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COMPLETE SOLUTION FOR BLUEBERRY IRRIGATION ON A HILLSIDE

30. September 2022 | 4 min read

Modern irrigation and fertigation systems increase yields even when it comes to demanding crops and challenging field conditions. A family business in Serbia, BB Crown Agro Group, chose a modern, water-saving irrigation system for their 2-hectare blueberry orchard on uneven terrain. From conception and design to installation and maintenance, Pipelife is proud to have supported the family throughout the project.

BB Crown Agro Group's blueberry field in Obrenovac, Serbia | Pipelife

Bringing Traditions and Modernization Together

Specializing in blueberry cultivation, the Becin family decided to found their own company — BB Crown Agro Group — four years ago. The family business is located in Obrenovac, Serbia, and their first blueberry field covered an area of 1.8 hectares. Today, BB Crown Agro Group owns 3.8 hectares of blueberry plantations, and the company’s goal is to expand to a total of 6 hectares in the nearest future.

The most common blueberry variety in the BB Crown Agro Group orchard is ‘Duke.’ The key to growing blueberry plants successfully is the right soil conditions. The soil should have a pH value between 4 and 5.5, and the optimal electrical conductivity of irrigation water should be ~1mS/cm.

This year, BB Crown Agro Group invested in modern drip irrigation and fertigation system to ensure consistent growth conditions and higher yields from their orchard.

Higher precision and Lower Consumption: The Advantages of Drip Irrigation

Drip irrigation nowadays is considered one of the most water and nutrient-saving methods in agriculture and is widely applied in orchards. Studies show that, for fruits and vegetables, drip irrigation can save 17-43% of water compared to other methods.

With an adequate drip irrigation setup, each plant receives the exact amount of fertilizer and water to thrive. Furthermore, water is added only in the root zone of the plant; thus, there are no additional losses on evapotranspiration.

A row of blueberry plants with a drip irrigation system installed | Pipelife
Control valves of the drip irrigation system in the Becin family orchard | Pipelife

360-Degree Service for Farmers

BB Crown Agro Group chose Pipelife as their supplier and project partner because the family was looking for a complete drip irrigation solution with comprehensive technical support.

Instead of offering a generic, off-the-shelf solution, Pipelife’s specialists tailored the entire irrigation setup to the specific field conditions of the Becin orchard. The challenge was to divide the irregularly shaped, sloping plot into separate irrigation zones and choose the optimal position for the main and secondary water supply lines.

From water supply piping and drippers to remote valve control, all system elements were delivered by Pipelife at the beginning of the installation. Therefore, no time was wasted on waiting for additional deliveries or searching for specific parts or components. In addition, BB Crown Agro Group could also rely on Pipelife’s supervision and consulting services throughout all phases of the project.

Setting Up a complete Irrigation and Fertigation solution

Pressure-compensated (PC) drip pipes are a perfect choice for uneven or sloping fields, as they ensure that the same amount of water is supplied to every plant. Due to a 17% inclination in the field, pressure-compensated irrigation equipment was also installed for BB Crown Agro Group.

The project began in late March with the installation of  the main water supply line: 940 meters of DN 32 to DN 50 PE pipes with a pressure class of PN 6. Afterward, the lateral lines were set up, totaling over 7,000 meters of PE 40 irrigation pipes DN 20 PN 4 and almost 9,000 PCND (pressure-compensated no-drain) drippers.

With the new setup, one PCND 4 l/h dripper will supply each blueberry seedling, ensuring consistent soil humidity and fertigation throughout the growing season.

To have 24/7 control over the system and eliminate human errors, the solution for BB Crown Agro Group also includes a MINIAGG 6 control unit. Combining drip irrigation with one of the most modern monitoring and control systems on the market makes it possible to dose water very precisely while reducing labor and creating more flexibility for the farmer. The operator can adjust the amount of water and irrigation duration remotely, as the system is able to open or close valves individually.

BB Crown Agro Group's blueberry field in Obrenovac, Serbia | Pipelife

Continued Support for FRUITFUL Seasons

For BB Crown Agro Group, the complete irrigation and fertigation system was installed on a 2-hectare plot in just ten days. However, Pipelife continues supporting the Becin family by providing after-sales service including a 24-month guarantee on spare parts.

In 2023-2024, it is planned to extend the current irrigation system by additional 2.2 hectares, ensuring optimal growth conditions for even more blueberry plants in Obrenovac.

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