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Exceptional Energy in Action

Irrigation

Irrigation is an energy-intensive farming operation. Due to the substantial rise in the cost of gasoline and diesel in recent years, growers are exploring alternative fuels and taking steps to upgrade the overall efficiency of their irrigation systems. Advanced LPG-fuelled stationary irrigation engines offer increased efficiency and reliability with reduced maintenance requirements. 

Surface (flood and furrow) irrigation is commonly used for frost protection. Applying water significantly raises orchard temperatures. The benefit derives from the conversion of latent to sensible heat from the cooling water. Many growers moisten the soil before frosts to relieve stress and raise plant cold tolerance. During cold nights, wetter soil retains more heat and maintains higher orchard temperatures. Both convection of air warmed by the water and upward radiation are enhanced.

The temperature of the water is important because warmer water will release more heat as it cools. Protection is best on the first night after flooding and it becomes less efficient as the soil becomes saturated.  

The use of overhead sprinkler irrigation for frost protection can be a cost effective approach if the system is also to be used for irrigating the crop, but carries a risk of doing more damage than the frost might otherwise do.

Furrow irrigation is commonly used for frost protection and the basic concepts are similar to flood irrigation. 

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