Why Are Controls so Beneficial for Farm Irrigation?

Farmers without VFDs are losing out on significant benefits.
24 March, 2021 by
Why Are Controls so Beneficial for Farm Irrigation?
T&T Power Group.

Many of the pumping systems used to irrigate farms are oversized in order to account for any random conditions or uncertainties. And, since these systems are generally over-designed, the pumps are in turn not created to run at maximum efficiency.

This has naturally been a major concern in the irrigation/farming industry, because it results in less profitability for farms and farmers due to the higher cost of pumping water.

Controlling through the use of VFDs

VFDs, also known as variable frequency drives, are controllers that vary the speed of the pump, allowing the pump to respond efficiently to fluctuations in demand.

Fortunately, using variable frequency drives in irrigation (VFD irrigation pumps) is a tested and efficient method to conserve natural resources and enhancing farming operations - as irrigation systems do not always require a constant flow rate or constant pressure.

Why should farmers implement VFDs?

Farmers today are beginning to realize the ever-growing benefits of VFDs, and are beginning to adopt this technology to optimize their irrigation. In fact, VFDs are capable of helping farmers reduce costs considerably, while also improving overall performance and reliability of pumping equipment.

Regarding to the benefits of VFDs from a cost-perspective, Greg Sokora, NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Services) agriculture engineer at Lubbock, explains that, “By utilizing a VFD, farmers are able to adjust their electric-powered irrigation pumps to fluctuating well yields, allowing them to better manage their irrigation systems. This can save an estimated 10 percent to 15 percent on their electric costs.”

Furthermore, there are several other benefits of using VFDs on irrigation systems aside from the energy savings, another of which is reducing ‘water hammer’:

Water hammer occurs when there is an increase in pressure when a faucet, valve or water appliance is turned off, causing the water to look for a place to go as the direction changes, eventually hammering against pipe walls. This ultimately leads to wear on pipes, which can lead to possible leakages or the bursting of these pipes.

The good news is, VFDs are soft starter control panels that eliminate this problem through softly starting and stopping the pump, preventing any development of a detrimental change in pressure.

Other benefits of controls for irrigation include:

Replaces the need for pump control valves: This is a more cumbersome system as the opening and closing of valves is inefficient and takes time.

Improved flexibility: Installing a VFD on a single pump that is responsible for more than one irrigation line allows for flexibility with respect to each different line’s requirements. A VFD can also vary the flow of water while maintaining the same operating pressure to serve all the different lines.

Remote monitoring abilities: VFDs provide advanced monitoring, which is yet another way of managing water and maximizing efficiency. Remote monitoring abilities enable farmers to monitor and shut down irrigation pumps even when they’re not on the farm, eliminating any unnecessary pumping time.

Ready to purchase the right VFD for your farm irrigation? Our team is here to help.

Contact us today to get started!

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