The Advantages and Disadvantages of Center Pivot Irrigation

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Compared to other irrigation systems, the center pivot is one of the best options for watering your crop field effectively and efficiently. Center pivots dominate both the hand moved and large gun systems and are more efficient as they use less water. Center pivots have drop nozzles that can be set close to ground level and even below canopy level as crops grow. The nozzles were designed to rarely get clogged, and the system itself doesn’t require the sophisticated filters demanded by drip irrigation. This feature reduces water waste as the water is less exposed to the wind. And, once programmed to operate at a certain speed and deliver water at a certain volume, the system operates automatically. Usually, because these systems are automatic, they only require one person to do the work.

Center Pivots apply water gently to the crop field, reducing the risk of puddling or surface runoff, which are common disadvantages of using hand moved or big gun sprinkler systems. And, unlike furrow systems, center pivot irrigation systems do not cause much soil erosion and water coverage under the system is very orderly. Most center pivot systems have an expected life of about 20 years and offer the possibility of applying chemicals, like ripeners and fertilizers, to the crop field. Lastly, center pivots are more affordable than other irrigation systems.

Disadvantages of the center pivot irrigation are:
1. The sprinkler intensity at the end of the unit is usually greater than 100mm/h, which is easy to produce short-term surface runoff;
2. Without the ground angle (arm) system, the leakage spray area is large, accounting for about 25%; with the ground angle (arm) system, the investment per unit area is too high;
3. Dragging the transfer plot is not convenient.

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