Aged centre pivots can be the source of significant water and production losses for growers every season. Degradation of the irrigation system over time, while often unseen, results in changes to optimum operating pressures, creating patterns of under and over-watering, application uniformity deterioration and blockages. Crop yields are significantly affected and compound each year.
At the Fiander Moor Dairy Farm in Mil-Lel, Mount Gambier, a centre pivot fitted with Nelson Rotators had been in place for approximately 15 years with a sprinkler pack that had done upward of 10,000 hours of hard labour!
Running a Catch Can Test was the first step in identifying how the system’s performance was tracking and, given its age, the results were not too surprising.
Water depth measurements were captured every 2 metres along the pivot to calculate the relative difference between cost to production and water application uniformity and how that relates to crop production. The results showed a water distribution uniformity of 53%, revealing overwatering and underwatering along the pivot in different areas under the machine. The effect on crop growth had a negative impact on production every season.
After analysing all components of the irrigation system, it was concluded that the sprinkler pack was in need of replacement.
After the fitment of Nelson Irrigation Rotators from our 3030 series, the Catch Can Test was repeated. The results revealed an improvement in water depth for each catch can along the pivot that showed a 52% increase in water distribution uniformity. With pastures no longer experiencing a mix of over and under-watering, crop yield has returned to productive levels as well as saving water.
In many cases, the cost of rotator replacement is less than the financial losses from inefficient watering. As was the case for Fiander Moor Dairy Farm, many growers will make their money back in the first year and immediately stop the losses for future seasons.
Featuring the widest throw on drops and highest uniformity in its class, the Rotator® was used due to its industry-leading performance, standing out as an elite solution designed to take pasture losses to the bare minimum.
The 3030 model comes with an extensive list of benefits including:
3NV flushable nozzle that can also be used to turn sprinklers on and off.
Dual nozzle clips allow for high and low flow rates, providing ideal watering during the germination and growing phase of crops.
Good droplet size and high wind fighting ability for watering uniformity, which achieves a lower application rate, along with reduced runoff, wind drift and evaporative loss, all with fewer sprinklers required along the pivot.
Pivot sprinkler systems work hard and are exposed to the elements. It is recommended that you conduct a performance evaluation every four to five years to avoid the financial hit that damaged systems cause each season.