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question about tractors and laying new water lines

 
Rita Swan
Posts: 16
Location: Carolina Piedmont
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Hi- I recently bought land in SC. My plan is develop a pasture based poultry and swine business. One of my first projects is getting water piped around the farm. I have a Massey Ferguson 1547 tractor. It has a 47hp engine. My question is about an implement I'm considering buying. It is a ripper that you can attach a pipe laying tool to. I'd like to know if anyone knows if my 47 HP tractor can pull the ripper. I need to go to 8 or 9 inches to get below the frost line. I called the company selling the implement and they said any tractor can pull this ripper. I'm not convinced. Here is a link to the ripper http://www.agrisupply.com/p/p/73410/ This is my first post on permies! Thanks in advance for any help. Also if anyone has any advise on how to go about this project I'm all ears. I'd like to know what kind of pipe people have used, what kind of valves or fittings they used. I'd also like to know if anyone uses their water lines in the winter and if so how do you keep the water from freezing. I've run pipe to frost free hydrants in the past but there is no way I can afford to do that on this scale. I want to be to tap the water lines every couple hundred feet to do intensive rotational grazing. I know people like Joel Salatin do this.
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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Hey, I can't comment to pipes and fittings but ripping with that tractor and that shank shouldn't be a problem at all unless you have crazy jungle roots or giant subsoil boulders. Why are you unsure of your tractors ability? I haven't used that model but Massey made some pretty solid equipment.
 
Rita Swan
Posts: 16
Location: Carolina Piedmont
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Overly cautious- inexperience would be my reasons for asking about the tractor. I don't want to damage the tractor and I don't want to spend money on implements that don't work, or that I can't use. It's good to check with people that have experience.
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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To be totally clear - I really don't have that much experience. I mean, I have a shit-ton more than most people. If the shank and frame are solid and it will ride your 3 point though I can not see you having too many problems, maybe a slight learning curve. Minus gnarly conditions. I don't know what your conditions are like. Please don't try running your tractor on a 45 degree slope.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 1978
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
151
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47 hp. will pull a single shank ripper (sub soiler) quite easily. You can always go slow and use the 3 point to adjust the depth until you get used to the way your tractor pulls it.
 
Rita Swan
Posts: 16
Location: Carolina Piedmont
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Thanks for the info! I ordered the ripper. I'll update the post after I try it.
 
Rita Swan
Posts: 16
Location: Carolina Piedmont
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Update and question

I got the ripper with the pipe layer. I've started trenching first without laying pipe to see how deep I can go and what the soil is like. So far things are going well. It looks like this is going to work. So.......my next question is what kind of fixtures should I use when I want to tap the line? I have 40 acres that I would like to get water to. I do intensive rotational grazing so I graze very small areas at a time. I can work with 200-300 ft of hose. I don't mind that. That still means I need to tap the line every 600 feet or so. I need something that I can connect a hose to. Has anyone done this? I know Joel Salatin does this but I don't know exactly how. Thanks in advance for your response. I wish I knew how to post a picture here.
 
Joe Braxton
Posts: 320
Location: NC (northern piedmont)
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Without knowing exactly what type of pipe you are using it's almost impossible to tell you what kind of fittings will be needed. If you bought the pipe from a retailer, go with what they recommend. If it's second hand, try to find out what the material is. Different plastics/metals need their own types of fittings.

If you cant afford the frost free risers, you can put normal taps below ground level in purchased/made boxes. A little more pain to use but workable.



source
 
Rita Swan
Posts: 16
Location: Carolina Piedmont
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Thanks Joe. My plan as of today, is to use PEX pipe. I'm not going to do frost free hydrants- too expensive--too permanent. Could you explain how the box would look/work? I see your picture but I don't know how this would look or work when installed. We don't have a deep frost line here and some years there is virtually no frozen ground because freezing temps don't last long enough to keep the ground frozen. This winter was an anomaly with the polar vortex(s) and it went to -7. I'm using PEX because it's affordable and expands allowing for some freezing. I'm also designing in a low point with a drain so I can drain the whole system if the temps really plummet. I would like a fixture that I can put a simple hose shut off valve on. Then I would connect a separate hose going to my troughs when I have animals on that section of the property. When not in use the hose to the trough would be removed and the shut off valve would be closed.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 1978
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
151
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
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In Joe's photo, the black portion is subterranean, the green part (lid) is at ground level, pipes go in the holes at the bottom and the housing contains the valve to direct the water flow, or shut off the water flow. Access to the valve is through lifting the green lid.
You can use pex, galvanized or plastic pipe and the appropriate valve(s).

This housing allows you to use what ever type of valve you need, with easy access while not having any part of the water pipe system above the soil surface. These are mostly found in use at golf courses and homes.
 
Rita Swan
Posts: 16
Location: Carolina Piedmont
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Thanks Bryant. Now I'm getting the picture. I think this would work. I have a stockpile of cedar posts that were cut here years ago. I could use those to mark where the water taps are. Does that box have a commercial name? BTW- Just found the attachment tab :0)
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 1978
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
151
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
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They are called junction boxes or irrigation valve boxes. This site has most of the different configurations sprinkler valve boxes
 
Rita Swan
Posts: 16
Location: Carolina Piedmont
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Nevemind- Found it.
 
n.f. pritchard
Posts: 1
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You've have enough hp.....deeper the better the one time deep freeze w broken pipe will pay to go 1, to 18"..... 2diff kind of pex freeze is cheeper and they still make it always go w/no freeze type gator fittings are the way to go for novices. ...ring type cheeper but takes expensive tool to clamp....then you have compression type that will take different pipe besides pex.....always pull deeper than you need to clout rocks and problem areas...you may have to drag subwoofer 2-4 time to clear soil... good 5gal bucket w /tight lid works be careful when opening bad spiders love these dark holes wear heavy gloves to turn on valve leave open for a few and look.good luck. Nfp
 
R Scott
Posts: 3306
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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There are special quick fittings just for rotational grazing, but the sprinkler cans work for a lot less--just make sure the lid can handle a cow stepping on it! If you use 5 gallon buckets, use an old disk blade or concrete stepping stone to make the lid.

I like regular garden hose fittings-common and easy to repair/replace. They are slower flowing than the special fittings though, and that can matter if you are trying to run a lot of cattle on a small tank.
 
Rita Swan
Posts: 16
Location: Carolina Piedmont
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Thanks for all the responses. This is all good info. After hours (I can't believe how I can spend hours researching a fitting) of research I've ordered enough material to run about 300 feet of the pipe and install one tap. This is my prototype. If it works well I'll do the remaining 800 ft of this first run. It's exciting. In my research I've learned all kinds of things, like running a tracer wire with the pipe so in the future I'll be able to find the lines, leaving service loops to allow for expansion and contraction over long runs, how to do pressure checks at each tap. I still have more questions. One of the foremost is about water pressure. I'm laying 3/4 in pipe off a 2 inch water main. All my tee's are straight through- 3/4 all around. In this first run with the first tap I'm staying with 3/4 all the way to the hose connector. I'm wondering if I should step down to 1/2 at the tee's or the facets to create more water pressure? Does it matter? I'm going to be filling 70-100 gallon water tanks. I would like to be able to do that as quickly as possible. There is an existing run off this main that I think is 2inches all the way to the hydrant. When I lift that hydrant I better be holding onto the hose or it flies out of my hands. I think the pressure on that line must be way above 70ppi. I LOVE the time it takes to fill troughs off that line but it's really too much. I'm going to buy a pressure gauge for testing my new lines. I will screw it onto that hydrant and see what it reads. That will be interesting. Thanks again and I'll report back on my progress.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 1978
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
151
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
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Most water mains check out to be 100 PSI, some are as high as 120 PSI but that is fairly rare.
If you are making a very long run it is best to stick to the main size, in your case 2" ID.
Doing this will allow less pressure drop over the length of the run. For anything over 100 ft. length I would run 2" then reduce to 1" or 3/4" when I am ready to place a manifold, this will allow you to have full pressure and volume over the entire setup.
Most houses will have an inside the house water pressure of 60 PSI, Trailers are designed to handle 40 PSI, outside faucets usually are at the inside the house line pressure.

Pressure will drop if you are going up hill, -10 PSI per 100 feet of rise.
Given a 2" main line ID stepping down to 1" will give a +10 PSI per 100 feet.
Going from 2" down to 3/4" will increase the pressure by 20 PSI, going down from 1" to 3/4" will give an increase of +5 PSI.

Buzzard's roost sits 150' above our meter, our meter in ID is 2", pressure at the meter is 120 PSI, our line starts from a shutoff valve that feeds 3/4" line running up the hill and we have a PSI of 90 at our main line faucets. (this was all installed by the PO.).
I will eventually change the main run to 2" ID and do drop downs at the top of the ridge through a manifold. This will allow me to retain a full pressure of 100 PSI for all 5 of our water lines. Right now we only have two so it isn't a problem the way it is currently set up.
When we get lines set for chickens, goats, rabbits and pigs, we will need to redo the main line up the hill.
If you have to much pressure for any particular run you can install an inline pressure regulator to keep from blowing out the line or over pressuring a watering device.
 
Tom Gauthier
Posts: 50
Location: U.P., Michigan
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Hi Rita,

Just my 2 cents ...
I'm sure you've found that your tractor is more that adequate.
Being in SC, I would think that your frost depth is no more than 12", so if you trench down 16-20", you should never have a problem.
As for the water line, I would suggest nothing smaller than 1", but the difference in cost to go to 2" is negligible, so that's what I'd recommend for your main line run. You mentioned PEX, but in this application standard black poly water line is fine and it may be a lot cheaper and the fittings are very cheap.
Another thing regarding the size of the line vs. pressure ... the rate of filling a tank is not just dependent on pressure, volume is also a factor. It doesn't matter what the pressure is, it would take forever to fill a 70 gallon tank through a 1/4 pipe. The large main line will really make a difference.
Finally, you seemed to write-off frost-proof hydrants pretty quickly as being to expensive. Since you don't need real deep hydrants, you might check again. The cost of the valve boxes plus the valves and fittings, plus the hassle of connecting a hose down in a hole might be higher than you think. The convenience of the hydrants is worth a lot (in my opinion).

Good luck with your project.

-Tom
 
Tim Malacarne
Posts: 226
Location: South central Illinois, USA
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My 2 cents would be: Amazement at the good advice and ideas from the commenters above. Was me, I'd go for more connections, that way you could use shorter, light runs of hose. Nobody stays young forever... A person gets sick, has a small surgery, whatever. No need to build in a permanent, mandatory workout for moving a sprinkler.
Pipe friction is worth reading up on. Our garden is about 250' from the pond. With the same pump, We began with a garden hose for the 250' and we could run one sprinkler. When I changed to inch and a quarter black plastic, I could run 4 sprinklers. Pipe friction... I am not an engineering type, but for the distance involved, there's an optimum size for the flow rate desired. In general, bigger is better.
I sure wish you luck pardner! Best, TM
 
Garrison Smith
Posts: 4
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I'd like to second what was mentioned above about black poly pipe. PEX is great, but will be more expensive then black poly (also called hdpe).
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