Five Things to Consider When Designing a Center Pivot System
You’ve made the decision to invest in a center pivot irrigation system… now what?
“A critical first step is working with a trusted dealer who will help you design a system that meets your operation’s unique needs,” said Tim Wilson, Irrigation engineering manager. “A Zimmatic dealer will work closely with you and stand behind their work – offering outstanding service and maintenance support for years to come.”
To achieve the best results, Wilson recommends considering the following when designing your irrigation system:
Crop water requirement– Make sure the design always starts with understanding the daily peak crop water requirement for specific crops and locations.
Water supply– Once the crop water requirement is known, you must determine if the available water supply can irrigate the desired crop for the total area.
Soil– The system must be designed around actual soil conditions in order to avoid runoff or deep percolation, while delivering water before the soil moisture reservoir is depleted (rotation time). If you try to irrigate too much are with limited water, on a sandy soil, for example, the pivot can’t make it back to the beginning before the crop is stressed.
R.O.I.– While it would be easy to base your decision on initial capital expenditures, that could cost you thousands of dollars down the road in increased energy, maintenance and repair costs. For example, using pipe that’s too small can increase pressure losses, which drive up pumping costs for the life of the system. Using the wrong sprinklers at the wrong pressure or spacing can decrease uniformity – requiring longer irrigation times, which increases energy costs and wear and tear on equipment. It’s always best to think long term when making decisions.
Automation– Try to include as much automation as possible into your system design. Because agriculture labor shortages will likely continue to escalate, technology will allow you to reduce labor costs and benefit from enhanced features.