Landowner Profile Peter Carey

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					                                                                                                          July 2006

                                           Benefits of Conservation Planning
United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service     Landowner Profile
“There will be savings                    Peter Carey is a Modoc County
on everything you can                     cattle rancher who wanted to
think of!”                                increase irrigation efficiency on
           — Peter Carey                  170 acres where he had been
                    Cattle Rancher        using open irrigation ditches and a
                                          diesel pump to water his pastures.
                                          His forage production had been
                                          low, and there had been no
Carey Ranches
                                          production on one of his fields for
                                          the past two years.
Management Goals
• More efficient water use;                Carey applied for cost-share
• Improved forage production;             assistance through USDA’s
• Improved water quality;                 Environmental Quality Incentives
                                          Program (EQIP) with the idea of installing a pivot sprinkler system.
• Reduced erosion;                        His flood irrigation system of open ditches lost a lot of water through
• Improved pest control.                  leakage because of the permeable soil, and his diesel pump was
                                          costing more than ever because of rising fuel prices. With the
Conservation Practices                    ditches, it also took a long time to get water on the fields.
• Open ditch irrigation system
    replaced by a low- pressure,          Initially, Carey wanted to install one or two pivot sprinklers and an
    underground pipeline;                 electric pump. This would have saved water and had some other
                                          benefits, but after NRCS evaluated the proposed site other aspects
•   Old diesel pump replaced by           were discovered. Carey worked with a soil Conservationist and
    an electric pump;                     an Engineer from his local NRCS office to develop a conservation
•   Pasture planted with specified         plan. Through the planning process and after careful consideration
    plant species on about 150            of all of the possibilities, issues, benefits, and goals, Carey came to
    acres to produce high-quality         the conclusion that a low pressure pipeline flood system had much
    forage and reduce erosion;            more to offer.
•   Prescribed grazing on about
    200 acres.                            Although the pivot system
                                          would have had roughly
Planning Benefits                          the same installation cost,
                                          maintenance costs over
• Improved irrigation efficiency;          time would of have been
• Reduced erosion;                        considerably more. Parts
• Increased forage production;            wear out. Energy costs for
                                          a high-pressure sprinkler
• Improved pest control;
                                          system would have been
• Improved water quality;                 much higher as well. Also,
• Improved air quality.                   the low head system will be       Rancher Peter Carey (left) and
                                                                            Soil Conservationist Larry Flournoy
                                          about 30 percent more water       evaluating the project site.

           THE NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER AND PROVIDER
efficient than sprinklers in getting                                                 the area. They tear up the ground
water to the root zone, and possibly                                                and ruin forage plants and crops.
more than that on a windy day.                                                      “Flood irrigation will keep the squirrels
                                                                                    out of the fields, saving $6 to $10 per
“The pipeline will improve water                                                    acre in control measures,” Flournoy
efficiency and improve water quality                                                 said.
while having much lower operating
and maintenance costs than a high-                                                 “It used to take eight hours just to get
pressure pivot system,” said Soil                                                  water to my fields,” Carey said. “And
Conservationist Larry Flournoy.                                                    it took over three weeks, pumping
“Energy costs alone would be about                                                 day and night, to irrigate,” he added.
$160 per day to irrigate with a pivot                                              “Now, I’ll be able to get water on the
sprinkler. With flood the cost is                                                   fields in 15 minutes, and irrigation
only $15 per day,” he said. Pest control is another                will take just seven days. “There will be savings on
benefit. Ground squirrels are a major problem in                    everything you can think of!”




By replacing his old irrigation ditch with buried mainline, Carey will eliminate ditch banks used by livestock, eliminate erosion
through the ditch system to the Pit River, and increase forage production through improved irrigation efficiency on about 170
acres for cattle and wildlife.




Soil Conservationist Larry Flournoy (right) reviews Carey’s
conservation plan during the pipeline installation. Landowner
                                                                   Open ditches were replaced with buried, 15-inch PVC pipe.
Pete Carey is standing on the left. 	                              The new irrigation system will save water and over time will
                                                                   cost much less to operate and maintain than a pivot system.