I have just completed my first year as a member of the Valley Circles for Rice team, and I have learned much about the process of growing rice. Crop-specific information is very useful when selecting sprinkler package components for a center pivot or linear irrigation (lateral move) machine. The term "sprinkler package" refers to the collection of sprinklers, pressure regulators, drop components, and fittings used to mount the sprinklers to the machine.
The sprinkler package is designed to apply water evenly (ie: uniform depth throughout the field) and efficiently. This is to maximize crop yields, minimize water usage, and operating costs. Sprinkler choices are designed to operate at pressures in a range of 6-30 PSI, depending on the sprinkler model. Products called U-pipes and drop pipes (or drop hose) are used to mount the sprinklers below the span trussing. The combination of low-operating pressure and low-ground clearance maximizes the application efficiency of the irrigation water. This type of sprinkler package was used on all 2010 Valley Circles for Rice fields.
Soil type is an important consideration when selecting a sprinkler model for growing rice. More on this in my next blog entry next month.
Do you have questions on sprinkler packages and how they relate in rice production under center pivots and linears? Leave a comment in the box below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.