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Comparative Loss Study of Four Different Sprinkler Packages on Center Pivot Systems under South Georgia Conditions
Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org
Citation: Paper number 032013, 2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.14937) @2003
Authors: L. R. Ocampo, D. L. Thomas, J. E. Hook, K. A. Harrison
The efficiency of water use from irrigation systems is influenced by temperature, wind,
humidity, and solar radiation. Accepted values for water loss efficiency are the results of
years of tests; however, most of these values do not take areas of high relative humidity
into account. The actual losses of water under different conditions are a critical component
of proposed cost share programs for water conservation with agricultural irrigation. The
potential benefits of these different sprinkler packages require real world results under
actual field conditions. This information can be passed on to farmers so they can obtain
better use of the water they are pumping.
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Since center pivot irrigation represents a large percentage of the irrigation systems in the
state of Georgia [over 344 000 ha (850,000 ac)], the potential water conservation benefits
from changing to more efficient sprinkler packages is one aspect of the conservation
initiative. The main objective of this research was to determine and compare water losses in
center pivot systems due to the evaporation and wind interference. In order to determine an
appropriate location along the center pivot boom where the tests should be run, uniformity
tests were developed and conducted for two months. After this process, the loss tests were
conducted during different times of the day in varying weather conditions.
This paper includes the procedures used and the initial results from the first season of the
loss evaluations. Results show the variability on the average water catch among sprinkler
packages as well as the difference of average collections for atmospheric conditions. Initial
results indicate a 10% increase in losses when the relative humidity is low (40 to 70%) as
compared to a relative humidity between 71 and 99%. Using spray nozzles on top of the
pivot boom resulted in the lowest losses within the relative humidity tests, followed by
spray nozzles on drops (an additional 6% loss), high angle impact sprinklers (additional
16% loss) and low angle impact sprinklers (additional 22% loss). Additional data is
required to determine if the added cost for drops with spray nozzles on center pivot
irrigation systems are justified for water conservation in humid areas.