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Evaluation of Potential Runoff and Erosion of Four Center Pivot Irrigation Sprinklers

King, B.A. and Bjorneberg, D.L. (2011) Evaluation of Potential Runoff and Erosion of Four Center Pivot Irrigation Sprinklers. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 10 February 2011. pp. 75-85.

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The operational characteristics of center pivot sprinklers are well documented but few studies have been conducted to evaluate the effects that operating characteristics of a particular sprinkler have on infiltration, runoff, and erosion for specific soil types. The objective of this study was to evaluate potential runoff and erosion from four commercial center pivot sprinklers on three widely distributed, south central Idaho soils. A modified commercial irrigation boom system was used to emulate center pivot irrigation on experimental runoff plots. Sprinklers used in the study were: 1) Nelson R3000 with brown plate, 2) Nelson R3000 with red plate, 3) Nelson S3000 with purple plate, and 4) Senninger I-Wob with standard 9-groove plate. Based on manufacturer’s published sprinkler nozzle flow rates, up to 12% variation in applied water was measured between sprinkler types. Testing of sprinkler nozzle flow rates revealed up to an 8.6% difference between measured nozzle flow rate and manufacturer’s published data. Significant differences in runoff and erosion between sprinkler types were observed but were not consistent across all runoff tests or soil types. In general, sprinkler types that visually appear to more uniformly distribute sprinkler droplets over the wetted area with respect to time exhibited the greatest measured erosion rates. This functional difference in water application may cause sediment to remain in suspension in overland flow for a longer duration allowing sediment to be more readily transported down slope. A 50% reduction in sprinkler flow rate reduced runoff and soil erosion 60 to 80% for the same volume of water applied over six irrigations. Reducing sprinkler flow rate early in the growing season prior to crop canopy development could be an effective management tool for reducing sprinkler runoff and erosion.

Item Type: Article
NWISRL Publication Number: 1394
Subjects: Irrigation > Sprinkler irrigation
Irrigation > Furrow irrigation > Erosion
Irrigation > Furrow irrigation > Runoff losses
Irrigation > Sprinkler irrigation > Center pivot
Depositing User: Users 6 not found.
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2011 17:13
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2011 16:56
Item ID: 1424