There are two main factors that determine the success of any irrigation system. First, the correct type of irrigation must be chosen for the crop and the farm’s specific conditions.
The system must be designed to be reliable and to make best use of the available water with high uniformities so that optimal yields can be achieved.
Second, an irrigation system must be energy-efficient, as electricity is expensive and, considered over the lifetime of the irrigation system, normally far outweighs the initial capital cost of the system.
Energy is one of the biggest cost factors influencing the profitability of any irrigation farm. Every irrigation system should be designed with high efficiency in mind.
This efficiency can deteriorate quickly if unplanned expansion and changes to the system are made. Over time, external factors like wear and tear on the nozzles or pressure regulators, or other issues like leaks, can also greatly reduce the efficiency of the system.
What many farmers don’t realise is that this slide in efficiency will cost them much more money over time than the correct capital investment upfront to safeguard against degradation of the system.
Electronic flow meters
Agrico recently incorporated the option of electronic flow meters that communicate with the Agrico web control system. Flow and pressure can now be monitored in real time.
The web control system can be used to automatically control the irrigation according to either the pressure or flow. By monitoring these two aspects, any problems, failures or degradation of the system can quickly be identified and responded to.
The flow and pressure can be used to calculate the energy used in the irrigation process at any point in time. Once again, an unexplained deviation can trigger an investigation and corrective actions can be taken in time to save energy and avoid damages.
The Agrico web control system also records all data that can be used later to evaluate how good or efficient the irrigation was managed.
The graph below shows the Ruraflex peak hours, which an Agrico client and farmer wants to avoid to save money.
By making some adjustments to the scheduling, this farmer can avoid some of these peak periods. Agrico is currently working with this farmer to increase and optimise his system’s capacity and schedule it better going forward in order to irrigate in the Ruraflex green and yellow periods as far as possible.
The most important thing for any irrigation farmer is to choose a partner that can support him/her with well-designed irrigation, as well as the appropriate technology and advice to manage the system easily.
Phone Agrico on 021 950 4111, or Alfred Andrag on 082 824 1214.