REMOTE BELIZE FARMERS TRY BY TRIAL AND ERROR IMPROVEMENT OF CASH COMMERCIAL CROPS RESEARCH, OUTSIDE OF GOVERNMENT CHANNELS!
Thanks for the offer Peter but I managed to get one of the photos down to size and Manolo resized another so I will pass on initiating the pissing contest. Seriously I have been winging this farm thing ever since I started. I love a challenge and look for situations requiring unorthodox solutions. The isolated farm has provided me with lots of opportunities to hone my creative side - I have overcome most of the challenges using the trial and error method. I have licked the electricity problem with a genset I bought from you and 3 small solar systems (total available stored solar energy is 16 Kilowatt hours). The running water system is working well, I am using chicken and sheep shit for most of my fertilizer needs, about 4 years ago I got a small tractor across the river(using 2 small skiffs yoked together with a 60 hp outboard motor - boy, was that fun and did it have the adrenalin running) and three months ago I crossed a land rover which comes in very handy. When I decided to get into the Drip System I did some research on the net and bought my hoses and a Honda Gas Pump (125 GPM) - I learnt that I would need at east 10 PSI to open the weepers so I pondered on how to devise a system to control the pressure at 10 - 15 PSI so as not to rupture the drip hoses. After many early morning thinking sessions I decided on hooking up a 40 foot 3/4" PVC pipe against a Cieba tree and drilling holes at 5 foot intervals starting at 20 feet to indicate the pressure in the system calculating 2.3 feet elevation/PSI and installing 2 3/4" faucets to relieve the pressure if it went too high. Just before I bought the materials to set up that system during one of my early morning sessions it dawned on me that I could replace the 40 foot column with a $12.00 water pressure gauge. That system is now in place and with the pump running at minimum speed the guage shows little pressure in the system while delivering 325ccs/hr of water per drip outlet. Yes I actually placed a container under one of the drips and timed then measured the delivery rate. All my calculations will be based on field data as opposed to formulae. During the next two weeks I will be fine tuning the system and doing the necessary calculations to have it up and running. When I get the crops going I will start tackling the marketing aspect. I must say that I am enjoying the journey as much as I will the destination.
On Sun, Jan 23, 2011 at 11:24 AM, Peter Singfield
At 08:40 AM 1/23/2011 -0600, you wrote:
Sorry but I tried to send the photo but it was rejected because it was too big. Maybe I will send it to Manolo to cut it down to an acceptable size.
Send one to mois off list and I'll demonstrate how it is "best" done.
Then send another to Manolo -- then one to Hugh - -and we will compare - -quality and sizes.
Maybe Oscar would like to pay me a visit to see what I am trying. After more than ten years of playing farmer (developing infrastructure ad nauseum) I have decided that its time to start some serious production. During the first week of January I started setting down a Drip Irrigation System to start production on a commercial basis. I am starting a half acre with vegetables and plan to expand to do another half acre for papaya and melons within the next few months. Some professional advice would be more than appreciated. I tried getting someone from Min. of Ag. in Belize City to visit but after more than a dozen empty promises I gave up on that and have been relying on my research on the internet and discussions with representatives from the various agric. supply houses. I will try to attach a photo of the progress to date. I expect to transplant some 600 seedlings within the next two weeks. Have lots of photos of the farm at various stages of development - before and after shots - but they might be too big to send through this medium.
You have easy water Alvaro - -so you can pull off drip -- here to the North drip is expensive in water wupplying for it.
One requires 20 times or more water to raise plants using drip than hand watering plant to plant.
There are two types of agriculture practice here in BZ. Commercial farming -- which can be small -- medium -- or large in scope.
And subsistence farming -- which is growing for one's table with a little extra to market to pay for the materials required --
I am presently working on water solutions for the second.
For the poor here in BZ Norde -- the only viable means of getting water for dry times is by hand dug wells.
Sure -- it would be nice for our GOB to have spent but a super tiny fraction of all the moneies borrowed and "lost" on a well drill -- so everyone could have had decent water and more than enough -- for small crop growing -- but that did not happen -- nor will it ever!!
The problem with dug wells -- especially when the dry hits -- ver little replacement flow.
If your lucky -- you might get 100 gallons of water up and out -- then wait four hours for that to replenish.
Worse yet -- this bottoms out the water in that well -- causing vicious erosion cycles -- which cause the bottom sides to continually collapse into the well. Huge labor to clean this out - -and must be done once every week or so.
The solution -- local style -- it not to take out more than say one bucket of water -- every 15 minutes or so. A bucket -- or rather small zinc pail -- being around 3 gallons.
So I have developed a simple inexpensive system to solve this problem.
And am in process of ordering the parts -- and will install one such -- soon.
The technology involves a special small diaphragm pump -- capacity 3/4 gpm -- uses but 1.9 amps -- 12 volts -- power.
I am ordering two from the US for proto-typing - -they cost $60.00 US each there - -but should it work well -- I will order much more directly from China -- for a prices of $10 US or less.
Some points --
1: These would run -- doing their cycling -- 24 hours per day -- using a 55 Watt 12 V solar panel - -and one car battery.
They will also work down a deep pipe well bore.
As you might already know -- I am investigating small wind pumps for deep wells as well.
Course -- one needs remember two things of vital importance.
What are you using for a pump Alvaro??
Have you done your flow calculations yet??
I dug up an ancient CD I had with numerous (like a thousand!!) engineering math formula programs -- all for the oldest DOS. The CD -- surprise suprise -- was still good -- I copied it to HD -- and then Googles up a DOS "patch" to make them all work.
A few of the formulas are specific to "flow" -- dia of pipe -- total length -- GPM -- etc.
My first client has been Fruta Bomba -- Papaya company. I am doing more and more of their pump work now.
Anyway Alvaro -- you have easy water -- I can build you a custom pump using that same diesel engine running your Genset -- it will last forever -- and cost the least amount of fuel compared to any other solution - -and deliver at least 80 GPM -- probably 100 plus --