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Do you know the story behind the PVC in the last photo? From what little I know about them, it looks like it might be part of a furrow irrigation system.
Yes, that's gated pipe.This oat field is irrigated through the use of gated pipes. The black rectangles on the pipe are the gates. The pipe connects, ultimately, to a spot where there's an intake from the "Casper Canal", the Kendrick Irrigation System, which is a large canal that takes water out of Alcova Reservoir for irrigation.
It occurs to me that might answer might not be clear.Gated pipe is very common here for irrigated fields, and its' a much cheaper alternative to pivots. They essentially replace open ditches, which is exactly what this set did last year in this field. You roll them out to where the water should flow down the rows. You have to open a section of gates every so many hours, just as what you would have done with an irrigation dam in an irrigation ditch.We're so used to these, that it just seems that they must be everywhere, but of course, that's not true.
The longer I farm, the more localized farming seems to be. Locally, there's almost no irrigation in any form, although as you drive north you might start to see some pivots irrigating higher value crops like corn, but I never would have guessed that a field of oats would be irrigated in the way you describe with gated pipe.
Indeed, all agriculture is local, including stock raising. That's so easy for people to forget when they try to relocate from one area to another.Here, all crop production of any kind, including hay crops, are irrigated. We just don't get enough water otherwise. There was dry land farming in the region up until the 1930s, but the drought of that era took it out. There are a few places around here were there were dry land hay crops, that really depended upon little shallow lakes that dried up during the summer, but that was because the era prior to the 30s was pretty wet.