Center pivot irrigation systems are very popular watering systems used by thousands of farmers looking to increase their crop yield from the smallest use of water resources.
To achieve that, center pivot system services stress the importance of careful system adjustment so that irrigation uniformity can be guaranteed.
Through good irrigation system maintenance and an understanding of irrigating uniformity, farmers can get the most from their systems with the lowest investment.
Why Irrigating Uniformity Matters
Irrigating uniformity is making sure that each center pivot system is delivering the prescribed amount of water to every plant in the field as required to ensure optimal growth.
As such, a system that delivers too much water to some plants and not enough water to others is wasteful.
Overwatering or underwatering results in damaged plants and in both cases, water and fertilizer is wasted when all those plants fail to thrive.
To reduce wastage and benefit from higher yield, farmers must continuously test for irrigation uniformity to ensure their center pivot systems are functioning properly and delivering the right amount of water everywhere it needs to go.
How To Test For Center Pivot System Uniformity
Testing the delivery uniformity of center pivot irrigation systems is relatively easy.
Through testing, farmers will come away with an understanding of what parts of the water delivery system are not performing as they should so these components can be examined more closely and any irrigation system maintenance provided.
Center pivot irrigation systems can be tested for delivery uniformity in just a few easy steps:
- Sprinkler Installation and Positioning - To ensure valid test results, every center pivot system should be equipped with the right sprinkler heads that are accurately positioned as needed for the specific crop.
- Collector Cans - Identically-sized collector containers a minimum of 2.5” in diameter and 5” high should be set along multiple parallel lines of the system no more than 10 feet for spray heads and 16 feet for impact sprinklers, though the closer they are together the more accurate the readings.
- Run the System - Turn on the sprinkler system and run it for a period of time at normal pressure and an application depth of no less than .60 inches.
- Measure and Record Collected Water - After collecting water, pour contents of each can into a volumetric cylinder to measure how much each sprinkler has delivered and put it into an application spreadsheet.
- Analyze Data - Using the Heerman and Heim method, calculate the Coefficient of Uniformity (CUH) to determine how much water each row of sprinklers is delivering in its travel path.
Succeed With Center Pivot Irrigators With Irritation Uniformity
When testing center pivot irrigation systems, keep in mind that delivery measurements do not account for other variations such as wind, soil moisture levels, and other details to be factored into determining recommended delivery amounts; they only test how much output the system is delivering.
The data should be used as a directive on which sprinklers need better irrigation system maintenance, and as a means for dialing in a more efficient use of the entire system.
Using this method, farmers can keep better track of actual delivery amounts to ensure each plant gets just enough water for optimal growth.
A little time spent periodically to ensure center pivot systems are performing accurately is an effective way to troubleshoot plant growth problems and boost yield for a more successful harvest!