Red Diamond, Inc. is a 110-year-old family owned coffee and tea producer located in Moody, Alabama, just outside of Birmingham. In 2007, Red Diamond constructed their current headquarters which spans 72 acres (29 Hectares), including 26 acres (11 Hectares) of irrigation turf. The company expects perfection not only with their product, but in their everyday operations. Their grounds serve as a first impression to visitors and remind employees of the company’s commitment to quality every day upon arrival. With many company events held onsite throughout the year, the grounds management team must ensure the property always looks its best even with high pedestrian traffic.
Red Diamond’s headquarters have received the Grand Award in the Professional Grounds Management Society’s Green Star competition in 2012 and 2015 and it is a designated Groundwater Guardian Site.
The site contains heavy clay soils with a high rock content and slow absorption rate that causes increased sensitivity to runoff compared to more porous soil. Irrigation components must have a high level of debris tolerance because the main water source is a lake located on the grounds.
Prior to upgrading to Hunter MP Rotators and pressure-regulated Pro-Sprays, the grounds management team was experiencing less than desirable results including unsightly brown spots in the turf. Brandon Haley, Grounds Manager for Red Diamond, states, “We had problems with extreme runoff and poor uniformity. Also, the gallons per minute requirement was too high for our pump system due to the original design and installation. This was leading to poor distribution, longer run times, and excessive runoff. It did not provide the impression that we aim for.”
In 2014, Mr. Haley began to search for a better solution that delivered increased distribution uniformity, a lower flow requirement, and reliable pressure regulation. There was a strong need to create consistent pressure demands across the entire system regardless of varying zone sizes.
The irrigation system was upgraded using Hunter's MP Rotators, multi-stream multi-trajectory rotating nozzles, and Pro-Spray PRS40 pressure-regulated spray bodies. The installation was completed entirely by the in-house grounds team in early 2015.
MP Rotators were chosen due to their slower application rate which allows water to gently soak in at a rate that the clay soil can absorb. Hunter’s Pro-Spray PRS40 offers pressure regulation at 40PSI, and ensures the optimum output pressure for the MP Rotator to achieve maximum efficiency and consistent operating conditions.
Since the completion of the upgrade, the grounds management team has seen a decrease in water usage of more than 30 percent. They also report that they have not lost any pumps due to inconsistent conditions; they were previously losing 2-3 pumps per year. The 33 percent reduction in flow requirements has also allowed the system to run with multiple zones at one time and reduce the overall watering window.
Appropriate watering levels were achieved without increasing run times even with the reduced precipitation rate of the MP Rotator. The team believes that in the past, they were losing so much water due to runoff, they were forced to increase run times beyond desired limits. They are optimistic about the possibility of being able to reduce run times even further with MP Rotators in the coming year.
“With the help of Hunter products, we have taken our system from the dark ages of irrigation into a model of efficiency for properties in the Southeast United States. Our grounds need to look great year round, and Hunter's sprinklers provide the quality and reliability I can count on,” says Mr. Haley.
The Red Diamond grounds team is proud to lead the way in high-efficiency irrigation practices and Hunter will be there to support them for years to come.