The centrifugal pump has changed the way that Boulder County farmers use ditch water today.
With a pump, a farmer can do things today that he couldn't do 150 years ago, like:
Centrifugal pumps were perfected by 1851, but there was no easy way to power one on a farm at that time.
It was not until rural electrification in the 1940's that pumps came into common use.
A snap shot of Boulder County Farms in 2000
- 736 total farms in Boulder County
- 107,629 farm acres (22% of total land)
- $32.8 million total sales (~$305/acre)
- Median farm size is 38 acres
- 468 farms are less than 50 acres (131 of these are 9 acres or less)
- 379 farms produce hay and forage crops
- 252 farms produce animals for sale (cattle, pigs, sheep, poultry)
Only 30 farms produce vegetables for sale (636 acres total)
Boulder County Farms by Size
- 25 farms: 1000+ acres
- 25 farms: 500-999 acres
- 61 farms: 180-499 acres
- 157 farms: 50-179 acres
- 337 farms: 10-49 acres
- 131 farms: 1-9 acres
Right, clockwise from the top left:
Centrifugal pump driven by a steam-powered threshing machine, USGS Water Supply and Irrigation Paper #1, 1896. Courtesy of Carnegie Branch Library for Local History, Boulder CO.
Diagram of centrifugal pump.
Mike Munson opens an irrigation window in a collapsible plastic pipe, to water a zinnia field. Despite the lack of rain, Munson Farms had a better than average year because of abundant irrigation water. Daily Camera Photo, Chris Grassnick, 2008.
Cure Organic Farm uses a pump and drip system to water parsley and kale with the Jones & Donnelly Ditch.
Cure Organic Farm pumps ditch water from a cistern.