How the Center Pivot Irrigation System Works

How the Center Pivot Irrigation System Works

January 11, 2019

Center pivot machines have been a fixture in the world of agriculture and irrigation for many years. These types of irrigation machines help increase crop yields while wasting less water when compared to some of the other more common types of irrigation practices, such as flood irrigation. But how does the machine work?

Here’s some information about the machines and some of the terms you’ll need to know to truly understand center pivot irrigation in Briscoe County, TX.

The center pivot

As you might have gathered based on the name of the machine, a center pivot irrigates crops in a circular pattern, rotating around a primary central pivot point. These pivots are able to apply water, fertilizer, herbicides and chemicals. Ultimately, this improves the overall efficiency of an irrigation system, because you have a single piece of machinery that’s easily able to rotate while also performing several different functions.

The vast majority of center pivot machines you’ll find in use are powered by electricity. They’ll either be powered by a generator or a public power source, depending on where they’re located and the availability of such a public power source.

Pivots are able to use both 120 and 480 volts of alternating current power (VAC) for their operation. The 120 VAC option is typically the control circuit, which powers the safety circuit, the backward and forward movement of the system and the movement of the last regular drive unit (LRDU). The 480 VAC portion, then, is the power circuit, and supplies the energy needed to put those drive units into motion.

Controlling the system

The control panel for the pivot controls all of the machine’s primary functions. Depending on the type of control panel you find on your pivot unit, the controls might vary, but in general you can expect the same operation for every type of pivot. Any time a command gets sent through the control panel, a signal goes down through the pivot until it gets to the LRDU. Then, 480 VAC of power travels through the motor lead cable to the engine down from the tower box. At this point, the LRDU will move forward or backward in accordance with the directions from the control panel.

When the pivot moves, it’s controlled and led by the LRDU, which moves until the switch arm (which connects the last span to the second-last tower) gets pulled at such an angle that the next tower in the sequence will be activated. Both of the towers move until the next tower gets activated, and this same process continues all the way down the line on the pivot until all towers have moved.

If you’re interested in learning more about the various methods of irrigation, including the use of center pivot irrigation in Briscoe County, TX, we would be pleased to answer any questions you have for our team of professionals. Contact Four Seasons Irrigation today and we will be happy to provide further instruction and background about center pivot irrigation technology and the way it is implemented in the field.

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