Uniformity and Energy Use of Australian Lateral Move Irrigation Machines

Munro, Benton (2017) Uniformity and Energy Use of Australian Lateral Move Irrigation Machines. [USQ Project]


Lateral Move (LM) irrigation machines, common across the Australian cotton industry, are typically pressurised by a supply pump directly coupled to a diesel engine mounted on the pump cart of the machine. This pumping system is governed by both the pump performance and engine power curves. The aim was to investigate the impact that engine speed has on both the irrigation performance of a LM (application uniformity) and the energy consumption; and to determine if a relationship exists between both. This was done in an attempt to aid growers in better managing their LM machines.

Nine field tests in all were conducted of three LMs, at three different engine speeds. The field tests consisted of an assessment of the application uniformity, energy consumption, EGL and an estimate of the operating costs per year. The application uniformity was assessed using emitter discharges (two per span) that were measured using a portable electromagnetic flowmeter. Brass tees and ball valves were fitted to the engine fuel lines to allow for measurement of the diesel consumption rates at each engine speed. To assess the EGL at each engine speed, machine pressures were measured along with field profiles and a survey of the emitter nozzle sizes and configurations. A pump test was included for comparison of data between LMs and for the estimated of operating costs per year.

It was found, in all three cases, that both the application uniformity and energy consumption decreased when the engine speed lowered the total discharge below the designed total discharge. For two of the LMs, the application uniformity was found to decrease while the energy consumption increased when the engine speed raised the total discharge above the designed total discharge. A relationship in the shape of a bell curve was found between the application uniformity and the energy consumption, for two of three LMs, with the highest uniformity occurring at the point nearest to the designed pump operating point. In all except one field test, the litres of diesel required per ML of water pumped increased with each increase in engine speed. From this, it was then found that between $1000 and $3300 of increased operating cost per year was incurred by increases in engine speed of between 50 rpm and 100 rpm.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Agriculture)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences (1 Jul 2013 - 5 Sep 2019)
Supervisors: Foley, Joseph
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2022 04:17
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2022 04:17
Uncontrolled Keywords: Lateral Move (LM); irrigation machines; uniformity; energy use
URI: https://sear.unisq.edu.au/id/eprint/40858

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