Poweroll: Questions & Answers
- How much land can a Poweroll system irrigate?
The amount of land a Poweroll system can irrigate depends on many factors, including crop water requirements, the system size, and the soil type. Generally, a single Poweroll system would irrigate 10 to 30 hectares, but one Poweroll has been used on as large an area as 50 hectares.
- How long is a Poweroll line?
The Poweroll line can be any length up to a recommended maximum of 600 meters. In some situations, Poweroll lines can be up to 800 meters long.
- Does a Poweroll move continuously or does it irrigate in one spot?
The Poweroll is a semi-automatic machine which irrigates in one location for a time period of 4 to 12 hours to apply the water. Once the water has been applied, it is shut off allowing the water to drain from the system. The operator then starts the engine and advances the entire line forward 20 meters to begin another irrigation setting.
- What kind of crops can a Poweroll irrigate?
The Poweroll can irrigate almost any crop, including pasture, hay, vegetables, cereal grains of all types, cotton, potatoes, sugar beets, etc. The Poweroll can irrigate some crops that are taller than the 3 foot pipe height, but is not suitable for irrigating mature corn or sugar cane because of the height limitation.
- How does it work on irregularly shaped fields?
It depends on the field shape, but often the system tubing is dropped or added to the line as it moves across the field by using easy take-apart couplings. This method is also used to avoid obstructions.
- Does the Poweroll work on hilly terrain?
It works very well on almost any terrain and has been used in the past on very steep hillsides. Uneven terrain is not a problem for the Poweroll system.
- How many systems are in use?
In the western United States there are over 250,000 of this type of system in use on all types of crops and field conditions. It is one of the most common methods of irrigation in the United States.
- How do you get the water to the system?
Generally the water is supplied through a portable aluminum mainline, usually 6 or 8 inches (150-200mm) in diameter. This mainline runs along the edge of the field with a valve in the mainline every 20 meters. This valve is used to supply water to the Poweroll through a portable hose that is connected to the valve and moved with the Poweroll from irrigation setting to irrigation setting. Buried PVC pipe is also used for mainline.
- How much water do you need?
The amount of water required per Poweroll depends on the area to be irrigated and the water requirements of the crop. A 400 meter line irrigating 15 hectares might use 10 to 14 liters per second while a 600 meter line irrigating 30 hectares would often be designed to use 20 to 30 liters per second.
- How does a line move?
The line is powered by a mover unit located in the center of the system. It is a drive vehicle powered by a 7 horsepower gasoline engine and through high-reduction gearing, it rotates the tubing of the Poweroll line. The tubing acts as an axle and all of the wheels turn at the same time. The line advances at about 20 meters per minute at top speed.
- Does it stay straight when it moves?
Because the drive on it rolls the complete line, it tends to roll straight. If the Poweroll gets out of alignment, it is very easy to straighten.
- How do my sprinklers stay upright?
A device on the system called a sprinkler leveler insures that the sprinkler is in the upright position, thereby maintaining a high degree of irrigation efficiency.
- How much pressure do I need?
Depending on the line length and irrigated area, Poweroll systems usually require between 30 and 50 PSI for operation.
- Is it expensive?
When measured on a per hectare basis, which is the only accurate way to compare irrigation systems, Poweroll is the least expensive mechanical irrigation system on the market today. For one 30 hectare system the average cost is about $500 per hectare, not including freight, duties, etc. This compares very favorably with other mechanical irrigation systems or cost of land levelling.
- What kind of increased crop production can I expect from converting to sprinkler irrigation?
If you are not irrigating now, it depends on the amount of supplemental rainfall you receive. As a rule-of-thumb, yields increase 70% to 100% when a crop is put under full irrigation. This also depends on correct fertilizer, herbicides and other farming practices.
- How much water is applied by a system during each irrigation setting?
The amount of water applied at each irrigation setting can be controlled by the duration of the irrigation, thus applying differing amounts of water for a newly planted crop or a maturing crop. A 600 meter line with a flow of 25 liters per second would apply 6.35 cm (2.5 inches) of water in a 6 hour irrigation setting. This would be sufficient water for most crops for a period of 10 to 12 days.
- What happens when the Poweroll gets to the end of the field?
When the final irrigation setting is complete at the end of the field, the line is driven back to the starting point to be ready to start a new irrigation cycle. It take about 20 minutes to move a line across a 20 hectare field and 40 minutes across a 40 hectare field.
- How much maintenance is required on a Poweroll system?
The Poweroll system has, by far, the lowest maintenance requirements of any mechanical irrigation system. Other than changing oil in the engine and filling it with gas, very little annual maintenance is required. Our experience has been that the replacement of parts and the maintenance requirements are less than $100 per system per year, not including oil and gas.
- What is the pipe made of and how long will the system last?
Nearly all of the Poweroll systems installed in the last 40 years are still in use with the original mover unit and pipe. The pipe and couplers are aluminum and have nearly an indefinite life. The wheels are constructed of galvanized steel and the mover unit is designed for long life.
- How is the system affected by wind?
Wind has an effect on the irrigation pattern, but if the system is designed so it moves into prevailing wind, this effect generally cancels out as it moves across the field.