Irrigation system installed in Ecuador, hard lessons learned

This week I finished installing the irrigation system for my one hectare (2.2 acres) Stevia lot.

There were a few different options… install a drip irrigation system or a sprinkler system. My part-time farm manager with experience in Stevia said for this crop a sprinkler system is fine.

The quotes I was getting for installing the drip systems were $3-4,000 USD for the hectare.

The spinkler system about half that.

All said and done the sprinkler system came to $1,400 materials, $300 for the 5 horsepower Briggs-Stratton American gas pump, and $250 for the installation. Total $1950.

Duration of installation: 3 days.

There were cheaper Chinese pumps available in the $200 range but I went with an American brand.

But as soon as my manager saw the installed system as per the photo below, he said I should have used more powerful sprinklers and I would have put fewer lines and saved a lot, for a hectare he says I should have spent around $800 in materials. Overspent there. Live and learn.

Also, after a week of irrigating the land pre-arrival of the plants I´ve learned an important lesson, DON´T buy a gas pump! Go electric if humanly possible even though the electric pumps may cost triple that of the gas pumps, and it may be a hassle to get an electric connection nearby. It is not only cheaper in the long run but much less of a hassle also to not have to be going to gas stations every other day and filling up the 5 gallon jug.

Little things my manager probably should have told me but hey, now I know.

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