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IANR News Service: News and Publishing, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, P.O. Box 830918, Lincoln, NE 68583-0918. http://ianrnews.unl.edu/static/0903180.shtml
To save energy and money, Nebraska irrigators should check their irrigation pumps for maximum efficiency, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension educator said.
Irrigation pumps that operate at the average efficiency found in university tests are using 30 percent more energy than necessary, said Tom Dorn, extension educator in Lancaster County.
"At today's energy prices, identifying a pumping plant that needs adjustment or repair could save hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year," Dorn said. "Now that irrigation season is over, look at your records and decide which of your pumping plants should be looked at by a professional. If you do it now, you have all winter and early spring to have those repairs made."
This and other cost saving tips to help deal with high input costs in crop production can be found at UNL's Surviving High Input Costs in Crop Production (http://cropwatch.unl.edu/survivinghighinputcosts.htm) Web page.
Statewide UNL pumping plant efficiency studies conducted on hundreds of farmer-owned pumping plants for the last 50 years were developed into the Nebraska Pumping Plant Performance Criteria. These criteria state the amount of useful work to expect for each unit of energy consumed by an irrigation pump.
Results varied considerably about 15 percent achieved good efficiency, leaving the other 85 percent using more energy per unit of work than expected by the criteria.
The tests revealed the overall average pumping plant in Nebraska is producing only 77 percent of the work that it should be for the fuel it is using, Dorn said.
If repairs are made to bring a typical diesel powered pumping plant operating at 77 percent of the performance criteria up to 100 percent of the criteria, it would result in an annual savings of nearly 800 gallons of diesel per year, Dorn said.
"That's why it's important for farmers to know how much work is being done to pump the water versus the energy consumed," he said.