Friday, December 19, 2008

Four generations harvest corn crop

When Smith’s family got together for harvest this year, they were doing more than picking corn. They were celebrating four generations involved in the harvest on land held by the family for about 200 years.
Smith said actually two more generations should be recognized.
Smith’s father, Bryan Smith, moved his family to land north of Enders, where Smith, 87 next month, resided from 1929-1952. He then moved to his present location near Champion.
The Smiths, including son Lloyd, grandson Nick and great-grandson Allan, 12, farm corn, wheat and soybeans. They began picking high moisture corn Sept. 29, then laid off for three weeks to wait for the corn to dry down. The Smiths completed harvest Dec. 3. Lloyd’s wife Rhonda drove a semi to transport corn. Vilas Smith began farming when he was 10 years old, helping his father and a hired man. He drove a four-horse cultivator. “I can still hear those horses clopping,” he laughed.
When he first began harvesting corn, horses were still used. Then tractors came into play.
Smith remembers the steamer and thrasher used for harvesting wheat. It took a lot of time to cut wheat. He also remembers the corn pickers attached to a tractor or pulled behind one. The corn was harvested on the ear, then stored in a rick. It was scooped by hand into a sheller to remove the kernels from the cob.
The big difference these days, Smith said, is the machinery.
Most of the Smiths’ crops are irrigated by pivot, with just a little gravity irrigated. Smith said he first installed gravity irrigation on the Champ­ion Valley land, using siphon tubes connected to ditch water. Gated irrigation pipes followed, and then sprinkler pivots.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Evaluation of a Center Pivot irrigation system

Here is the evaluation abstract of a central Pivot irrigation System (CPIS), made in Brazil from a technical and economic point of view. The profitability of the system was simulated using real data obtained from a farm located in Chile, projected over a time horizon of ten years.
Internal Rates of Return were estimated on two crops that frequently use CPIS maize for seed and maize-for grain, assuming a decreasing capital allocation and an increasing governmental subsidy, in the terms provided by Chilean Law 18.450.
From a technical standpoint, results showed that the operation parameters agreed with the specifications of the manufacturer. The Hermann and Hein Coefficient of Uniformity obtained was 86%, classifying the area irrigated as «well watered».
The Distribution Uniformity parameter obtained was 79%, an adequate result for the crop and soil conditions of the test.
The Internal Rate of Return obtained for maize for-seed varied from 23% to 103% for the range of 100% to 25% of self-financing.
For the case of maize-for-grain the investment is profitable only with a maximum of 70% of capital allocation from the part of the farmer, implying that the minimum subsidy required from the part of the State is 30%.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Water for farming

Most people may drink only two litres of water a day, but they consume about 3,000 if the water that goes into their food is taken into account. The rich gulp down far more, since they tend to eat more meat, which takes far more water to produce than grains.
So as the world’s population grows and incomes rise, farms will (if they use today’s methods) need a great deal more water to keep everyone fed: 2,000 more cubic kilometres a year by 2030, or over a quarter more than they use today.
Yet in many farming regions, water is scarce and likely to get scarcer as global warming worsens. The world is facing not so much a food crisis as a water crisis.
The solution, is more efficient use of water (Pivot Irrigation Systems) or, "more crop per drop”. Some 1.2 billion people, about a fifth of the world’s population, live in places that are short of water. Farming accounts for roughly 70% of human water consumption.
So when water starts to run out, as is happening in northern China, southern Spain and the western United States, among other places, farming tends to offer the best potential for thrift. But governments, whether to win votes or to protect the poor, rarely charge farmers a market price for water. So they are usually more wasteful than other consumers—even though the value they create from the water is often less than households or industry would be willing to pay for it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fathers of Center Pivot Irrigation (IV)

Valmont Industries, Inc.
Valley Manufacturing Company (Valmont Industries, Inc.) was founded in 1946 by Robert Daugherty.
He invested his entire life savings to start the company, which manufactured farm elevators, hay rakes, wagon hoists and tractor front end loaders.
In 1954, he acquired patented manufacturing and sales rights for self-propelled irrigation system from farmer Frank Zybach.
Advancements in technology like linear move systems, hot dip galvanizing, low-pressure nozzles, and computerized pivot panels has made Valmont the largest manufacturer of center pivots in the world.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fathers of Center Pivot Irrigation (III)

T-L Irrigation Company.
T-L Irrigation Company's founding father, LeRoy Thom was raised on a farm in Ravenna, Nebraska. Before founding T-L Irrigation in1955, Thom worked a wide variety of farming jobs from custom combining to irrigation engineer. Today, the family based company has 250 employees and sells thousands of pivot irrigation systems in 44 states and in more than 30 countries. Thom's farming background is what sets his company apart from other irrigation manufacturers. He stresses that before anything else he is a farmer and all newproducts are tested on his family's farm before being sold.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fathers of Center Pivot Irrigation (II)

Reinke Manufacturing Company, Inc.
Richard F. Reinke was born in Byron, Neb., in 1922. Reinke founded Reinke Manufacturing in 1954 and is considered the father of modern-day mechanized irrigation.
Overthe next 30 years, Reinke helped the company achieve 30 worldwide patents and many industry firsts, including offering a stainless steel mainline pivot. He passed away at age 80 on Feb. 27, 2003.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fathers of Center Pivot Irrigation (I)

In the 1950s, Paul Zimmerer started a farm equipment business in Lindsay, NE. One of his early products was the first successful irrigation towline for rough terrain.
Paul’s sons, Arthurand Bernard, designed and built the first Zimmatic center pivot in the 1960s.
The pivot’s electric drive system was designed to handle hilly terrain and featured the first enclosed worm gearboxes, which remain the standard drive mechanism on today’s electric center pivots. Lindsay Manufacturing Company's first Zimmatic center pivot was installed in 1969 on a farm near Newman Grove, NE.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Theft of copper wire

Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested five area residents on Sept. 4 on charges of grand theft and felony criminal mischief in connection with the theft of copper wire, according to sheriff’s reports.

The five, four adults and one juvenile, all admitted guilt, according to Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office arrest notices.
In the reports filed by Sheriff’s Office Investigator Sergeant David Ehlert, copper wire from the tops of eight pivot irrigation systems in Hamilton County had been stolen between Aug. 10 and Sept. 1. The cost of the repairs to the pivots range from $2000 to $13,000, said Ehlert.

The five were booked into the Hamilton County Jail. The four adults remained in jail as of Wednesday, held on $60,000 bond each.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Giant green circles

Travelers looking out airplane windows while flying across the United States may wonder what creates those giant green circles so visible from 30,000 feet.
The circles are crops irrigated with a self-propelled sprinkler irrigation system that rotates around a central point commonly called a “center pivot system” or “center pivot.”
Center pivots are so common that many people are surprised to learn they have existed only about 50 years. The center pivot's inventor, Frank Zybach received a patent for a “Self-propelled Sprinkler Apparatus” in July 1952.
The center pivot is the first, and most successful, robot for production agriculture. The center pivot can be used to irrigate from one to more than 600 acres. Varying the length of pipe or adding a corner attachment will allow center pivots to irrigate almost any size or shape field. An operator only has to turn on the water pump, start the center pivot and wait until the system completes its journey across the field, which can be scheduled from 12 hours to 10 days, depending on the volume of water applied.
Center pivots are used on about one-third of the irrigated land in the United States. In the Great Plains, they irrigate more than 90 percent, and that percentage is increasing each year.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Growing rice with center-pivot irrigation saves water and fuel

Rice is an important crop in many places, and a staple food for many people worldwide. Traditionally, rice is grown with flood irrigation, a method that reduces weeds but is labor-intensive, requires lots of water and limits production to areas with the right climate and soil.
Some experiments are looking at a new way of growing rice, one that could expand rice production to places where it had been thought impossible.
Researchers are experimenting with center-pivot irrigation, an overhead sprinkler system commonly used on corn and soybeans. On rice, the technique requires less labor, water and fuel than traditional rice farming.
The main purpose of this experiment is to reduce water. It's possible to use half the water and energy with this system compared to a traditional rice field. The experiment was started in the spring, comparing the performance of pivot-irrigated rice to a traditional flooded rice field. The pivot showed its water-saving potential after just a few weeks.
On the flooded field, they used about 2 million gallons of water on a 6-acre field in just two-and-a-half weeks. On the pivot system, they hadn't even put out 1 million gallons yet and they had been watering for probably three weeks longer.
The method could triple rice production. With center-pivot irrigation, it would be possible to grow rice on fields with hills. It really opens up possibilities to other farmers who couldn't grow rice before.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pivot water use in Nebraska

Center pivot irrigation systems consume a lot of water in Nebraska
Municipal supplies, domestic users, industries, commercial businesses, livestock and power plants are among the users of Nebraska’s water resources. None, however, use as much of Nebraska’s water as farmers irrigating their crops.
A new educational effort by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension seeks to inform center pivot irrigation operators on best practices aimed at reducing water consumption. In an unusual display of camaraderie, the major competing players in Nebraska’s center pivot irrigation industry have joined forces to help in the effort.
Valmont Irrigation of Valley, Reinke Manufacturing Co. of Deshler, T-L Irrigation Co. of Hastings and Lindsay Corp. of Lindsay will work with their dealers to hold educational sessions this winter for center pivot operators.
The way center pivots are managed and maintained can affect water consumption. The state must reach a “sustainable balance” of water users and supplies in these areas. 
Many center pivot users need additional information on properly managing and maintaining their systems in ways that conserve water. Higher fuel prices and land values and water shortages have changed the way operators must manage their units.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Precautions when working with irrigation systems

The following precautions should be taken when working with irrigation systems involving the use of electricity:
  • Make certain only well-trained people familiar with the National Electrical Code and the new irrigation standard are allowed to work on the wiring.
  • When servicing the machine, personally shut off and lock the master control switch.
  • Stay away from the machine during lightning storms. A properly installed machine is an ideal lightning receptor and will carry the current for long distances.
  • Install lightning arresters to protect equipment.
  • Mark the location of all buried electrical lines.
  • As with any electrical system, do not over-fuse. Instead, find out why the fuses are blowing and correct the problem.
  • Don't cut corners on the electrical installation to save money. Include the cost of the electrical components when estimating the cost of your system.
  • Avoid contact with overhead lines when moving equipment.
  • Use the disconnect switch located at each tower when working on the system. It is there to protect a person from injury if someone accidentally energizes the system or if the system automatically restarts after a power outage. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requires the switch to be within 15 feet of the motor.
  • If you feel a tingle when you contact any part of the system, shut it down until a competent electrician can troubleshoot the system.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Center Pivot Sprinklers

Sprinkler manufacturers have developed and marketed a large number of different sprinkler technologies that produce relatively large wetted diameters at reduced pressures.Thus, center pivot operators have a greater number of sprinkler packages to meet goals of reduced wind drift, reduced energy costs and increased water application efficiency.
The goal of every sprinkler or spray nozzle package is to apply water uniformly to the soil surface where it can be used by plants to produce grain or dry matter.Some performance characteristics can affect the suitability of a package for a specific set of field conditions.
Each sprinkler is designed to operate within a range of water pressures. Tipically, impact sprinklers can be operated over a wide range of pressures than low pressure spray nozzles.
One of the more recent changes resulting from new nozzle designs is related to water application patterns.The design process sought to achieve the largest wetted diameter and lowest operating pressure combination possible.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Water Applications for Center Pivots

Today, the value of center pivots has increased even further as the tools available in the form of computer controls and sprinkler technology have reached a new plateau.
Center pivot applications have also expanded into the realm of applying not only water but also nutrientsand chemicals to the crop via fertigation and chemigation. Advances in sprinkler technology for mechanized irrigation have answered many of the previous challenges.
Today a grower can apply water and chemicals with precision uniformity and high irrigation efficiency. The improvements in irrigation efficiency, uniformity, andthe control of runoff illustrate major technological advancements.

  1. To add pressure regulators to compensate for pressure fluctuations and stabilize flowrate.
  2. To replace old technology for better irrigation efficiency.
  3. To improve irrigation uniformity.
  4. To operate at lower pressure and save energy.
  5. To improve crop yield and get a higher return per acre.
  6. To adjust gallonage to match soil and crop requirements.
  7. To replace worn out sprinklers and nozzles.
  8. To minimize operating costs.
  9. To take advantage of local power
  10. To reduce runoff and solve wheel-tracking problems.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Electrical inspections in Center Pivot Systems

Many irrigators have received minor tingles while working around electrical irrigation machinery. Under pressure to keep the system running, they tend to ignore warning signs until serious injury occurs. Two electrical inspection surveys point out the dangers of such practices.
A rural power supplier conducted a series of electrical tests and inspections of electrically driven Center Pivot Systems with electric pump motors. The survey showed 37 % were potentially hazardous because of the lack of a grounding conductor. Nearly 40 % did not have a ground rod installed. More than 50 % failed to have a fuse or a means of disconnection. Other hazardous situations were found, including loose connections, improper circuit and motor protection and deteriorated insulation.
A second series of inspections showed similar results. Of 77 systems inspected at the owners' requests, 10 were classified as lethal; 38 were definitely hazardous; the remaining 29 were potentially hazardous. The 10 lethal systems had current flowing to ground at the time of the inspection or had almost killed someone shortly before the inspection. The National Electrical Code (NEC) had been violated in all 77 installations.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Chemigation using Center Pivot Irrigation machines

Chemigation is the application of agricultural chemicals such as pesticides or fertilizer with irrigation water. When used properly, chemigation is an environmentally sound and cost-effective way to apply many chemicals during the growing season. Safe and effective chemigation is accomplished by combining both good management and good equipment.
A very important part of management is accurate calibration. This fact sheet covers procedures for calibrating chemigation when using Center Pivot Irrigation Machines.
Chemigation calibration is the process of establishing how fast the center pivot will cover the field and adjusting the injection pump to apply the desired quantity of chemical per acre. Calibration insures that the proper amount of chemical is being applied thereby giving the highest economic gain and minimizing environmental risks.
Calibration is especially important when applying pesticides where specific label rates must be followed. The procedure for calibration is straight-forward, but it does involve a significant time commitment, an understanding of chemigation concepts, and basic mathematical skills. You will need to spend time and effort calibrating before any chemical is applied.
It is necessary that all parts of the irrigation and chemical injection system are operating properly. All chemigation safety equipment should be installed and operating (see FS 860 Chemigation Safety).
Always check the irrigation system for operating problems and uniformity of water distribution. Some older-style systems such as water drives may not have good water distribution because more water from the drive goes near the wheel track. Make sure that the nozzles are not worn and that all sprinklers are operating properly. Remember that the chemical can be applied only as uniformly as the water applied.
The irrigation system and the injection system must be calibrated. You need to know the following information when calibrating: acres covered, time to cover the field, depth of water applied, chemigation application rate, amount of chemical, injection rate.
Besides the chemigation equipment, other items to help with calibration include a stopwatch, calculator, long measuring tape, marking stakes or flags, and a calibration tube.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Pessimistic rain forecasts in Spain

Spain faced up to the most serious drought in the last 60 years, (aquifers level was near a quarter of its size). The poor rains achieved this year were not enough to fill reservoirs, and water consumption limitations started to be aplied.
The Spanish Ministry for the Agriculture promissed transforming 138,000 hectares with a 1,137 mill. € budget, (76%, public investment). Besides, it would improve existing irrigation lands with a 3,056 mill. € (50%, public inventment). These works were directed and guided by the respective official institution in each area. They pointed out the specifications to which, installing enterprises which took part in the works execution, were obliged to.
One of the aims was the water control with the help of counters installation. The specifications indicated technical and administrative prescriptions for volumetric counters ins
tallation and support. These counters should have European Economic Community official approval. Approval certificate made out by an official organ. And performance certificate or calibration made out by an official organ or an officially accredited laboratory.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Valmont's Center Pivot Patent

Valley struggled throughout the 1950s and 60s to refine their product and develop a customer base. Valley built only seven center pivot systems in 1955. By 1960, production had still only reached 50 units a year. Then, by the end of the 1960s, the market took off – just as the original patent protecting Zybach's invention ran out. By 1972, there were 2,725 pivot systems in Nebraska alone. By 1980, there were 18,785. And by 2002, there were an estimated 258,000 center pivots installed around the world. Even before the patent rain out in 1969, other companies were bringing out their own systems and claiming that they weren't using ideas from Zybach and Valley. Valley disagreed. The company filed a number of patent infringement lawsuits. They won most of them and settled out of court on others.

For the irrigation industry, the 1970s were like the Internet "Dot Com Bubble" period of the 1990s – lots of new companies tried their luck and ended going out of business. All told, more than 80 individuals and companies tried to manufacture and sell center pivot systems through the boom years. For a time around 1973, sales were stimulated by the Soviet Union buying up huge quantities of American grain. But by 1980, the export market dried up, agricultural credit dried up, farmers were in danger of losing their farms and almost all of the center pivot companies went out of business.

Today only a handful of center pivot companies remain in the USA, and the four largest: Valmont, T-L Irrigation, Lindsay, and Reinke: all based in Nebraska.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sprinkler Systems Classification

Center-Pivot Sprinkler Systems are classified according to pressure or nozzle type. Although there is no definite boundary between high, medium and low pressures, it is commonly accepted to have the following classifications:
  • High-pressure systems have pressures of more than 50 PSI at the Pivot.
  • Medium-pressure systems have 35 to 50 PSI at the Pivot.
  • Low-pressure systems have less than 35 PSI at the Pivot. LEPA (Low-Energy Precision Application) and LDN (Low Drift Nozzle) can operate on pivot pressures of 15 to 25 PSI.
Nominal operating pressures at the sprinkler head or water-emitting devices are constant for a particular head.
  • Nominal pressures for LEPA devices are 6 to 10 PSI.
  • Spray nozzles, rotators and spinners are 10 to 25 PSI.
  • Small impact heads with modified nozzles are 20 to 45 PSI.
  • Small impact sprinklers with round nozzles are 30 to 60 PSI.
  • Large impact sprinklers are 45 to 80 psi. The range for large impact sprinklers depends on nozzle type and size.
Pressures needed at the Pivot depend on pressure losses in the lateral due to friction losses and elevation differences along the lateral.
Impact sprinklers usually operate at high to medium pressures, are installed on the lateral pipe, and irrigate over the crop. Spray and rotary nozzles operate at medium to low pressures, are installed on the lateral pipe or on drop tubes or pipes, and result in "down in the crop" irrigation. Irrigation down in the crop reduces evaporation and wind drift.
A user should select a sprinkler package with an application rate that matches the soil's intake rate, satisfies crop water requirements, and functions under local climatic conditions (wind).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Center pivot irrigation

Center-pivot Irrigation, is a method of crop irrigation in which equipment rotates around a pivot. A circular area centered on the pivot is irrigated, often creating a circular pattern in crops when viewed from above. The system is fed with water from the pivot point at the center of the circle.
Central pivot irrigation is a form of sprinkler irrigation consisting of several segments of pipe galvanized steel or aluminium, joined together and supported by trusses, mounted on wheeled towers with sprinklers positioned along its length. The inner sets of wheels are mounted at hubs between two segments and use angle sensors to detect when the bend at the joint exceeds a certain threshold, and thus, the wheels should be rotated to keep the segments aligned.
Centre pivots are typically less than 500m in length (circle radius) with the most common size being the standard 1/4 mile machine (400 m). Most center pivot systems now have drops hanging from a u-shaped pipe called a gooseneck attached at the top of the pipe with sprinkler heads that are positioned a few feet (at most) above the crop, thus limiting evaporative losses and wind drift. Drops can also be used with drag hoses or bubblers that deposit the water directly on the ground between crops. This type of system is known as Low Energy Precision Application. Crops may be planted in straight rows or are sometimes planted in circles to conform to the travel of the center pivot.
Most systems today are driven by an electric motor mounted at each tower. The equipment can also be configured to move in a straight line, where the water is pulled from a central ditch. In this scenario, the system is called a linear move irrigation system. Te
rrain needs to be reasonably flat, but one major advantage of centre pivots over alternative systems is the ability to function in undulating country.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Water conservation in Georgia

Water conservation hasn't always been a top priority for farmers in Georgia. That's because water has been plentiful. But fields have suffered several droughts in recent years. So many farmers have improved the efficiency of their irrigation systems by adding low-pressure nozzles that reduce evaporation loss, and they also have started to use soil moisture monitors that eliminate guesswork about when to water.
A few began using a new computerized system (center pivot irrigation systems) that allows them to spray water onto crops exactly where it's needed without wasting it in bogs or other unplanted areas. Farmers in southwest Georgia have conserved this way more than 10 billion gallons of water.
The farmers' irrigation systems (huge metallic structures that roll across fields spraying water), have been modified with electronic circuitry that makes it possible for farmers to program precisely where the water goes. Pivot Irrigation systems: lon
g, spindly, devices on wheels that "walk" slowly across fields spraying water were virtually unknown.

Monday, August 25, 2008

TRAXCO S.A. Center Pivot Components

We supply since 1991 original irrigation components and spare parts for all Irrigation Pivot brands to use in all types of irrigation systems. If your pivot irrigation equipment needs upgrading, we are the answer to repair, renovate or put your system back to work. We supply parts for every pivot system.
A Pivot irrigation System is a form of sprinkler irrigation consisting of several segments of pipe (usually galvanized steel or aluminum) joined together and supported mounted on wheeled towers with sprinklers positioned along its length. The system moves in a circular or linear pattern and is fed with water from the pivot point at the center of the arc.