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Effect of the start-stop cycle of center-pivot towers on irrigation performance: experiments and simulations

AuthorsOuazaa, Sofiane CSIC ORCID; Latorre Garcés, Borja CSIC ORCID ; Burguete Tolosa, Javier CSIC ORCID ; Serreta Oliván, Alfredo; Playán Jubillar, Enrique CSIC ORCID ; Salvador Esteban, Raquel CSIC ORCID CVN; Paniagua Antón, Pilar CSIC ORCID; Zapata Ruiz, Nery CSIC ORCID
KeywordsCenter-pivot towers alignment
Towers dynamics
Center-pivot irrigation performance
Sprinkler application patterns
Fixed spray plate sprinklers
Issue DateJan-2015
CitationOuazaa S, Latorre B, Burguete J, Serreta A, Playán E, Salvador R, Paniagua P, Zapata N. Effect of the start-stop cycle of center-pivot towers on irrigation performance: experiments and simulations. Agricultural Water Management 147: 163-174 (2015)
AbstractThe simulation of center-pivot performance has been the subject of research efforts since the 1960s. Center-pivot models frequently use empirical equations relating pressure and sprinkler radial application pattern. Individual, stationary water application patterns are overlapped and the resulting water application is mapped in the field. Such models use constant tower angular velocity, neglecting the effect of tower alignment. In this work the discontinuous tower movement has been experimentally characterized and modelled, and a complete model has been developed by using a ballistic model of the center-pivot sprinklers considering nozzle diameter, operating pressure and wind speed. A detailed kinetic analysis of a four-tower commercial center-pivot was performed. Each tower was monitored using a high precision GPS, recording tower positions at high frequency. The experimental center-pivot was equipped with fixed spray plate sprinklers (FSPS). Five experimental center-pivot irrigation events were evaluated using catch-cans. The analysis of tower location data permitted to conclude that two key variables (linear speed and switching angle) showed normal distribution patterns. The center-pivot model was validated with catch-can data. Finally, the simulation tool was used to assess the effect of variable tower alignment quality, center-pivot travel speed and wind conditions on irrigation performance. Comparisons were performed in terms of radial, circular and total irrigation uniformity. Results indicate that the observed tower dynamics had no measurable effect on irrigation uniformity. Tower alignment quality started to be relevant when the switching angle lag was equal to or larger than 2°. In the conditions of this analysis, wind speed showed a clear effect on uniformity. As wind speed increased, uniformity first decreased and then increased. Further research is required to generalize these results to other center-pivot sizes and designs (sprinkler packages).
DescriptionPags.- 4 Tabls.- 9 Figs. Available online 11 June 2014. The definitive version is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/03783774
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2014.05.013
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