Conserving Energy in Irrigation
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Irrigating effectively helps conserve water and can also help reduce energy costs. Here are four ways to achieve effective irrigation:
Effective irrigation means applying the right amount of water only when the plant needs it. This avoids unnecessary water pumping, which uses energy and costs money.
Over-applying 2.5 cm (1 in.) of water over 0.4 ha (1 acre) costs about $10 in energy to operate an irrigation traveller with limited lift and a short distance to the field. Multiply that by the number of irrigated hectares and the costs begin to add up. On a 20-ha (50-acre) farm, 5 cm (2 in.) of water are applied when the plants require only 3.8 cm (1.5 in.). Irrigation is applied six times, when four times would have been enough. This means approximately 15 cm (6 in.) of water were applied unnecessarily. The over-application of those 15 cm (6 in.) over 20 ha (50 acres) costs $3,000.
Figure 1. Low-pressure lateral-move irrigation system.
This Factsheet was reviewed by Jake DeBruyn, P.Eng, New Technology Integration Engineer, OMAFRA, Guelph.
This Factsheet was developed with sponsorship from Hydro One and in partnership with the Ontario Power Authority, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, the Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
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