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Irrigation Efficiency and Uniformity. R. Troy Peters, PhD, PE. Average Annual Rainfall. USGS 1995 Consumptive Use Numbers. % Consumptive Use of Renewable Supply. Entire Colorado River Basin 103% California – Nevada 35% Montana – Wyoming – Nebraska 30%

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consumptive use of renewable supply
% Consumptive Use of Renewable Supply
  • Entire Colorado River Basin 103%
  • California – Nevada 35%
  • Montana – Wyoming – Nebraska 30%
  • Entire Mississippi River Basin 9%
  • Washington – Oregon – Idaho 4%
  • 80% of WA water withdrawals is for Agriculture
  • Greater % of consumptive use is irrigation
washington irrigation
Washington Irrigation
  • 1.8M irrigated acres
  • 80% sprinkler, 15% surface (gravity), 5% drip
  • 75% surface water, 25% groundwater
  • Today irrigators apply ¾ the amount of water that they were in the early 1970’s and getting much better yields
  • Recently (2002) the total sprinkler irrigated acres in the U.S. surpassed surface irrigated acres

2003 Census of Agriculture. Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey

christiansen coefficient of uniformity
Christiansen Coefficient of Uniformity

where:

CU = coefficient of uniformity

z = individual catch (in)

m = average catch (in)

uniformity
Uniformity
  • Better yields
  • Improved crop quality (more uniform)
  • Less water used = $$ savings
  • Less lost fertilizers
  • Less mess
  • Better for the environment
  • Chemigate or fertigate with confidence
improve uniformity
Improve Uniformity
  • Run at pressure and flow rate that the sprinkler package was designed for.
  • Keep correct nozzle sizes in correct position
    • Keep your sprinkler chart. Double check it.
  • More sprinkler overlap
    • closer spacing
    • larger wetted diameter (sprinkler throw distance)
  • Replace nozzles every 3-5 years (inexpensive)
  • Rotator/Wobblers are better, but must be rotating. Fix leaks. Fix and unplug heads.
center pivot uniformity
Center Pivot Uniformity
  • Replace sprinklers about every 7 years.
  • Use pressure regulators on sloping fields (depends on operating pressure; > 10-15 ft elevation difference).
  • Run at the pressure and flow rate specified in the nozzle package. If pressure or flow rate changes, renozzle.
  • End gun and cornering system uniformity is typically poor.
irrigating potatoes
Irrigating Potatoes
  • Large yield & quality losses caused by water stress in all stages of development
  • Deficit irrigating is not economically justified on potatoes.
  • Large differences in profitability on potato production due solely to irrigation management
forms of water loss
Forms of Water Loss
  • Wind Drift
  • Droplet Evaporation
  • Evaporation from Foliage
  • Evaporation from Soil Surface
  • Runoff
  • Deep Percolation
    • Overwatering
    • Non Uniformity
irrigation efficiencies
Irrigation Efficiencies

Highly dependant on:

  • System Design
  • Management
  • Maintenance
  • Weather
  • Operating Conditions
improve efficiencies by
Improve Efficiencies By:
  • Get a good design
  • Maintain your system
    • Replace worn nozzles
    • Fix leaky pipes
  • Improve management
    • Irrigation Scheduling
    • Operate at designed pressure and flow
    • Irrigate on calm cool days
    • Increase Application Rate
why should i care
Why Should I Care?
  • Even if the water is free, poor irrigation management has very real costs
  • Yields and quality are very strongly correlated with irrigation water management
  • Expensive fertilizers washed out
  • Environmental damage
marketable yields for various vegetable crops
Marketable YieldsforVariousVegetableCrops

cabbage

spinach

rape

carrot

tomato

onion

Imtiyaz, M., N.P. Mgadla, B. Chepete, and S.K. Manase. 2000. Response of six vegetable crops to irrigation schedules. Agricultural Water Management. 45(3):331-342

over irrigating
Over-Irrigating
  • Increased incidence of plant diseases
    • Blights, molds, rots, wilts
  • Reduced storability
  • Difficulty with harvesting and cultural operations
  • Less oxygen in root zone, yield loss
  • Additional labor, pumping, fertilizer costs
water costs
Water Costs
  • Assumptions:
    • 130 acres
    • 100 ft deep well
    • Center Pivot (40 psi required at pump)
    • 56% irrigation efficiency (85% application efficiency, 30% loss to deep percolation, additional water for poor uniformity)
    • Growing corn (seasonal water req’d: 36 in)
    • $0.04/kW-hr
  • Unnecessary electric power costs paid $3,200 (compared to 80% efficiency)
pumping costs
Pumping Costs
  • $1.29/acre-in pumping costs
  • At 80% irrigation efficiency and 85% uniformity $1.90/acre-in of plant water requirements
  • About $250 to apply 1 inch to a ¼ mile pivot.
fertilizer losses
Fertilizer Losses
  • Assume:
    • silt loam soil (2 in/ft),
    • growing potatoes, 1.5 ft root zone
    • at field capacity
    • even concentration of fertilizer throughout profile and leached water
  • Over-irrigating 1 inch = about 14% of soluble fertilizers percolated out of the root zone.
  • Results in lost $, lower yield and potato quality
benefits
Benefits
  • Most things that decrease your irrigation costs also benefit the environment
    • More flow for fish, less dirty water returning to rivers
    • Less consumption of energy
    • Less fertilizer, pesticides in streams and groundwater
    • More carbon sequestration (takes CO2 out of the air)
but make some real money
But Make Some Real Money!
  • Saving money small compared to the yield increases and crop quality improvements common from improved irrigation water management.
levels of irrigation scheduling
Levels of Irrigation Scheduling

Worst

  • Guessing / Same schedule all season
  • Kicking the dirt / Looking at the plants
  • Look and feel method using shovel or soil probe
  • Checkbook method / ET (AgWeatherNet)
  • Soil moisture monitoring
  • Neutron probe + checkbook (consultant)

especially cost effective for high value vegetable crops

Less profitable

Profitable growers

Best

pivot sprinkler packages the goals
Pivot Sprinkler Packages:The Goals
  • High uniformity
  • High efficiency
  • Maintain soil structure
  • No ponding or runoff – good infiltration
  • Low pressure (saves $$$)
  • Low initial costs
  • Long life
sprinkler packages droplet size distribution
Sprinkler PackagesDroplet Size Distribution
  • Large drops compared to small:
    • Higher efficiency – less surface area
    • Less wind distortion
  • Large drops break up soil surface structure (“don’t treat soil like dirt”)
    • Especially in heavier textured soils (silts and clays)
  • Small droplets better for bare soil
  • Large droplets better after full cover, hay
  • Higher pressure = smaller droplet size
simple unit conversion
Simple Unit Conversion

1 in/day = 18.86 gpm/acre

(use 19 to get close)

  • Multiply maximum water use requirement in inches per day by 18.86 gpm/acre.
  • Divide gpm/acre by 18.86 to get in/day.

Examples:

0.2 in/day = 3.8 gpm/acre

7.5 gpm/acre = 0.4 in/day

slide59

Dual Sprinkler Packages

  • Low flow package (4-6 gpm/acre) good in spring
    • Gentler on the soil – maintains soil structure, doesn’t cause surface sealing (easier for small seeds to break through surface crust
    • Not an issue on sandy soils (no need for dual packages)
  • Higher flow packages (6-8.5 gpm/acre) needed in summer
    • Required to keep up with higher crop water use rates during hot summer months
slide60

Dual Nozzle

Clip

DUAL FLOW SPRINKLER PACKAGES NELSON 3TN Dual Nozzle Clip

Evapotranspiration (ET):net demand that must be replenished to maintain available supply of water for crop production.

height the lower you go
Height... The lower you go…
  • Higher efficiency (more of pumped water gets to crop)
  • Less uniformity distortion by wind
  • Slightly poorer uniformity (less overlap) under low wind conditions
  • Smaller wetting pattern – possible infiltration problems
  • Lower pressure required (save $$ on pumping energy)
  • Poor uniformity when rotated into corn
  • Requires more drops/span
pressure regulators
Pressure Regulators
  • Pressure changes = flow changes = poor uniformity

Senninger Irrigation

pressure regulators63
Pressure Regulators
  • Needed for:
    • Steeply sloped fields
    • If delivery pressure is highly variable
    • If end gun doesn’t have booster pump
  • 5 psi > regulated pressure required

to work properly

  • Regulators cost money ~$8-12/each
    • Would like to not use them if possible: flat fields,

single source supply

pressure regulators64
Pressure Regulators

Maximum elevation difference that will cause a 10% flow variation

water and power
Water and Power

Pay for power (kW) over time (hrs) = kW-hr (KWH)

3 phase vs single phase
3 phase vs. Single phase
  • Power is generated in 3 phase
  • 3 phase is ideal for electric induction motors
  • Higher starting torque
  • More efficient
  • Less expensive
  • Smaller motor
  • Simple and reliable (less vibration)
  • 3 phase motors are more efficient at higher hp
  • Necessary for pumps > 10 hp
  • Not typically supplied to residences
variable frequency drives
Variable Frequency Drives
  • Changes motor spin speed. AC→DC→AC
  • Solid state. No moving parts. Cost ↓ Quality ↑
  • Works with existing motor and pump.
  • Can use a 3-phase motor on single phase power source

www.joliettech.com

variable frequency drives71
Variable Frequency Drives
  • Power savings.
    • No burning up pressure across valves.
    • Soft starts – longer pump life
  • Produce heat that must be vented.
  • ~ $100/hp installed
  • Possible cost share from power company. (BPA)
  • Cost effective if flows vary widely and for long periods of time.
cost sharing
Cost Sharing
  • EQUIP – USDA, NRCS
    • Major efficiency upgrades, surface to sprinkler
  • Conservation districts
  • Bonneville Power Administration – For energy saving projects.
    • Through electric utility provider.
    • SIS - $5/acre. Grower must get weekly report.
    • $0.15/KWH saved or 70% of improvement, whichever is less.
    • Must verify energy savings
chemigation75
Chemigation

General term that includes:

  • Fertigation
  • Herbigation
  • Insectigation
  • Fungigation
  • Nematigation
advantages of chemigation
Advantages of Chemigation
  • Economics
  • Timeliness
  • Reduced soil compaction and crop damage
  • Operator safety

Disadvantages

  • High management (need to know algebra)
  • Additional equipment required
calculating injection rates
Calculating Injection Rates
  • Batch/Bulk Applications
    • Drip, Hand-line, Wheel-lines, Solid set
  • Continuous Move Injections
    • Center pivots, Linear Moves, Travelers, Booms
  • Controlling water chemistry
    • Drip (algae/bacteria growth control, root intrusion)
batch applications
Batch Applications
  • Herbicides and Insecticides
    • Apply during the last few minutes (follow the label)
  • Fertilizers
    • Time to put the chemical in the active root zone, and so that the injection is finished before irrigation is done. Rate is less critical
batch injection rates applied early in the irrigation cycle
Batch Injection RatesApplied Early in the Irrigation Cycle

Drip Tape

40%

Soil

30%

20%

10%

More danger of leaching.

batch injection rates applied late in the irrigation cycle
Batch Injection RatesApplied Late in the Irrigation Cycle

Don’t leave chemicals in the lines.

Drip Tape

40%

Soil

30%

20%

10%

Less danger of leaching.

batch application
Batch Application
  • Weight Method
    • Mix desired amount of material in a convenient amount of water.
    • Inject until it is gone.
    • Injection rate set to limit irrigation line concentration and injection time.
  • Volume Method
    • Similar except applying a set volume.
injection rate
Injection Rate

Ic = Injection Rate (gpm)

Vol = Volume of Chemical to inject (gallons)

T = Injection Time (min)

question
Question
  • Given:
    • Need 50 lbs/acre N
    • Mixture is 4.7 lbs N/gallon
    • Wheel-move: 60 ft between sets, 40 ft between sprinklers, 30 heads operating.
    • 24 hour sets
  • How many gallons of liquid fertilizer needed?
  • What is a good injection time period?
  • What should we set the injection rate at?
  • When should we start injecting?
checking maximum solution concentration in lines will it corrode my lines
Checking Maximum Solution Concentration in Lines(Will it corrode my lines?)

Cs = Solution Concentration in Irrigation Lines (%)

Ic = Chemical Injection Rate (gal/min)

Qw = Water Flow Rate (gal/min)

question86
Question
  • Given:
    • Irrigation pipeline flow rate of 1000 gpm
    • Injecting 3 gpm
    • Maximum line concentration from the label is 2%
  • Are we underneath the maximum line concentration?
continuous move

Continuous Move

Injection Rate is Critical

calculate injection rate by mass given lb acre specs
Calculate Injection Rate by Mass(given lb/acre specs)

Ic = Chemical Injection Rate (gal/min)

Qw = Quantity of chemical to be applied (lb/acre)

A = Area (acres)

C = Concentration of injected solution (lb/gal)

T = Injection Time (min)

question90
Question
  • Given:
    • 100 acre pivot
    • Want to apply 20 lbs/acre N
    • Fertilizer is UAN 32 which has 2.5 lb/gallon N
    • Takes 2000 min for full rotation
  • What is the injection rate (gpm)?
calculate injection rate by volume given pint acre specs
Calculate Injection Rate by Volume (given pint/acre specs)

Ic = Chemical Injection Rate (gal/min)

Qv = Quantity of chemical to be applied (gal/acre)

A = Area (acres)

T = Injection Time (min)

question92
Question
  • Given:
    • 125 acre pivot
    • 10 hour full rotation time
    • Want to apply 1 gallon/acre fungicide
  • What is the required injection rate? (gallons/hour)
water chemistry control

Water Chemistry Control

Goal is ppm water concentration

water chemistry control95
Water Chemistry Control

Ic = Chemical Injection Rate (gal/hr)

Fw = Flow rate of the Irrigation water (gpm)

Cw = Desired chemical concentration (ppm)

P = Percentage of chemical in solution (%)

question96
Question
  • Given:
    • Irrigation system flow rate of 1000 gpm
    • Need 5 ppm chlorine in water to kill bugs
    • Using household bleach (5.25% chlorine)
  • What is the required injection rate? (gallons/hour units on the pump settings)
question98
Question

Determining amount of solution for fixed ratio injectors

Given:

IR = 0.571 gal/hr of bleach

1. Calculate total flow of irrigation system in one hour

100 gpm x 60 min/hr = 6000 gallons per hour

2. Calculate total gallons of solution to be injected

(divide Step 1 by ratio)

6000 gph ÷ 100 = 60 gallons of solution

3. Mix the 0.571 gallons of bleach with 60 gallons of water in the injection tank

total chemical to be applied how much dry chemical to mix with water

Mixing Dry Chemicals

Total Chemical to be Applied(How much dry chemical to mix with water)

Wt = Weight of chemical to be applied (lbs)

A= Area (acres)

Rm = Rate to apply by mass (lb/acre)

Pcnt = Percent concentration in mix (%)

minimum volume for mixing dry minimum amount of water to use

Mixing Dry Chemicals

Minimum Volume for mixing dry(Minimum amount of water to use)

Vmin = Minimum volume (gallons)

Wt = Weight of chemical to be applied (lbs)

S = Solubility of chemical (lb/gal)

weight of dry to get ppm level

Mixing Dry Chemicals

Weight of dry to get ppm level

Wt = Raw chemical per 100 gallons of water (lbs)

Ci = Desired concentration (ppm)

calibration of equipment
Calibration of Equipment
  • Small differences in injection rates make large differences in total amount of chemical applied

- Insufficient or excessive ($$) application

  • Calibration involves injecting water and checking the actual volume of water injected
  • Set/check injector rate by injecting water for 1 minute