTS and How does it work, (article includes videos).

                                           The new K-Line Irrigation Karousel, (article includes videos).


                                           K-Line Irrigation Announces the New 5-Pod 2 Acre Kit.


                                           K-Line Irrigation Announces a New Effluent Distribution System,

                                           (article includes videos).


                                           K-Line’s Introduces The New Portable Cattle Watering Tank.


                                           What's it worth to keep grass growing? (Reprinted from Graze

                                           magazine Volume 16, No.9 November 2009)


                                           Introducing K-Line Irrigation’s New Pop-Up Sprinkler Assembly!


                                           Sprinkler systems new way to handle (effluent) runoff. (By Delores

                                           Meister, reprinted from Norfolk Daily News)


                                           Treatment system easy to install and operate. (By Delores Meister,

                                           reprinted from Norfolk Daily News)


                                           Mixed grasses grown in treatment areas. (By Delores Meister, reprinted

                                           from Norfolk Daily News)


                                           Recently the Stockman Grass Farmer magazine asked John Nye

                                           What is the optimum number of pods per line to use on a portable

                                           irrigation pasture system?

                                           K-Line being used for effluent dispersal, (article includes videos).


                                           Grazier-friendly irrigation debuts in U.S., article reprinted from

                                           November 06 Volume Graze Magazine. By Joel McNair


                                           Stockman Grass farmer Asks John Nye, K-Line Irrigation North America,

                                           "Regarding hose line sprinkler irrigation systems, please tell us about

                                           low pressure gravity feeding, feet per foot of pressure."


                                           System saves time, labor. By Peggy Steward, Capital Press Staff Writer


                                           K-Line Irrigation Introduces the New Kwik-Shifter! (Video)


                                           Colorado Rancher Plans to Replace Center-Pivots with Line-Pod

                                           Irrigation. (Reprinted from the August 06 Volume of “The Stockman Grass

                                           Farmer” magazine.)


                                           New Zealand refines irrigation system. (Reprinted from an article in the

                                           Capital Press), by Richard Burger Freelance Writer Friday, June 03, 2005


                                           New Irrigation System Catching On. (Reprinted from an article by “kima”

                                            news Channel 29 in  Yakima, Washington), by Tammy Mori, July 12, 2005


                                           Line-Pod Irrigation Helps Revive Western Nebraska Ranch. (Reprinted

                                           from the June 06 Volume of “The Stockman Grass Farmer” magazine.)


                                           Ongoing K-Line Irrigation Research!



2014 Nebraska Grazing Conference to Feature Live Cattle Handling Demo

             Many readers will remember the 1998 movie, The Horse Whisperer, starring Robert Redford. One of the consultants on that movie was Curt Pate from Texas. Pate will show why his expertise was sought by the movie producers when he demonstrates low-stress animal handling techniques at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds on the second day of the 14th annual Nebraska Grazing Conference. Pate’s appearance on the program is sponsored in part by the Beef Checkoff.

The two-day conference will begin at the Kearney Ramada on Tuesday, August 12. Topics that day will include: water capture, transfer, and storage; soil health and grazing; mob grazing; wildlife and grazing; managing after drought; and GrassSnap, a new mobile app for monitoring grasslands.

            Pate will start things off the second day, August 13, with a talk on stockmanship and stewardship fundamentals, followed by three producers who use low-stress handling techniques. Additional morning speakers will address research on switchgrass for forage or biomass and management practices of the 2013 Leopold Conservation Award winner. After lunch the conference will move to the fairgrounds for Pate’s live cattle handling and roping demonstration.

            The two-day pre-registration fee of $80 (payable to 2014 Nebraska Grazing Conference) is due to the Center for Grassland Studies by August 1 (postmark date). The fee includes the conference proceedings, lunch both days, the evening banquet, pre-banquet social, break refreshments, and the demo at the fairgrounds. Morning walk-in registrations at the Kearney Ramada are welcome and may be for either or both days. Registration fee will be waived for students who will still be in high school next year and who pre-register by the August 1 deadline, compliments of the UNL College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Reduced registration fees apply for other full-time students. Higher fees apply to registrations postmarked after August 1 and to walk-ins.

            Participants of any of the previous Nebraska Grazing Conferences as well as all Nebraska extension educators will receive a brochure in the mail in June. Others may contact the CGS office to be placed on the mailing list.

            More information is available at http://nebraskagrazingconference.unl.edu, or from the UNL Center for Grassland Studies at (402) 472-4101, e-mail grassland@unl.edu, or your local UNL extension office.

            The event is sponsored by several public and private organizations.



What is a VTS?

(Click here to see small system video)

(Click here to see large system video)

A Vegetative Treatment System (VTS) is a system that can be applied on small to medium sized, open lot, livestock feeding operations. It is a system comprised of a solids settling basin, an outlet structure, and a Vegetative Treatment Area (VTA). The VTA replaces the need for a conventional holding pond that is typically used in feedlots. 

A VTA is commonly confused with vegetative buffer (or filter) strips. A buffer strip is a narrow strip of vegetation (usually 30-60 feet wide), between cropland and a stream or other surface water, while a VTS is a system to completely control runoff. 


        Drawing of a "gravity flow" VTS system. Not suitable for uneven ground and may require significant land improvement.

A VTS should consume the water and utilizes the nutrients in the liquid runoff. The operation of the sediment basin is the same as is required in traditional waste storage systems as a VTS takes the place of a holding pond and irrigation system. The solids from the sediment basin must periodically be removed and land applied.

A VTA uses the water holding capacity of the soil to "store" runoff water until the nutrients and water can be used by the vegetation. The application of the runoff to the VTA must be at a rate that is high enough to prevent deep percolation past the root zone, yet low enough that flow does not extend past the end of the treatment area during the design runoff event. 


        Drawing of a "pressurized sprinkler" VTS system providing much better distribution uniformity, even on uneven ground.

Sprinkler VTS are a new type of livestock Waste Control Facilities geared for the smaller feedlot. Such systems have been pioneered by UNL Extension.

Video and graphics courtesy of Chris Henry and Jason Gross

UNL Extension Small AFO Team:




     See the New K-Line Karousel in Action

The new K-Line Irrigation Corner Karousel gives you the ultimate flexibility to move your K-Line irrigation lines from paddock to paddock. The K-Line Karousel is also ideal for moving lines of pods in vegetables or orchards. The Karousel allows you to make a square corner with a long line of K-Line Irrigation pods. The Karousel is temporarily anchored to the ground with stakes at the end of a row. This pivot point is the equivalent of an idler pulley and allows the pods to move around the Karousel without the normal side slip at the end of the line of pods. The Karousels are typically used in pairs. You would normally move a line of pods out the end of a row (or out a gate) across the end, and back down an adjoining row.  

In actual usage you would design the line of pods to have quick connect cam locks on both ends of the K-Line. Before moving the K-Line, you could easily disconnect the end of the line attached to the hydrant, cap the end of the K-Line, pull the line of pods from the opposite end out the end of the row, around the first Karousel, across the end, around the second Karousel, and back down an adjacent row and into position to quick connect the line to another hydrant. You can see the line movement in action on the web at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7OWvPPfwzA




K-Line Irrigation Announces the New 5-Pod 2 Acre Kit

K-Line Irrigation has developed a new small parcel irrigation system for the property owner with a few acres to irrigate. The new kit comes with a roll of 40mm tubing, a sleeve of 5 pods, and a carton with all the small parts needed to design and assemble your own custom irrigation system. The new 5 Pod 2 Acre Kit comes with easy to assemble instructions, sample designs, plus tips and tricks on how to effectively irrigate your property. The kits are also designed to be expandable for those with slightly larger parcels. The new 5 Pod 2 Acre Kits are available from  your authorized K-Line dealer.                   





K-Line Irrigation Announces a New Effluent Distribution System

Click to see Video

K-Line Irrigation has developed new over size pods and polyethylene tubing to accommodate the growing effluent disposal and distribution market. The new pods are several times larger than normal pods and provide a stable base for the new extra large sprinklers and nozzles. Several nozzles sizes are available, (up to 5/8" in diameter), to allow producers to match the infiltration rate of your soils, thereby eliminating the possibility of runoff into local water ways. Included below is a cut away picture of the new pod with sprinkler compared to a normal K-Line pod.



     K-Line’s Introduces The New Portable Cattle Watering Tank             

                   K-Line Irrigation’s new Cattle Watering Tank is perfect for Rotational Grazers.

The watering tank can be pulled behind an ATV or small tow vehicle and is designed to be moved along with the cattle as they move from grazing cell to grazing cell through the rotation.

A short rope attaches to the heavy duty frame and allows the waterer to be easily towed from location to location. Multiple 375’ lengths of highly flexible K-Line 32mm polyethylene tubing (not included in above price), allows the driver to position the tank close to under utilized portions of the pasture. The entire move can be done in a few minutes.

Benefits of K-Line’s Cattle Watering Tank

  • More Efficient Pasture Usage: Cattle typically graze the entire field more efficiently if water is    close and  readily available.
  • Increased Production: Producers believe that minimizing long walks to water can increase milk and or meat production gains.
  • Reliability: K-Line’s heavy duty all stainless steel tank with rugged steel tubing framework is designed for maximum durability and longevity. The tanks low profile minimizes rubbing and the potential for cattle to tip the tank over.
  • Ease of Use: The K-Line Cattle waterer minimizes labor by moving with an ATV or small tow vehicle.
  • Reduces Mud Holes: The system reduces the deep mud holes normally created around permanent watering tanks. If water is close, cattle will typically come in ones and twos instead of the mob drinking that causes bumping and jostling at the tank.
  • Easy to Adapt: The waterer comes equipped with a quick disconnect cam lock at the base and a proven, field tested float assembly. Multiple 375’ lengths of highly flexible 32mm (1 Ľ") polyethylene K-Line tubing can be added to adapt to your current watering connections.
  • Manure Distribution: Manure (fertilizer), is more evenly distributed throughout the pasture instead of  being concentrated around permanent watering tanks.



What's it worth to keep

 grass growing?

 Yoders use irrigation ponds to take the

edge off summer droughts

 Reprinted from Graze magazine Volume 16, No.9 November 2009

Spencer, Wisconsin - Each spring, Aaron Yoder watched the melt water and early-spring rains flowing over the frozen ground, down the modest slope and off his farm. Then, by mid-sum­mer most years, the pastures would turn brown as the rains stayed away for weeks on end.

North-Central Wisconsin's dairy belt is supposed to feature a near-perfect climate for summer forage growth. But in this decade, with moderate to severe drought descending almost ev­ery year, the situation was becoming frustrating and expensive enough to cause some serious thinking.

"I knew what grass could do if it had water," Aaron said. "If we could just somehow catch this water and use it when we needed it…"

Turns out he could. Last winter, Aaron spent about $4,000 to have a half-acre pond dug through silt and clay to a maximum depth of about 11 feet. Costs were kept reasonable by the fact that this was the swampy site of an old pond that had long ago silted up. Also helping was the fact that local envi­ronmental officials did not object to the project.

Aaron admits to having "no clue" as to how well this would work when he made up his mind to do the digging. All he knew was that he was tired of not being able to fully graze the dairy herd through the summer, and that he had no desire to spend more than $10,000 on a deep well employed solely for irrigation.

"I also hated the idea of pulling the cold water from deep underground," he said.

Though the drainage basin is barely 40 acres, and the great majority of that land is in sod, the pond filled to the brim last spring. Aaron was ready to go when the rains stopped coming in early summer, with a six ­horsepower gasoline-powered pump motor, 1,000 feet of 3-inch feeder line, a 10-pod K-Line irrigation line, and hundreds of thou­sands of gallons of pond water in reserve. On July 3 he started irrigating a day or two behind the cows in rotation, applying an inch of water to just over half an acre of pasture every eight hours or so.

Though he started before the soil surface was completely dry, subsurface reserves had been tapped by previous years' dry weather. So Aaron upped the applications to near 1.5 inches on just over an acre each day. With the motor's three-quarter-gallon fuel tank provid­ing just four hours of running time, he had to keep on top of the action. He'd refill the tank at 10 p.m., and again at 5 a.m. Aaron shifted the pod line twice daily - by hand for the smaller moves, with a lawnmower for the longer ones. He connected the 150-foot long feeder line and pod line to risers positioned in the center of his five-acre paddocks.


"I knew that as long as I could keep that grass from going dormant, I had a chance to feed my cows," he explains.

It worked. By watering six days a week over a six-week period with almost no rain, he was able to keep 20 of his 30 dairy pasture acres green, growing and full of clover. The 45 Holsteins and crossbreds grazed days on the irrigated ground, nights on the dry land pastures. Milk production in the organic-certified herd held at 45-50 lbs./cow through the cool, droughty mid-summer on pasture, a couple of pounds of dry hay, and just 4 lbs./day of small grains.

 The heavens finally opened, and Aaron stopped irrigating August 10. In slightly moister conditions the previous year he had been out of pasture by the first of August. In 2008 the grass had gone dormant and never fully responded to any rains that came later, so Aaron fed a lot of stored forage in late summer and fall.

This year, an estimated 2.5 to 3 inches of irrigation water per acre kept his cows fully fed on quality pasture for six weeks until the rains came. This forage growth came at the expense of the amortized cost of the pond and $4,500 worth of irrigation equipment, less than $300 of gasoline for the pump, and Aaron's labor to move equipment and fill the tank.

By keeping his cows on pasture, Aaron is pretty sure he avoided buying at least one $5,000 load of

Pond irrigation

continued from page 1

organic hay, and milk production almost certainly was better with the availabil­ity of high-quality pasture.

   "So it looks like I paid for the pond in one year," he says.

    Aaron also put his forages in a position for a growth explosion when the rains returned, as the acreage watered through the drought responded far better to the August rain compared to the area that had been allowed to go dormant.

The pond, which dropped to a little less than half full in early August, had nearly recharged itself by early September with the help of several inches of rain and a couple of small springs. And the forage silo was still capped.

Down the road a mile or two, Aaron's brother, Kenneth, was doing pretty much the same thing this year. His pond is about the same depth, but closer to a full acre on the surface. At about $15,000, his was a more expensive project because of the size and the fact that a small grove of trees was removed. The drainage area feeding this pond is bigger, too. Kenneth figures some of the cost can be allocated to recreational use, since his children swim in the new pond.

Kenneth used a pair of K-Line systems, each with six pods, to apply 1.5 inches of water per 24 hours, irrigating a total of 15 acres through the drought. He attached a 15-gallon auxiliary tank to the same kind of pump Aaron used, and thus refilled every 24 hours. His gasoline cost , also came to about $300 for six weeks of pumping.

He was impressed by the pasture growth throughout the summer - espe­cially with the surge in clover production. Kenneth figures he grew an extra dry-matter ton/acre of organic-certified forage with the irrigation.

"I should have done this a few years earlier," he says.

    Back at his place, Aaron is thinking seriously about expanding the irrigation system. "I could have put more water on last summer," he explains. "Now that I know what the pond will do, I'm thinking of doing more."

The pump was run at less than full throttle, and Aaron figures he had another 20 days of water left in the pond. He'll do some calculating to see how much more volume the current pump can handle, but is almost certain to purchase another K-Line system. He recently buried the main supply line, and he could easily extend it for access to the dairy pasture that was dry this year. Aaron also intends to add an auxiliary gas tank like his brother's to eliminate the frequent refills.

And on the other side of his farmstead there happens to be a low, wet place that collects water from an area at least as large as the one that feeds the current pond. If this part of North-Central Wisconsin stays dry, Aaron figures it might pay someday to double his ability to irrigate.




Introducing K-Line Irrigation’s

New Pop-Up Sprinkler Assembly!

A constant problem for orchard growers is harvesting fruit and nut crops around permanent irrigation systems. K-Line Irrigation solves this problem with lines of sprinklers that can be easily moved out of the way during harvesting.

K-Line Irrigation’s new Pop-Up is designed specifically for orchard applications where the sprinklers must pop-up above the top level of the pod and then deliver a flat spray under the branches of the trees. The flat spray eliminates branch interference and improves water distribution patterns. The K-Line Pop-Up is designed to be used with the Nelson Irrigation 9° low angle sprinkler that delivers a flat spray with good uniformity.


                 K-Line Pop-Up shown with Nelson                              Pop-Up shown in "UP" position to

                 R2000 Sprinkler with 9° trajectory.                                     indicate pod clearance.



 Sprinkler system new way to handle (effluent) runoff

                    By DELORES MEISTER


           WEST POINT – Always in search of better ideas, Chris Henry and Jason Gross were

        traveling down a highway in southern Nebraska when they spotted a sprinkler irrigation

        system in a pasture.


        Upon investigation, the farmer told them about his K-Line sprinkler system. Within two

        hours, Henry and Gross had contacted E. J. Habrock of Madison, the first field

        representative in North America for K-Line.


        Henry is a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension engineer, with Gross an engineer



        They paired with Habrock to explore the idea of applying the K-Line sprinkler irrigation

        system to the vegetative treatment system concept, which involves a solids settling basin,

        an outlet structure and a vegetative treatment area.


        But would a sprinkler system work in conjunction with a vegetative treatment system?


        That's where Richard Baumert and Mel Meister of rural West Point entered the picture.


                MEL MEISTER'S K-Line sprinkler system, which includes hoses

                leading to sprinkling pods, irrigates a four-acre vegetative

                treatment area planted to grass with oats as the cover crop. This

               summer, Meister harvested oats and oat straw, as well as two high

               quality hay cuttings' from his vegetative treatment areas.


          Baumert raises hogs and has a beef cow herd on the farm his grandfather bought at the turn

          of the 20th century.


          Meister's farm has been in his family for 130 years. When he retired in 1997, Meister rented

          his farm and livestock facilities to a young farmer.


          In recent years, he wanted to look at livestock agriculture options for his tenant.


          Meister's feedlot has a natural, well-drained south hillside with maximum winter protection,

          located 1.5 miles from Pebble Creek.


          His vegetative treatment system collects runoff and solids from the feedlot via a sedi­ment basin.


          The liquids in the basin are transferred to the grass-planted vegetative treatment area by a 30-hp

          diesel motor that pumps the efflu­ent through underground piping connecting the portable K-Line

          hoses to pods with sprin­klers. The sprinklers distribute the effluent in an even and infiltratable rate. 


          Meister's diversion system features eight hoses. Each hose is equipped with nine sprinkling pods,

          covering four acres with effluent from 72 pods.


          It is believed that Meister's sprinkler veg­etative treatment system is the largest one constructed

          in the United States.


          Meister credits and gives thanks to the UNL engineers, K-Line, the contributors to the Nebraska

          Environmental Trust and the many sponsors for designing this project that is of "great benefit to the

          environment we all share."


          Habrock said, "This is the first time irrigation equipment of this type has been adapted, to vegetative

          treatment systems in Northeast Nebraska, and departments of environmental quality of other

          states and the nation are watching."


          Want to learn more? Visit afo.unl.edu.


          Reprinted from Norfolk Daily News Saturday, September 5, 2009





                       Treatment system easy to install and operate


                                      RICHARD BAUMERT was assisted in setting up a sprinkler vegetative

                                                 treatment system  on his West Point farm by Jason Gross, a University of

                                                 Nebraska Extension engineer technician. Baumert’s system drain’s two hog

                                                 platforms and cattle yards.


                                    By DELORES MEISTER regional@norfolkdailynews.com

                                    WEST POINT – Richard Baumert’s more than century old family farm west of here

                           will continue it’s livestock tradition – and be in compliance with Nebraska

                           Department of Environmental Quality regulations to keep waters of the state clean.


                           He recently installed a unique multi species sprinkler vegetative treatment systems.


                           “In my case, it is not the livestock numbers,” Baumert said. “It is how the

                           place drains. I have two hog platforms and cattle yards. We usually feed out our

                           own calves and buy more calves.”


                           Effluent in his sediment basin is pumped a short distance by a 9hp motor to a

                           higher level and then spread through K-Line tubing and 16 pods.


                           At first (the sprinkler vegetative treatment system) seemed complicated “he said,

                           “but it will be a very simple operation. The neat thing about it is the groundwork

                           didn’t (even) take half a day.”


                           Baumert said a diversion was added to direct a good portion of the rainwater

                           and meting snow in a direction around the feedlot instead of through the feedlot.


                          Reprinted from Norfolk Daily News Saturday, September 5, 2009





WEST POINT - University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension goals include finding ways to make environ­mental regulations compatible and affordable for family livestock farmers, ranchers and feeders.

This goal coincides with several Nebraska organizations that have partnered and funded the Nebraska Environmental Trust and Nebraska Department of Environmental Qual­ity Section 319 program. 

"The Clean Water Act is neces­sary and it is here to stay," said Chris Henry, a University of Nebraska-Lin­coln Extension engineer.  

"Environment protection is most beneficial to the people living here,” he said. 

"Uncontrolled feedlot runoff poisons the rivers, wildlife and makes people very un­happy. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can stop the runoff into the waters of the state."

            "Uncontrolled feedlot runoff poisons the rivers, wildlife and makes people very un­happy."

                                                                                                                                        CHRIS HENRY

                                                                                                                                                                                                                UNL EXTENSION ENGINEER

 Henry and Jason Gross, a UNL engineer technician, pioneered a project several years ago on how to operate a small feedlot using a vegetative treat­ment system as an alternative to a large lagoon.  

(More recently, the pair devised the concept of adding sprinklers to the vegetative treatment system. See story above) 

Vegetative treatment systems have been in use for several years, employing such traditional methods as gravity-flow gated pipe, aluminum ir­rigation pipe or liquid manure spreaders. 

This new sprinkler system is a sim­pler, easier and more economical way to handle feedlot runoff.

 Managing a vegetative treatment system means that when it rains, the effluent drains into an earthen basin and is pumped out within 24 to 36 hours to a grassland vegetative treatment area.

 The treatment area must be planted to perennial vegetative plants, like warm- and cool-season mixed grass­es. Grasses take up the liquid run off and nutrients longer than corn, which can "drink up" nutrients only two months of the year. A weed cover is not adequate for the process.

 The rule of thumb is that the grassy plot be equal in size to the feedlot area. The grasses absorb the nutrients of the effluent in the top 6-10 inch root system.

Reprinted from Norfolk Daily News Saturday, September 5, 2009


Recently the Stockman GrassFarmer magazine asked John Nye…

What is the optimum number of pods per line to use on a portable irrigation pasture system?

“There is a tremendous amount of portable pasture irrigation now being installed around the country. With so many people now designing these systems, I am often asked to comment on the ideal length of a line of sprinkler pods. While a line of K-Line pods with sprinklers inside can be as short as 2 or 3 pods in a line or as long as 14 pods per line, the ideal length is 8-10 pods per line. Most sprinkler pods are spaced 40-50 feet apart on the special 40mm K-Line tubing, so an 8-10 pod line is 350-500 feet long. This length is easy to move, has very good uniformity with a good choice of sprinklers and output rates, and is efficient in minimizing moving time. With an ATV and a quick shifter trailer, this length of pods can be moved in 3 minutes or less. We have a K-Line system in Indiana at Hoosier Grassfed Beef with 23 lines of K-Line about that long that does an excellent irrigation job on 130 acres of beautiful rolling pastureland. They can move the 23 lines in 45-60 minutes normally. Since the riser supplying irrigation water to a line of sprinkler pods is normally located halfway down the length of the field, an 8-10 pod line covers a paddock that is 700-1000 ft. in length which fits well with rotational grazing layouts, locates stock watering troughs in a convenient distance for grazing animals to reach (often water lines for stock watering troughs are installed as the system is installed) and is a good efficiency match for the other considerations of good grazing management.” For more information, feel free to contact John Nye, toll free at 866-665-5463 or email john.k-line@sbcglobal.net.

John Nye, General Manager, K-Line


K-Line Irrigation Systems are on the forefront again, this time with regard to effluent disposal. NRCS planners and engineers have been utilizing VTS, (Vegetative Treatment Systems) to manage manure. The NRCS in conjunction with the University of Nebraska Extension Service has put together a team to come up with practical options within Vegetative Treatment Systems. 

To see how K-Line is being used as the dispersal element in these systems, click on the link below, then go to "Projects", and then "Wes Dorn VTS".


Check out the three links below for additional information on

K-Line being used for effluent dispersal.




Grazier-friendly irrigation debuts in U.S.

Article reprinted from November 06 Volume Graze Magazine.

By Joel McNair

        Grass needs water, and an increasing number of graziers are showing interest in irrigation to provide at least a portion of it.

What they've found isn't always encouraging. Center pivot systems are expensive to buy and costly to maintain. Traveling guns are usually cheaper, but are more labor intensive and at least as prone to breaking down. High fuel and electricity costs are the final straw breaking the back of many irrigation decisions.

But smaller, grazier-friendly irrigation systems are starting to make their way to the U.S. This year Graze visited two grass farms in very different climatic situations that have started using one of them, the "K-Line Irrigation" system from New Zealand. Both were at least moderately happy with their early results.

In eastern Kansas, Carl Nichols (see page 1) this year employed his system almost continuously for three months until the extreme Plains drought forced him to shut down in mid-August due to lack of retention pond water. Nichols estimates that the irrigation grew an extra ton of pasture per acre on 13 acres, at a cost of $100/month for pumping. With alfalfa hay prices above $100/ton in his area, Nichols says his $3,000 investment in the K-Line system should be paid back after two years of use.

While coming nowhere close to satisfying the requirements of his 200­cow herd, Nichols said the irrigated pasture was "icing" that helped milk production during a tough summer. "It was better than the $100 per ton alfalfa hay," he asserted.

Meanwhile, near Waupun in eastern Wisconsin, Steve Guell had plenty of rain through much of the growing season. Guell ended up applying just two inches of irrigation water in one pass over 30 acres of white clover, bluegrass and orchard grass pasture, while half of that acreage received two passes totaling four inches.

He spent $13,200 to set up his system, which includes a 275-foot well with a six-inch casing, a 7.5-horsepower electric pump, and running a buried electric line 500 feet from the utility pole. This was a net cost that included a $2,900 grant from his electric utility.

By using the system only at night, and thus spending 4.2 cents/KwH (less than one-fourth the peak rate), Guell's electric bill for the period he irrigated (July through early September) came to $150.


Guell says he grew more pasture because of the irrigation, but isn't sure how much. What he is sure of is that irrigation allowed him to cut daily grain feeding in his Jersey herd from 12 to 8 lbs. /cow. "I think I'm getting better quality pasture, which is more important than yield," he asserts.

K-Line is a surface irrigation system based on hard plastic "pods" that protect small sprinkler heads. Multiple pods are connected with poly pipe (standard diameter about 1.6 inches), which in turn is usually connected to larger-diameter (about 2-inch) poly pipe bringing water from the supplying pump. Individual systems can differ in length and number of sprinkler pods: Guell has 12 pods on a 600-foot run, while Nichols' system has 13 pods in 650 feet.

Water application rates are also adjustable. Guell sets his well head pressure at 70 p.s.i., which delivers about 45 pounds at the end of the line. As is the case with Nichols's system, each of the sprinklers covers a 50-foot diam­eter. Guell's well is capable of providing 50 gallons of water per minute, and he aims to deliver about two inches of water over a period of 10 hours each night to nearly an acre of pasture.

        Nichols uses a two horsepower electric pump set at 55 p.s.i., applying about 1.2 inches to half an acre over a 12-hour period.

        Both graziers say that moving their systems requires no more than 15 minutes. Guell uses a tractor, while Nichols employs an ATV.

Among the weak points, according to New Zealanders who've used such systems, is that the pods are more difficult to drag through taller forage, and irrigation can become infeasible when plants become too tall. Nichols and Guell report no such problems, although Nichols says he's concerned about how he'll irrigate sorghum-sudan grass if he plants it next year. Guell notes that there's an art to moving the pods, as they can tip if the irrigation line is dragged in too wide an arc.


 The ground pod system also requires that fences be placed to allow for efficient movement of the lines. (Nichols installed a guard at the front of his ATV for driving over fences.)  .

Guell says he could provide at least some water to virtually his entire, 54­ acre dairy grazing bloc with the addition of a 500-foot extension from the well. Or, he could apply even more water by running a second irrigation line without losing more than a couple of pounds of pressure. The system comes with a variety of sprinkler heads, including one that would apply as little as a tenth of an inch of water per hour.

In addition to allowing better forage quality, Guell says he wants to use the system to extend his grazing season, as daily feed costs on pasture average $1.10 per cow, or half his winter average.

Nichols's primary problem is a limited water supply in his high-evapora­tion part of the world. He ran the system for all but three or four days during a three-month period last summer, and had to shut down because his retention pond was getting too low to serve its other purpose of providing cattle water.

He figures he needs at least half an acre-foot of retention pond water for every acre irrigated. The 13 acres he tried to irrigate this year was probably about three acres too many for the single system, as a little over an inch every 10 days would probably come closer to doing a proper job, he says.

The Nichols family has constructed a new retention pond, and Carl feels that 40 acres watered by at least four K-Line systems is a good short-term goal.



We have many K-Line pod systems operating very well on gravity flow systems with pressures as low as 25psi at the sprinkler heads. Where pressures are low, we are using a Weather Tec sprinkler with a special built nozzle that can give very good uniformity even with spacings as wide as 60'x40'. In general practice, we recommend this Weather Tec sprinkler where non-pumped gravity flow has a drop of between 70' to 100'. Where the altitude drop is greater than 100 feet, our other choices of sprinkler heads work well also. Nothing beats the "soft rain" that the K-Line irrigating systems produce in supplying irrigation water to pastures. With virtually no runoff and the deeper soaking with less evaporation, K-Line systems stretch the available water further and simply grow more grass than other irrigation systems. The ability to irrigate at lower pressures, where no pumps are needed, lowers K-Line Irrigation System operating costs and conserves energy. With the lowest maintenance costs by far of any irrigation system, it's no wonder that K-Line systems are showing up everywhere around the country. Where grazers are fortunate enough to have gravity irrigation water available (thus no pumping costs), the K-Line pod system is like a 'dream come true.'

For more information, contact John Nye at 866-665-5463 or info@k-linena.com





System saves time, labor


Capital Press Staff Writer

   An innovative irrigation system developed in New Zealand is catching hold with grassland and pasture irrigators on the West Coast.

   The K-Line Irrigation system uses low-volume sprinklers housed in protective polyethylene pods that are connected by flexible polyethylene tubing. The system is designed to be easily moved to new sets, towed behind a four-wheeler or small tractor, while the system is still irrigating.

   "If you can ride a four-wheeler, you can move the K-Line system," says Tye Fountain, owner of Pacific Ag Systems Inc., Junction City, Ore., one of several K-Line dealers in the West. The system works on small or large acreage, Fountain said. Most of the systems he's designed have been in the 20-acre to 100 acre range. A 10-pod system, with pods spaced at a maximum of 50 feet apart, can cover 4.5 acres with an eight-day return, moving the system once a day. Each new set takes only two to three minutes and without the heavy labor required by lateral hand-lines or wheel lines, Fountain said,

   "The system's very uncomplicated" Fountain said. "The only complex part is the initial system design, and that's something dealers provide."

   The tubing that goes between the pods is specially designed UV- stable, low-density 40 mm. polyethylene that's flexible, and doesn’t kink or roll, Fountain said. Because the tubing isn’t brittle, when the system is running and the tubing is full of water, it's resistant to animal impact and landowners can even drive tractors, pickups or four-wheelers over it, he said.

The system can be designed to use conventional impact sprinkler heads or Nelson Rotator sprinklers. Low gallon-per-minute nozzles are typically used and sets of 24 hours are encouraged. The low­pressure application over a longer period of time provides good soil absorption and reduces runoff or pooling, Fountain said.

Although the system is durable and long-wearing, if repairs are necessary, they are relatively easy to make and the entire system doesn't need to be shut down while be­ing repaired, Fountain said.

The system can be designed for odd-shaped or hilly fields, with nor­mal pasture grass profiles.

"I usually tell people the grass shouldn't be more than shin high, about 10 inches to 14 inches," Fountain said.

In general, the system costs slightly more than a lateral hand­-line system, but less than a wheelline system. K-Line Irrigation also can be phased into operation one section at a time as budgets allow, Fountain said.

One of K-Line's biggest benefits is in time and labor savings.

"We have people from age 12 to age 80 moving these," Fountain said. "It's an easy, very efficient way to irrigate."

For information and a list of dealers, visit www.k-linena.com.

 Reprinted from an article in the Capital Press.


K-Line Irrigation Introduces the New Kwik-Shifter

Click to Watch Video



Colorado Rancher Plans to Replace

Center-Pivots with Line-Pod Irrigation

(Reprinted from the August 06 Volume of “The Stockman Grass Farmer” magazine.)

An ATV is used to move line-pod irrigators. The irrigators are not shut off but a clothespin is used to temporan1y stop the revolving

    irrigator while the lines are being moved to prevent the operator from getting a cold shower. The Parry's move their line-ponds every 24 hours.

by Allan Nation


IGNACIO, Colorado: Colorado sheep rancher, Richard Parry, told attendees of The Stockman Grass Farmer's Sheep Production School that he planned to replace his center­ pivot irrigation with line-pod irrigation.


He explained this decision with a succinct, "No moving parts."


"Rule one in irrigation is "The more moving parts the more maintenance and frustration."


With line-pod irrigation, an ATV is used to move irrigation pods that are permanently connected to a flexible water delivery hose.


Parry said he has learned that in irrigation "simplicity is everything."


He has used flood, side-roll, gated pipe, fixed risers, center-pivots and line-pod on his thousand acre, high altitude Rocky Mountain ranch.


After two years of trial, he said he now plans to convert his whole ranch to line­pod irrigation.


Parry said he felt flood irrigation had no place in a grazing operation because it was water wasteful and led to pugging, parasitism and a host of other problems.


"You need to use spray irrigation with animals."


He said flood irrigation and gated pipe were the first form of irrigation to go on his ranch.


Side-rolls are very labor intensive and are subject to wind damage.


Fixed risers cannot be used with cattle but do well with sheep.


Unfortunately, fixed risers prevent the planting of winter annuals and Parry uses cold-tolerant annuals to grass-finish lambs during the winter months.


Parry said that these winter annuals (cereal rye and annual ryegrass in separate paddocks) allow him to sell fresh lamb to area restaurants seven months of the year from one May lambing.


While primarily a sheep ranch, Parry custom grazes beef cattle to control spring pasture growth and reduce parasitism in the sheep.


The ranch is Certified Organic.





He said center-pivots are considered low-labor and initially they are.


But as they age they become a maintenance headache with their many motors.


"There is no more helpless feeling than watching your pastures shrivel up while you wait for a technician to come and repair your center- pivot."

Center-pivot irrigators can dig deep trenches in permanent pastures, this

  is particularly true when the irrigator has to climb a hill. Parry plans to

   replace his center-pivots with line-pod irrigation.

"They also cut deep ruts into permanent pasture, particularly if they have to climb a hill."


He said he spent $7500 to fill the ruts on just one center-pivot circle.


He prefers the K-line brand of line-pod because their pods stay upright better when being moved.


He said he moves his line-pods every 24 hours.


"A 24 hour shift was a wonderful change. We used to call the side-rolls our dairy cows because they demanded attention every 12 hours."


He said the sheep are normally grazed two days ahead of the irrigation. In other words, the irrigation is following the sheep through their rotation.


"You don't want to irrigate in front of, or over, animals to protect your pastures from pugging."


He said maintaining a stand of perennial ryegrass and white clover in semi-arid Western conditions requires the application of three inches of water every 24 hours.


"You need to build your irrigation system for the hottest, driest day of the year."


He said that white clover requires more water than alfalfa but does not lignify in hot weather as alfalfa does.


"We use white clover in the same way some graziers use summer annuals to keep their hot weather gains up."


"To pasture finish lambs we want them to gain a minimum of 10 pounds a month every month."




Because the line-­pods only require 30 to 50 pounds of pressure to operate, Parry's line pods run completely on gravity-created pressure.


"You only need a drop of 100 feet to run them on gravity flow pressure," he said.


He said line-pod irrigation works well with connected surface water catchments that allow for a technique called "rain-harvesting."


"You need to develop a renewable source of irrigation water."


"Build these catchments higher than your primary pasture so you can run your irrigation on gravity pressure and avoid pumping energy expenses."


He said a line-pod development including main and spur waterline development and fixed risers cost around $350 an acre.


For direct marketers such as himself, he said that is roughly the cost of one lamb.


Parry said the higher the soil organic matter is the more effective your irrigation will be.


"Grazing at high stock densities with frequent moves will quickly build soil organic matter."


He said fertilizing with gypsum also helps make irrigation more effective by preventing soil capping.


Parry doesn't believe irrigation should be used as a primary means to increase per acre production.


"Irrigation is most cost-effective when it is used to fill the low spots in your natural forage flow and to keep slaughter animal gains high.”





                                     New Zealand refines irrigation system

                                                  (Reprinted from an article in the Capital Press)


By RICHARD BURGER Freelance Writer


Friday, June 03, 2005


Intensive pasture grazing requires irrigation, and that typically means expensive systems that are time- and labor-intensive to move and maintain.


Recent system developments from New Zealand, however, may have changed all that.


At a May irrigated-pasture field day in southeastern Washington, Frank Hendrix of the Yakima WSU Extension office demonstrated the new K-Line system he uses, which was developed by a New Zealand farmer who wanted a system that was relatively inexpensive, could be moved quickly and easily, and could withstand the rigors of grazing livestock.


The result was a system that can be moved in literally a matter of minutes with just about anything, from a tractor to an ATV.


In a demonstration for the field day attendees, Hendrix moved the system in use on his pasture in about 10 minutes, using his small farm tractor.


However, a K-Line representative with a zippy four- wheeler did the same job in less than half that time.


What makes the quick-change possible is the design of the durable plastic pods that house and protect the sprinkler heads.


These skid across pasture foliage easily and are designed with a rounded base that helps keep them upright when they're moved, and makes them easy to right if they should get turned over in the process.


Though the pods are relatively short, their use in tall pasture grass is not a problem, because of the trajectory of the water stream and the tendency of the stream to gently push back the grass close to the pod.


The pods are connected with plastic pipe that the K-Line rep said had "no memory," by which he meant that it straightened easily after being uncoiled from shipping, and it stayed straight.


The pipe is also said to resist ultraviolet damage from exposure to sunlight. K-Line cited an example in which the pipe showed no UV damage after seven years of outside use.


The standard coverage range for the sprinkler nozzles is 50 feet, and systems typically place the pods 50 feet apart on the line.


Systems can be matched to individual fields and can be used on virtually any terrain.


According to another K-Line system user who attended the field day, plugged nozzles can be removed, cleaned and replaced without shutting down the line, if you don't mind getting wet.


Cost of systems ranges from $300 to $500 per acre.


The K-Line system is available in the Yakima Valley from Akland Pump and Irrigation, with information on its website at www.aklandpump.com/. Information is also available at the K-Line website, www.k-linena.com/.


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                                             New Irrigation System Catching On


                        (Reprinted from an article by “kima” news Channel 29 in  Yakima, Washington)


By Tammy Mori

July 12, 2005


Yakima - A new irrigation system is beginning to catch on in the valley.


There's over 120-thousand acres of irrigated pastures in our county... and most of them use aluminum hand line systems, a concept that's been around for over a half­-century.


Cutting edge, K-Line Irrigation system, is helping farmers.


When I interviewed a farmer in Moxee today...he wasn't sure if he should smile or look mad like a farmer who's short of water.


Well, this new irrigation system seems to be making the most of this scarce resource.


Dusty's been a hobby farmer for years.. and has tried all different systems to water his pasture.


He's used the aluminum hand lines, the solid set underground system and the open ditch system...and decided to give the new K-Line system a whirl.


He was one of the brave few, in the valley, to try it out.


It's easy because it only takes 8 minutes to move.


The handline system takes an hour to move and is not a one man job.


And even though Dusty loves his new system... his pasture is not glittering green because he is using the Roza irrigation canal and gets 60-percent less of a water allotment this year.


But the cattle seem to be content because the K-Lines don't get in their way.


If you need to see it, to believe it....this new system is undergoing further tests at the end of the month, at 6810 North Wenas Road, in Selah.


Because the K-Line is a new product and imported from New Zealand... it is a little more expensive. Aluminum hand lines run around 600-dollars and acre and K-lines are about 700-dollars an acre. But farmers say it saves money in the long run.




Line-Pod Irrigation Helps Revive

 Western Nebraska Ranch

(Reprinted from the June 06 Volume of “The Stockman Grass Farmer” magazine.)

  The spray from a low-pressure line-pod irrigation unit is clearly visible in this photo from Stan Baker's ranch

   in Nebraska. The irrigation investment allowed Baker to increase his yearling stocking rate by 400%. This

  has allowed Baker to show an annual profit above variable costs of $240 on land that was worth $300 an acre

  before irrigation.

by Bob Scriven


OSKOSH. Neb: When Margaret Baker asked her husband, Stan, to take over the management of the family ranch in western Nebraska, that was a stretch.


Stan wasn't a rancher or a cowboy. But his background as a former Denver policeman followed by twenty years as a stock broker and investment banker did give him the skills to understand the business part of the operation.


When his ranch neighbor, Steve Sun, suggested that Stan start reading the Stockman Grass Farmer to learn how to effectively operate the ranch, the outcome was positive.


Picking ideas from the Stockman Grass Farmer led Stan to attend Dave Pratt's Ranching for Profit school.


He studied marketing strategies and cattle handling with Bud Williams.


When he read about irrigated ­pastures and their potential, he contacted me.


Today, Stan is perfecting the ideas and skills he learned through these, and other contacts.


The addition of an irrigation system on 400 acres of “river ground” stretching for two and a half miles along the north side of the North Platte River near Oshkosh, Nebraska, has become an important upgrade that Stan and Margaret Baker have added to their third ­generation Ferrell Cattle Company’s ranch holdings.


This pasture, dotted with its unique sprinklers, along with two pivot irrigated fields being converted to grazed forage production plus 300 acres of additional sub-irrigated pasture makes up a grazing cell that has become the focal point of the 30,000 acre ranch.


As of the writing of this article in early May, the Bakers are grazing 700 cow/calf pairs and 400 seven-weight heifers on this cell.


According to Stan. "What used to support the equivalent of 600 yearlings before the line-pods, now can easily maintain 2000 yearlings."


Consisting primarily of brome, wheatgrass, and forbs, this 400 acre pasture had been somewhat abused because of its close location to the handling facilities.


Being near the river, the pasture had some sub-irrigation. It was capable of running about 400 steers for three months in the spring and early summer.


The installation of a series of line pods (currently sold in the USA under the names  of Le-Pod and K-Line) dramatically increased steer numbers to 1200 head for four months and also produced a cutting of hay.


The end result was that the increased production paid for the entire system in the first year.


With the help of Don Trott, of Alpha-Ag, Inc., Baker installed 35 lines consisting of 410 pods on 400 acres.


The entire system is fed by one 900 gpm well that is also used to water a nearby pivot.


By designing the underground feeder line starting with 10 inch diameter pipe, and going down to eight inch, six inch,

and finally four inch, each outlet pod has a water pressure of 51 psi, whether it is 50 feet from the well or at the end of the last line.


Stan says that a good design element is essential to insure even distribution of the water.


The system was installed in 2004, but not used until 2005.




Stan starts to apply irrigation water around the first of April and applies 1.25 inches per application every 15 days.


Beginning May 15, he increases the rate to 1.25 inches every 10 days.


In the event of one inch rain, the system is turned off for a short time.


During July and August, the system is shut down, and the cattle are moved to the north ranch to graze native,

warm-season pastures. Then, if sufficient ungrazed residue is present, the paddocks are cut for hay or haylage.


As the days begin to cool in late August, the system is restarted and is grazed until late September.


Stan points out that this is a supple­mental water system.


It supplements the available ground water and timely rains. He plans to apply 8-9 inches per season.


Stan believes that the line-pod system is more water efficient than center pivots. He has two nearby pivots that he plans to convert to pods in the near future.


In establishing an irrigation system with the plan to utilize it less than maximum capacity, Stan said that he just wants to make the pasture "drought proof."


Most of Baker's pods are the Le-Pod brand.


To move a line, first the water is shut off at the riser, then the line is uncoupled, attached to a four-wheeler, dragged to the next area, and re-coupled at the other end of the line.


He hires two high school boys who spend about three hours each day in moving the"pods."



$240 A YEAR


Last year he spent $6000 to move the pods, utility costs were $4000, and he spent another $1000 on miscellaneous expenses.


But by tripling the grass production, Baker reports a net profit (above variable costs) of $240 per acre.


And, he reminded me that this land was valued at $300 per acre before adding the irrigation system.


The design for a line-pod system is unique to each situation.


The average line is 10 to 13 pods spaced 50 to 60 feet apart. This line is about 600 feet in length.


Each pod is fitted with a sprinkler nozzle that will cover a 50-60 foot diameter space. The nozzles are sized from one to 5 gallons per minute, depending on the amount of water needed in a given time period.


On Baker's system, each pod delivers about 2 gallons per minute.


By moving the lines in a zig-zag motion, and moving once a day, he can water an 11 acre patch every 10 days.


If the pasture needs water every five days, the lines can be moved twice daily or additional lines would need to be added. More frequent moves increases the labor cost involved which would need to be considered.


Stan's description might sum it up best. He says simply, "It is a garden hose on steroids."


The 400 acres are divided into twelve, 34-acre paddocks. There are three lines in each paddock. With the slow rate of flow, there is no standing water.


Applying 1.25 inches of water over a 24 hour period is an application rate of 0.05 inches per hour. Most normal soils can absorb around a half inch per hour.


Because of this very slow rate of application, it is not necessary to remove the livestock from the paddock when the sprinklers are funning.





According to Stan, the cattle seem to have less problems with flies during the hot summer days when they are in a paddock with the sprinklers in operation.


When asked if there were any surprises with this new system, Stan said, “Yes, there were several surprises that I did not expect“.


"First, the cattle use the pods to cool off in the heat and for fly control.


"I was surprised by the amount of warm-season grasses that showed up the first year of irrigation“. (Those primarily being big bluestem and little bluestem.)


"Previously, I was not aware of any of these grasses being present“.


“I was surprised at how quick the system paid for itself. I did not expect the pods to be as durable as they are. There was virtually no damage from the cattle, nor to one that was run over by a vehicle“.


"The labor involved in moving the pods was more than I expected, but it is worth it anyway."


When asked what he might do differently, he suggested that he might use a lower density pipe that could reduce overall weight and be easier to move.


The Bakers took over active management of the ranch six years ago. Marga­ret shares her time in management and the ranch bookkeeping with caring for their 8-month-old twin sons.


Stan spends several days a week at the ranch. They sold their original cow herd two years ago using the Bud Williams marketing strategy at a time when they thought the market was peaking.


They now buy and sell short term, cows, yearlings, and/or calves and custom graze 1500 head steers on the warm-season summer pastures.


Stan is confident that the strategies they are using are paying off. In six years they took a 1000-cow-herd ranch that was losing money to a profitable and sustaining, environmentally friendly, operation.


"Being a business person I learned that to be successful, find those who are doing it right and do it like them - nothing less and nothing more," said Stan. And he is happy to share his successes , with the next person who wants to learn.


Bob Scriven is an irrigated pasture consultant from Kearney, Nebraska. He can be contacted at irrigrass@charter.net. and will be speaking at SGF's Custom Grazing Conference, see page 8.





Ongoing K-Line Research


Three research stations have installed K-Line systems this past year. These research stations will be evaluating the effectiveness of K-Line systems over the course of the next few years.


The first system was installed at the Nancy Cummings research station in Idaho.

University of Idaho

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center

16 Hot Springs Ranch Road

Carmen, ID 83462   Phone 208-756-2749

The research center has 2 K-Lines totaling 24 pods.


The second was installed in North Dakota.

USDA Agriculture Research Service

Northern Great Plains Research Lab

1701 Kent Avenue Southwest

Mandan, ND 58554   Phone 701-667-3013

The research service has several K-Lines up and running.


The third was installed in Yakima, WA.

Extension Faculty, Animal Sciences, Livestock, Forage, and Range Management

Cooperative Extension Service

Washington State University, Yakima County

128 North Second Street, Courthouse Room 233

Yakima, WA 98901-2631   Phone 509-574-1600

The research center has 3 K-Lines totaling 20 pods.


Just a couple of other notes:

The University of Nebraska holds multiple pasture walks during the year. Interested parties can contact the University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension service in Knox County at 402-288-5611 for more information about the walks.



'K-Line Irrigation' is a registered trademark and the K-Line Irrigation system protected by

NZ PAT No 331985, AU PAT No 734210, US PAT No 6398131, US PAT No 6601775, ZA PAT No 2001/2856, CA Pat Appl No 2344281





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