A new center pivot system was installed on the farm of the California State University to serve as a research and educational tool. It was donated by Valmont Irrigation, and it's expected to attract positive attention from the local agricultural industry.
Specialists will oversee demonstrations, as well as tests comparing the center pivot system to flood and other types of sprinkler and drip irrigation systems. Tests will address water use efficiency, energy use and crop performance.
The flood irrigation mentality is ingrained in people in this area, so this demonstration plot will show what a pivot system can do. Center pivot irrigation technology goes back decades, and it is used extensively all over the world. For some reasons, it has not been widely adopted in California but nowadays, growers are getting more interested in reducing costs and enhancing efficiency.
Center pivot machines operate from a pivot point in a field. A galvanized steel framework lined with hanging sprinklers rotates around the center pivot; drive wheels which move the frame are powered by electric motors. A main pipe attached to the center pivot carries the water under pressure to the sprinklers.
A center pivot system requires less mechanical maintenance than a linear self-propelled system and has a longer lifespan than drip systems. It is adaptable to most field and grain crops; even trees in some cases.