One option is to use part-circle sprinklers. With a 180 degree water pattern, the part-circle sprinkler is used in locations nearest the drive unit and positioned to spray the water away from the wheel track, reducing the moisture level in the soil of the wheel track area. Unbalanced forces from the 180 degree pattern require that a rigid drop material, such as galvanized drop pipes, be used to hold the part-circle sprinkler firmly in position. The number of part-circle sprinklers used around each drive unit is dependent on the sprinkler model (full-circle) water pattern diameter. The water pattern from the full-circle sprinkler should not reach the wheel track.
Part-circle sprinkler models are available in both fixed and rotating type sprinklers. It is recommended to use like sprinkler models for both part- and full-circle positions. For example, if a sprinkler package design is rotating sprinklers, the part-circle sprinkler should also be a rotating sprinkler model. Rotating sprinkler models available in part-circle are the Nelson® Rotator and Spinner. Fixed spray models are the Senninger® LDN® (Low Drift Nozzle) and Valley LEN (Low-Energy Nozzle) sprinkler.
A second option is boombacks. A boomback will move the sprinkler up to 15 feet (perpendicular) from the span pipeline, placing the sprinkler beyond the rear tire of the drive unit. The part-circle water pattern will be positioned opposite the direction of travel of the center pivot. Both drive unit tires are more likely to travel on dry soil in this type of installation. For part-circle center pivots or linears, double boombacks are available to place a part-circle sprinkler on each side of the span pipeline. Solenoid controlled sprinkler valves are available to run the part-circle sprinklers opposite the direction of travel when the machine changes direction, turning off the sprinklers in front of the machine.
Discussion Box Challenge
For those of you growing rice with a center pivot or linear this year, or have grown rice with a pivot/linear in the past, what have you done to combat wheel track issues?
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