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Unformatted text preview: Lecture 12 Center Pivot Design & Operation
I. Introduction and General Comments
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• Center pivots are used on about half of the sprinklerirrigated land in the USA
Center pivots are also found in many other countries
Typical lateral length is 1,320 ft (400 m), or ¼ mile
The lateral is often about 10 ft above the ground
Typically, 120 ft pipe span per tower (range: 90 to 250 ft), often with onehorsepower electric motors (geared down)
At 120 ft per tower, a 1,320ft lateral has about 10 towers; with 1HP motors,
that comes to about 10 HP just for moving the pivot around in a circle
The cost for a ¼mile center pivot is typically about $55,000 (about $435/ac
or $1,100/ha), plus about $20,000 (or more) for a corner system
For a ½mile lateral, the cost may be about $75,000 (w/o corner system)
In the state of Nebraska there are said to be 43,000 installed center pivots,
about 15% of which have corner systems
Center pivots are easily (and commonly) automated, and can have much
lower labor costs than periodicmove sprinkler systems
Center pivot maintenance costs can be high because it is a large and fairly
complex machine, operating under “field” conditions
The typical maximum complete rotation is 20 hrs or so, but some (120acre
pivots) can go around in only about 6 hrs
IPS 6” lateral pipe is common (about 65/8 inches OD); lateral pipe is
generally 6 to 8 inches, but can be up to 10 inches for 2,640ft laterals
Long pivot laterals will usually have two different pipe sizes
Typical lateral inflow rates are 45  65 lps (700 to 1,000 gpm)
At 55 lps with a 6inch pipe, the entrance velocity is a bit high at 3 m/s
Typical lateral operating pressures are 140  500 kPa (20 to 70 psi)
The end tower sets the rotation speed; micro switches & cables keep other
towers aligned
Corner systems are expensive; can operate using buried cable; corner
systems don’t necessarily irrigate the whole corner
Without a corner system or end gun, π/4 = 79% of the square area is
irrigated
For a 1,320ft lateral (without an end gun), the irrigated area is 125.66 acres
For design purposes, usually ignore soil WHC (WaZ); but, refill root zone at
each irrigation (even if daily)
Center pivots can operate on very undulating topography
Some center pivots can be moved from field to field
Below are some sample center pivot arrangements Sprinkle & Trickle Irrigation Lectures Page 145 Merkley & Allen Merkley & Allen Page 146 Sprinkle & Trickle Irrigation Lectures Sprinkle & Trickle Irrigation Lectures Page 147 Merkley & Allen •
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• Some pivots have an end gun that turns on in the corners, in which all other
sprinklers shut off via individual solenoidactuated valves. The pivot stops in
the corner while the end gun runs for a few minutes.
Others just slow down in the corners, turning on an end gun, but leaving the
other sprinklers running (at lower discharges)
Many farmers like extra capacity in the center pivot so they can shut off
during windy times of the day, and still complete the irrigations in time
Corner systems have angle detectors so that sprinklers in the corner arm
turn on and off individually (or in groups) as the arm swings out and then
back in again
Center pivots have safety switches to shut the whole thing off if any tower
gets too far out of alignment. Some also have safety switches to shut them
off if the temperatures gets below freezing (ice builds up and gets heavy,
possibly collapsing the structure). Some have safety switches connected to
timers: if a tower has not moved in a specified number of minutes, the
system shuts down. There may also be safety switches associated with the
chemical injection equipment at the lateral inlet location. Center pivots on rolling terrain almost always have pressure regulators at
each sprinkler
Some engineers claim that center pivots can have up to about 90%
application efficiency Merkley & Allen Page 148 Sprinkle & Trickle Irrigation Lectures II. System Capacity
• The general center pivot design equation for system capacity is based on Eq.
5.4 from the textbook: Ad R2d R2Udk f
Qs = K
=
=
fT k1fT k1T Epa (257) where,
K is 2.78 for metric units and 453 for English units
k1 is (3,600 s/hr)/π = 1,146 for metric units; 30.6 for English units
kf is the peak period evaporation factor (Table 14.1 in the textbook)
A is area (ha or acre)
d is gross application depth (mm or inch)
f is frequency in days per irrigation
T is operating time (hrs/day)
R is the effective radius (m or ft)
Ud is the peakuse ET rate of the crop (mm/day or inch/day)
Q s is the system capacity (lps or gpm)
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• The gross application depth, d, is equal to dn/Epa, where Epa is the design
application efficiency, based on uniformity and percent area (pa) adequately
irrigated
The operating time, T, is generally 2022 hrs/day during the peakuse period
R is the effective radius, based on the wetted area from the center pivot
The effective radius is about 400 m for many pivots
R ≈ L + 0.4w, where L is the physical length of the lateral pipe, and w is the
wetted diameter of the end sprinkler
This assumes that approximately 0.8 of the sprinkler radius beyond the
lateral pipe is effective for crop production
Note that, for center pivots, Qs is proportional to Ud, and d and f are generally
not used, which is similar to drip irrigation design III. Gross Application Depth
• If a center pivot is operated such that the water holding capacity of the soil is
essentially ignored, and water is applied frequently enough to satisfy peakuse crop water requirements, then use dn/f = Ud, and d' = Sprinkle & Trickle Irrigation Lectures k f Ud
k f Ud
=
Epa
DEpaReOe
Page 149 (258) Merkley & Allen where d' is the gross application depth (mm/day or inches/day); and kf is a
peakuse period evaporation factor, which accounts for increased soil and
foliage evaporation due to high frequency (daily) irrigation
• When LR > 0.1, the LR can be factored into the equation as: d' = 0.9 k f Ud
(1 − LR) DEpaR eOe (259) which is the same as Eq. 14.1b from the textbook, except that DEpa, Re and
Oe are all as fractions (not percent)
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• Values of kf can be selected for the peak period from Table 14.1 of the
textbook for varying values of frequency, f
Values for nonpeak periods can be computed as described in the textbook
on page 314: k'f = ( k f − 1) (100 − PT ') / PT '
+ 1.0
(100 − PT) / PT (260) where kf and PT are for the peakuse period (Table 14.1), and k'f and PT' are
the frequency coefficient and transpiration percentage (PT) for the nonpeak
period PT =
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• T
ET (261) PT and PT' can be thought of as the basal crop coefficient (Kcb), or perhaps
Kcb  0.1 (relative to alfalfa, as per the note in Table 14.1)
It represents the transpiration of the crop relative to an alfalfa reference IV. Water Application along the Pivot Lateral
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• A major design difficulty with a center pivot is maintaining the application rate
so that it is less than the intake rate of the soil
This is especially critical near the end of the lateral where application rates
are the highest
As one moves along the center pivot lateral, the area irrigated by each unit
length of the lateral (each 1 ft or 1 m of length) at distance r from the pivot
point can be calculated as: a = π(r + 0.5)2 − π(r − 0.5)2 = 2πr (262) which is equal to the circumference at the radial distance r
Merkley & Allen Page 150 Sprinkle & Trickle Irrigation Lectures • The portion of Qs (called q) which is applied to the unit strip at distance r is: q
a 2 πr
2r
==
=2
Qs A πR 2 R (263) or, q= 2rQs (264) R2 where q can be in units of lps per m, or gpm per ft
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• This gives the amount of water which should be discharging from a specific
unit length of lateral at a radial distance r from the pivot point
The q value at the end of the lateral (r = R) per ft or m is: qend =
• 2Qs
R (265) Use q to select the nozzle size, where qnozzle = q Se V. EndGun Discharge
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• • This last equation is very similar to Eq. 14.20a, except for the omission of the
Sj term
Equation 14.20b is for the end gun discharge, assuming that the end gun is
used primarily to compensate for the lack of pattern overlap at the end of the
lateral
Equation 14.20b can be justified as follows: Assuming the “basic” circle discharge, Qb, includes the end gun discharge,
qg, we can write: Qb
πL2
Sprinkle & Trickle Irrigation Lectures ≈ qg ∆L ( 2πL ' )
Page 151 (266) Merkley & Allen or, perhaps more precisely, Qb πL2 qg ≈ ∆L ( 2π (L '+ ∆L / 2 ) ) (267) but ∆L/2 is generally very small compared to L’, and this is ostensibly
assumed in Eq. 14.20b, so after solving the above for qg you will arrive at Eq.
14.20b: qg ≅ 2L ' ∆L
L2 Qb ; for ∆L < 0.03L (268) VI. Application Rate
• For a center pivot, Se = 1 (based on a unit distance along the lateral) and Sl =
w (wetted width in the tangential direction), so the average application rate
(called AR) at a distance r along the lateral is: AR = k3 2 r QsReOe
2 Rw = 2πr k f d ReOe 2πr U 'd ReOe
=
60 f T w
60 T w (269) where AR is the average application rate over width w (mm/min or inch/min);
k3 is 1.61 for English units and 60 for metric units; and f is the time to
complete one revolution (days)
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• w is equal to the wetted diameter of the spray or sprinkler nozzles on the
lateral
U’d is the gross daily irrigation water requirement (mm/day or inch/day) and
includes the effect of kf U'd =
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• k f d k f (Ud − Pe )
=
f
DEpa (270) The three forms of the above equation assume a rectangular application
pattern across the width w (that is, the application rate is uniform across w)
Note that AR is proportional to r and is at a maximum at the end of the lateral
Note that if w could be equal to 2πr, the application rate would be equal to
the gross application depth divided by the hours of operation per day (just
like a fixed or solidset sprinkler system) – but this is never the case with a
center pivot machine Merkley & Allen Page 152 Sprinkle & Trickle Irrigation Lectures • At the end of the lateral (r = R), the average application rate can be
calculated as: ARr =R = 2πR U 'd ReOe
60 T w (271) again, where a rectangular application pattern is assumed
VII. Application Rate with an Elliptical Pattern
• If the application pattern perpendicular to the lateral were elliptical in shape: AR x = 4 ⎛ 2 k 3r QsReOe ⎞ 4 ⎛ 2 π r U 'd R eOe ⎞ r U 'd R eOe
⎟ = 7.5 T w
⎟ = π⎜
2
π⎜
60 T w
Rw
⎝
⎠
⎝
⎠ (272) where ARx is the maximum application rate (in the center of the pattern) (ARx
is in mm/min for U’d in mm/day)
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• In the above equation, k3 is 1.61 for English units, or 60 for metric units
It is usually a better approximation to assume an elliptical pattern under the
sprinklers than to assume a rectangular pattern, even though both are only
approximations • For example, if U'd = 9 mm/day (which includes kf), T is 22 hrs/day, w is 30
m, R is 400 m, Re is 0.95 and Oe is 1.0, and the sprinkler application pattern
is elliptical, then the maximum application rate at the far end of the lateral is: AR x =
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• ( 400)(9)(0.95)(1.0)
= 0.69 mm / min
(7.5)(22)(30) (273) ARx is the peak AR (at the top of the ellipse, or directly beneath the lateral),
so an “average” (ARav) can be calculated, representing the average AR
beneath the wetted area perpendicular to the lateral pipe
The calculated value of 0.69 mm/min is 41.4 mm/hr, which could be tolerated
only by a very sandy soil Sprinkle & Trickle Irrigation Lectures Page 153 Merkley & Allen •
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• For a rectangular pattern, ARav = ARx
For an elliptical pattern, ARav = (π/4)ARx
Therefore, in the example, ARav = (π/4)(0.69) = 0.54 mm/min
If d were 10 mm, it would take tt = 10/0.54 = 18 minutes to apply the water at
the rate ARav. (may want to use d Re Oe instead of just d in such a
calculation)
Re can be taken from Fig. 6.8 or from examples in Table 14.3
Guidelines for determining CI are given in Table 14.4
The center pivot speed (at the end of the lateral) is w/tt, where tt is the time of
wetting
In the preceding example, w is 30 m and tt is 18 min
Therefore, the speed should be about 30 m/18 min = 1.7 m/min at the end
Note that with spray booms, w is larger, and AR is smaller for the same q
value Merkley & Allen Page 154 Sprinkle & Trickle Irrigation Lectures ...
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This note was uploaded on 03/01/2012 for the course BIE 6110 taught by Professor Sprinkle during the Fall '03 term at Utah State University.
 Fall '03
 Sprinkle

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