Two main factors determine the success of any irrigation system:
First, the correct type of irrigation must be chosen for the crop and the specific conditions. The system must be designed to be reliable and to make best use of the available water with a high degree of uniformity so that optimal yields can be achieved.
Second, an irrigation system must be energy efficient, as electricity is expensive and normally far outweighs the initial capital cost of the system over it’s lifetime. Energy is one of the biggest cost factors influencing the profitability of any irrigation farm. Every irrigation system should be designed with high efficiency and working with a reputable irrigation partner. This efficiency can deteriorate quickly if unplanned expansions and changes to the system are made. Something as “small” as adding a water point for cattle (not planned for in the design phase) will directly influence the system’s efficiency.
Over time, external factors like wear and tear on the nozzles or pressure regulators, or things like leaks can also greatly reduce the efficiency of the system. What many farmers do not realise, is that this slide in efficiency will cost them much more money over time than the initial cost to safeguard against degradation of the system.
Agrico recently incorporated the option of electronic flow meters, communicating 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 rectified. The flow and the 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 in time to save energy and avoid damage.
The Agrico web control system also records all the data that can be used later to evaluate how good or efficient the irrigation was managed, and to learn from it to schedule the irrigation better in future. In the next example, the Ruraflex peak hours that the farmer wants to avoid to save money, have been overlaid on top of the irrigation practises.
It is clear that by making some adjustments in his scheduling, this customer can avoid some of the peak periods. Agrico is currently working with the 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 who can support him with well-designed, reliable, and efficient irrigation and the appropriate technology to manage his system easily, and to ensure continued high efficiency throughout the life of the system. This is essential in order to farm economically and to be profitable.
For more information on the irrigation systems provided by Agrico, contact Alfred Andrag on +27 82-824-1214 or +27 21-950-4111, or send an e-mail to email@example.com.