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New Spreadsheet Will Help Irrigators Evaluate Irrigation Efficiency
Nebraska Ag Connection - 08/14/2009

A new University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension online spreadsheet will help irrigators evaluate their pumping plant efficiency.

The new tool will help irrigators calculate the amount of money they could save by improving the efficiency of their system, said Tom Dorn, Lancaster County Extension educator, who developed the tool.

Irrigators need to determine whether the pumping plant uses more energy than the Nebraska pumping plant performance criteria suggest it should, Dorn said.

"To do that, all irrigators need to do is enter data from irrigation records into the online spreadsheet," Dorn said. The spreadsheet is available at http://lancaster.unl.edu/ag/crops/Long_Term_Pump.xls.

Irrigators are asked to select the energy type from the drop down list and input the price per unit of fuel and water meter readings. If they don't have a water meter, irrigators can enter the acres irrigated and the gross depth of water applied during the period the energy consumption was being recorded, pumping water level, pressure at the discharge head and total energy used during the test period.

Instructions help users navigate the spreadsheet to determine their own plant's efficiency and the amount of money they could save if the pumping plant were operating up to Nebraska performance standards.

"With that information, irrigators can calculate how much they can afford to spend, based upon the interest rate available," he said.

When considering inefficiencies in the system, irrigators should look at the whole system, including the pump, gearhead, PTO shaft and power unit. Inadequacies in any part of that system can increase energy use.

While it's costly to pull a pump, sometimes the cost of unneeded energy is quite high too.

For more information about the spreadsheet or to access it online, contact a local UNL Extension office.



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