Center pivot irrigation systems are one of the more popular irrigation systems used today. These systems are relatively easy to maintain in comparison to other irrigation systems and highly efficient. To achieve the greatest efficiency with one of these systems, it is important to purchase the right center pivot irrigation systems as well as consider a few other important factors. When correctly equipped and programmed, center pivot systems have been proven to reduce overall irrigation costs for more efficient crop production.
Common Causes of Reduced Sprinkler Efficiency
Center pivot irrigation systems are the most commonly chosen type of irrigation systems because of the many benefits they provide. This includes things such as ease of operation, low maintenance requirements, and flexibility in the way they can be used. Yet all of these advantages are worthless if the system itself is not correctly installed by an experienced agricultural irrigation system services company. Some of the main reasons why center pivot systems are not as efficient as they could be include the following:
- Sprinkler Output - In order to correctly calculate application rate, it is essential to know the sprinkler output in order to know whether to upgrade to sprinkler applicators with a known output rate. Failing to understand how much water the sprinkler is releasing, and the size of the area it can cover at that rate, can increase water consumption while decreasing the efficiency of the entire system.
- Water Application Rate - The water application rate is related to sprinkler output. It is essential to know what water application rate is possible through the overall system as well as the rate that is necessary for the specific crop and conditions. This information is vital in order to correctly program the sprinkler system regarding the next problem area - pivot speed.
- Speed of Pivot in Relation to Water Application Rate - The speed that the pivot system travels is the third essential part of determining how to program for most efficient irrigation; it is also the one that is commonly overlooked. When traveling around a circle, the outer towers on any center pivot system will cover more ground than the inner ones. This means the outer sprinklers should receive more water than the inner ones; this will avoid saturation closer to the center and not enough irrigation toward the outer edge of the circle.
Getting the Most Efficiency from Center Pivot Sprinklers
The reason why center pivot irrigation systems are so efficient is because they are so controllable. Achieving that kind of efficiency requires a thorough understanding of how to actually control the irrigation. In order to avoid the common mistakes referenced above, growers must understand the output capacity of their pumps, the sprinkler system itself, and the sprinkler applicators. Experienced agricultural irrigation system services companies know this means farmers must learn how to adjust all of these things to deliver the exact amount of water and fertilization necessary for optimal crop yield.
Taking all aspects such as pivot speed, distance traveled, and sprinkler output into consideration, it is possible to adjust each sprinkler applicator to deliver the ideal amount of water based on its position along the system. By doing this, every plant receives the water it needs with much less water being wasted throughout the irrigation season.
Although the initial investment in center pivot irrigation systems may be a bit higher than other systems, this money is typically regained with the proper programming and irrigation scheduling. For the most overall efficient system, be sure that a knowledgeable agricultural irrigation system services company installs the sprinkler. Be sure that the right parts are used with the system, such as appropriate sprinkler applicators and the right drive system types to help control and improve irrigation scheduling!