centre pivot irrigation - managing wheel tracks by lindayy


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									                           Ir rigation for Profit
   Centre Pivot Irrigation – Managing Wheel Tracks
Introduction                                                             •       Compaction of the wheel tracks, or the
Deep wheel ruts can develop in centre pivot                                      addition of polyacrylamides (track sacks);
irrigation if wheel tracks are not well managed.                         •       Fill the wheel track with crushed rock or
Significant damage can occur to the centre pivot as                              other organic material; and
well as tillage and harvesting equipment from deep                       •       Raise wheel tracks to prevent ponding.
wheel tracks.
                                                                  Mechanical Alterations
Factors Influencing Wheel Track Depth                             A number of mechanical modifications can be
   •   Soil type (Heavier soils, higher water holding             done to reduce the depth of wheel tracks:
       capacity and slower drainage).                                • Increase the tire-soil contact area by
   •   Number of revolutions.                                            installing larger diameter/width tyres (the
   •   Weight supported by each tower (Longer                            extra load on the drive mechanism should
       spans, more weight).                                              be considered);
   •   Amount of wheel contact area with the soil                    • Install directional sprinklers either side of
       surface.                                                          the tower to eliminate tower-water
                                                                         interception and keep the wheel track dry;
                                                                     • Install “boom backs” on the sprinklers near
                                                                         the tower;

Wheel track depth should not exceed 100 mm.

Wheel Track Management
                                                                             •      Attach track-closing disks to each tower;
There are a number of the management techniques
that can be implemented to reduce the impact of                              •      Alter sprinkler height to decrease tower-
wheel tracks. They include:                                                         water interception;
    • Limit irrigations when the field is wet,                               •      Use double length LEPA Hose; and
        avoiding unnecessary pivot revolutions;                              •      Designing the system with shorter spans.
    • Allow soil surface to dry between irrigation
        events (This however is not always feasible);             Considerations must be given to the water
                                                                  application efficiency and uniformity when
    • Keep tire inflation pressures at the
                                                                  alterations are made to the system.    Best
        manufacturer’s recommended level;
                                                                  management practices are required to manage
    • Consider working in circles;                                wheel tracks.
                                                    Information sourced from: Scherer, T. (2001). Do Centre Pivot Wheel Tracks Bother You? NDSU
                                                    Extension Services, North Dakota State University.
                                                    Foley, J.P. and Raine, S.R. (2001). Centre pivot and lateral move machines in the Australian cotton
                                                    industry. National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture Publication 10000176/1, USQ, Toowoomba

                                                    Pictures: Foley, J.P National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture, USQ Toowoomba
                                                    Valmont Irrigation, “Valley Product Catalog”, Nebraska USA

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