PVC pipe provides irrigation for BASF fungicide product testing

In the field of scientific research, precision and uniformity in all elements of an experiment are vital. This is especially true at a crop research station for BASF, the world's largest chemical company, in Dinuba, Calif. BASF's Dinuba research station grows a variety of 50 to 60 crops on 108 acres of land for the testing of the company's herbicide, fungicide and insecticide products, requiring a reliable irrigation system...

VALLEY FORGE, PA -- In the field of scientific research, precision and uniformity in all elements of an experiment are vital. This is especially true at a crop research station for BASF, the world's largest chemical company, in Dinuba, Calif.

BASF's Dinuba research station grows a variety of 50 to 60 crops on 108 acres of land for the testing of the company's herbicide, fungicide and insecticide products, requiring a reliable irrigation system. Until recently, the research station had used traditional aluminum piping for irrigation purposes, which created a host of problems. Aluminum pipe is notorious for its leaks, which threatened the uniform water distribution needed for accurate and successful crop research.

"Whenever we pressurized the pipes or took the pressure off, water would leak out and form puddles along the line, leading to over-saturation and uneven plant growth," says Max Landes, Research Station Manager for BASF's Dinuba location. "We have to have uniform water distribution in these projects, and aluminum pipe did not give us that uniformity."

To increase efficiency, BASF looked for alternative irrigation pipe products and found exactly what they were looking for in CertainTeed® Certa-Set™ PVC Irrigation Pipe. Certa-Set is a highly efficient restrained-joint PVC solid-set irrigation system that features high impact strength and UV protection, making it ideal for all above-ground irrigation applications. The patented Certa-Set coupling's dual-gasket system conserves vital water resources and results in instant pressurization during start-up.

"Certa-Set's superior leak-free performance allows for even water distribution and lower utility costs for the end user," says Steve Gross, Director of Marketing for CertainTeed's Pipe Business. "Certa-Set is also easily moved and assembled and provides long-lasting durability for growers who have experienced the many inefficiencies of aluminum irrigation pipe."

In January, the BASF Dinuba research station began using 800 feet of Certa-Set pipe, with sprinkler heads attached every 30 feet at pipe joints, for an ongoing fungicide test project. The project involves inoculating a field of wheat with a crop fungus and keeping the wheat moist to allow the fungus to grow. BASF then tests its fungicide products on the infected wheat. The Certa-Set pipe proved itself in this application, meeting with favorable reviews from BASF.

"For areas where we do these fungicide trials, the Certa-Set irrigation pipe is definitely a good solution," Landes says. "The joints are very well-sealed, and we can set the pressure where we need it to be and not have it drop. Most importantly, the Certa-Set irrigation pipe doesn't leak, so it gives us uniform water distribution without puddles in the field."

Certa-Set is also a big hit with the BASF research station staff, who have found the pipe easy to maneuver from field to field, always a delicate task.

"When you're moving irrigation pipe, you always have to be really careful not to damage the trial crops, and with aluminum pipe, there is always more potential for creating disturbances," Landes says. "Our crew really likes being able to assemble the Certa-Set PVC pipe, piece by piece outside the field and pulling it in. You don't cause as much crop damage that way, and the lighter weight of the pipe makes it easier to move from location to location."

The BASF Dinuba research station will continue using Certa-Set for irrigation on its future crop research projects, and believes it is an ideal system for production crops as well, Landes says.

CertainTeed is North America's leading brand of exterior and interior building products, including roofing, siding, windows, fence, decking, railing, trim, foundations, pipe, insulation, walls, ceilings and access covers.

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