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RETAC Project

Pivot Commissioning savings assessment

Dormant 0917_Pivot_395
11/30/2017 - 11/30/2018
Created 9/28/2017 by Geoff Wickes
Updated 5/4/2021 by Mark Rehley
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Contact and Funding
Lead Org(s):
Primary: Geoff Wickes
Funding: TBD
Project Objectives:

Development of Pivot Commissioning protocol and method, development of skilled practitioners, implementation of water and energy savings and potentially utility programs that can be run through Agricultural Irrigation market actors (Irrigation specialists, distribution houses and pivot suppliers)

Current Project Phase: Canceled
Current Project Status: Recommend Closing this Project
Project Outcome: Research Questions DISPROVEN
Notes on Project Outcome: N/A
Additional Information

Refresh on the relevance and applicability of Pivot Commissioning of original work from 2014.  


Growers using center pivot irrigation delivery systems generally schedule irrigation based on the driest ten percent of a field. While this approach meets crop water requirements for most areas, it can overwater others. The challenge of uniformly meeting crop water requirements is compounded when the amount of water applied by the center pivot’s sprinklers varies significantly.1 Improving the distribution uniformity (DU) of irrigation water plays a large role in both water and energy conservation. The amount of energy wasted due to non-uniformity is inversely proportional to DU. Additional energy waste occurs through excessive evaporation due to the use of inefficient spreader plates.

Areas to explore will be the following:

  • Improving distribution uniformity enables growers to reduce the amount of water they pump to meet minimum crop requirements across the entire field
  • Selecting the appropriate sprinkler head designs can reduce evaporative losses
  • Servicing worn parts such as leaky pipes, regulators, sprinkler heads, and worn or broken gear boxes enables the grower to irrigate more uniformly and to improve crop yield

Optimizing system pressure benefits the grower in multiple ways:

  • Improves yield and quality of yield
  • Reduces energy costs in cases with pressures originally too high
  • Decreases other inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals


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