( Courtesy Duncan Family Farms )

Duncan Family Farms, Goodyear, Ariz., has installed an irrigation treatment system that’s highly effective, controllable and transportable.

Duncan Family Farms grows organic produce on more than 7,000 acres in different regions, according to a news release. The equipment, from Germany-based Kuntze Instruments, includes five systems in Oregon, where baby tender leaf crops are grown.

The installation comes as the California and Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreements are updating water treatment protocols in the wake of E. coli outbreaks linked to romaine lettuce.

“We were looking for the best solution to safely meet the recently adopted Leafy Greens Marketing Association sanitation requirements for irrigation water, and Kuntze presented impressive technology that could positively impact our growing operations and the entire fresh produce industry,” Jeremy Vanderzyl, director of technical services at Duncan Family Farms, said in the release.

The system includes real-time monitoring and management of chlorine, pH levels and temperatures through sensors. Chlorine is automatically adjusted to optimum levels, reducing chlorine use. All information is available through wifi-enabled devices and can be controlled remotely.

“Our Cloud Connect data tool and industrial process control systems are perfectly suited for agriculture irrigation water sanitization application providing 24/7 key information for an efficient operation,”  Andrew Barker, president of Kuntze USA. “Once a field is harvested, the compact, self-contained units can be easily moved to another field, saving the capital costs of a permanent installation.”

Vanderzyl said irrigation water treatment is still a “young concept,” with growers doing their own research and development.

“Ensuring crops are safe for consumers, and without harming the soil, is such an important issue to the industry and we are committed to sharing our experiences and sources with other growers,” he said in the release.

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LGMA considers water standard updates, soil amendments next

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