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How A Center Pivot Irrigation Machine Works

How A Center Pivot Irrigation Machine Works

For decades, center pivot machines have been used for irrigation. One of many types of mechanized irrigation systems, center pivots can increase yields and reduce water waste compared with flood irrigation. How do valley center pivots work? Let's start by discussing some of the components that will help you understand this concept.

Pivot Point – The pivot's central point. This is the location of the control panel and water entry to the pivot pipes.

Control Panel – Hardware attached to the pivot point which gives commands to the central pivot machine. The control panels are the brain of the machine.

Control panels are responsible for controlling the machine's starting, stopping, direction changes, wet/dry running, and many other functions. There are many options for control panels. 

Drive Tower/Drive Unit – The drive unit or tower is the portion of the machine that touches the ground and houses the components necessary for it to move. It includes a base beam and a drive train.

Span – These long pipes connecting drive units are known as spans. Spans are composed of the main water line, sprinklers, and a support structure of trusses that holds the weight between the towers.

Tower Box – A tower box is located at each drive unit. This compartment controls drive unit components and tell them to move in the correct direction and for how much time.

Center pivots, as the name implies, irrigate in circular patterns around a central pivot point. Pivots can apply water, fertilizer, and chemicals as well as herbicides. This versatility allows irrigation practices to be more efficient by using one piece of machinery for multiple functions.