Center Pivot System – an Efficient and Economic Solution for Irrigation

Center pivot is a mechanized irrigation system type which irrigates crops in a circular pattern around a central pivot.

Center pivot is a unique irrigation system which irrigates crops in circles. Radial pipe with equally spaced nozzles sprays water over the plants. This highly manageable and versatile system has many advantages, making it an efficient and economical solution for crop irrigation.

Irrigation is a very delicate farm practice because water needs to be applied to crops in the exact amount and on time, according to crop requirements. Another crucial factor in irrigation is a farmer’s knowledge about this practice and his finance ability to establish an irrigation system. If only one of these conditions is not accomplished, the complete yield may fail.   

Farmers, therefore, seeking for modern and improved farm technology to facilitate the complete irrigation process, from timely water application to easy and fast crop irrigation. Irrigation is an important farm practice on every crop production. However, large-scale farmers rather use irrigation system adjusted for large farmlands, such as centre pivot irrigation system. 

What is Center Pivot Irrigation System? 

Center pivot is a mechanized irrigation system type which irrigates crops in a circular pattern around a central pivot. It consists of radial pipe supported by towers that pivot around a centre point. Along the radial pipe, nozzles are equally spaced. As it rotates, water sprinklers from the nozzles and irrigates crops. 

A system with radial pipe travels in a straight line down the field so all nozzles cover the same area and have the same flow rate. Hence, pivot system provides a high degree of uniformity of applied water. Since sprinklers near the pivot cover less area, their water flow rates are less than those located near the end of the pivot where each sprinkler covers a much larger area.  

Depending on the radial pipe length, a centre pivot system can cover about 130 acres (53 ha) with a straight system and about 155 acres (63 ha) with a corner or swing-arm system. For this reason, this system is used for irrigation of large farmlands 

Why Use Center Pivot System? 

Pivot system is the most efficient and effective irrigation system type. Besides irrigation of hectares of the field within a short period of time, the system supports an application of fertilizers and pesticides along with the water. Additionally, a center pivot system can improve irrigation efficiency by using a single piece of farm machinery to perform several important farm practices. 

Besides aforementioned advantages, centre pivot system has many other advantages and these are:    

  • Uniformity of applied water 
  • The system doesn’t require human labour
  • The system may operate at lower pressure thus saving the energy 
  • Efficient water use which prevents water run-off
  • If the system has set a timer, it may regulate water application and sprinkle it daily at a particular time in the day and in the evening. 

Centre pivot system is applicable to almost all crops including arable crops, vegetables, and fruit trees. It can easily manage water level in the soil due to the semi-automatic operation of centre pivots and is lateral moves. Water application efficiency ranges up to 80%, depending on management and a properly designed installation in the field.

Negative Sides of Using a Center Pivot System 

There is no perfect irrigation system. Every type has some benefits and negative effects, so the centre pivot also. Negative effects of using such system include: 

  • High initial cost  
  • High maintenance cost of the system  
  • Not suitable for irrigation of fields of rectangle or square shape
  • Field surface should be flat 
  • Not suitable for irrigation in windy conditions; uneven water application may occur and applied fertilizers may be carried away.  

The centre pivot irrigation system is a way of overhead sprinkler irrigation. This is a unique system which differs from the other by the way of field shape suitable for irrigation. Though, the system is most efficient when irrigates round shape fields 

Quite unknown to many farmers, this system provides many advantages that other systems are unable. Along with water management, it enhances water efficiency and overall farm productivity and profitability.  

In aiming to reduce crop production cost and save energy, farmers adopt modern and enhanced farm technology; one of them is centre pivot irrigation system.   


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  • Tasos on December 8, 2021 @ 18:53:24

This post was created by Filip Gerin on July 19, 2021.