17 September 2013
Article from a blog by Valley Irrigation: growingtheconversation.blogspot.com
Consider what low-pressure sprinkler technology can do for your operation.
If your center pivot or linear machine is currently running at high pressure, consider this: low-pressure sprinkler technology effectively operates at 10-20 PSI, both reducing your input costs and protecting soil integrity. It also allows for precise application in different zones. This not only helps those producers in areas where water restrictions are an ever increasing concern, but any producer who is interested in more managed and uniform irrigation for crops, less soil disruption, and lower operating costs.
“Efficiency and uniformity are important factors in water application,” explained Jerry Gerdes, Water Application Product Manager at Valley® Irrigation. “Water droplets must be large enough that wind won’t evaporate or blow them away, but not too large to create run off and soil disruption. The challenge for our sprinkler suppliers is to create sprinklers that work at the highest efficiency, getting as much water in the ground as possible, while avoiding those traditional problems.” According to Gerdes, rotating sprinklers available through the Valley product line have been able to strike this balance.
Doug Muscott, a sales engineer with LAD Irrigation in Othello, Washington, agreed. “I’ve been designing and selling irrigation equipment for more than 30 years, and I know that what matters to the grower is good engineering. Sometimes people get caught up in the flash of what’s new, but in the end it is about delivering the right amount of water for that crop. The new technology being used at Valley does this.”
“The low-pressure equipment now available is designed to deliver optimal irrigation water within the important parameters – soil intake rate, water holding capacity of the soil, climate and water needs, and of course the type of crops being farmed,” he added.
There are additional benefits to using low-pressure sprinklers, according to James Burks, President of Senninger® Irrigation, a Valley sprinkler supplier. “The trend is to cut back on water available for irrigation. Producers are asked to produce sufficient crops to feed a burgeoning world population and be profitable with less water, so water efficiently making its way to the plant is of huge importance. If we can provide high pattern integrity and low pressure application, we can help growers do so,” he shared.
Jim Reid, co-owner of Reid Brothers Irrigation in Unadilla, Georgia, sees low-pressure sprinklers helping growers using zone application as well. “For the producers we work with who grow multiple crops, these low-pressure sprinklers are ideal. Using one of the Valley panels, like the Select2 or Pro2, they can put out different rates of water in each section, varying the amount of water on designated areas of the field. This eliminates the need to guess what time you must be in the field to slow the water down. It can now be automatically adjusted, even at low pressure.”
Valley has long been a leader in developing this technology and bringing it to growers. Along with their sprinkler partners, Nelson® Irrigation and Senninger Irrigation, they’re bringing the latest solutions to growers nationwide. Muscott believes the leadership of Valley within the industry in the area of low-pressure sprinklers comes from their dedication to not only engineering research and development, but staying on the forefront of the technology involved.
“Water application specialists at Valley Irrigation are certified by the Irrigation Association, which indicates their dedication to staying at the forefront of irrigation technology. This is important for growers, because these are the same people dealers call for assistance when they are helping growers determine how to build a sprinkler package that will meet their particular needs. If you tie a grower to the wrong sprinkler package, it can have damaging effects on their bottom line. All input costs have inflation factors – including irrigation water and the energy necessary to get it to the crops. Costs will inflate, but commodity prices do not – they are volatile,” Muscott explained.
“The good news is that Valley, and their dealer network, not only has the advanced equipment, but the knowledge, the engineering experience and the insight to understand how best to apply the technology to the bottom line: helping growers do more with less,” he concluded.
For more information on water application packages for your center pivot, contact your nearest WaterForce Branch