Lindsay Corporation

Lindsay Irrigation advances Watertronics AG Pump Stations case Study


Courtesy of Courtesy of Lindsay Corporation

When AJ Ochoa, a fourth generation Othello, Wash. farmer pushed one button to start his new Watertronics® agricultural pump station, he became one of the first irrigators in the world to reap the benefits of a fully integrated pump and center pivot water control package. Even more important to Ochoa, he began realizing immediate and substantial reductions in energy, water and labor costs.

Working with an integrated team of center pivot and water pump specialists from Lindsay and Lindsay’s newly-acquired subsidiary, Watertronics, Inc., Ochoa recently converted 1,000 acres (405 ha) of flood irrigated land to land irrigated by eight center pivots, all controlled from a single location by a new Watertronics agricultural pump station.

“The energy, water and labor efficiencies of the new system are amazing,” Ochoa says. “Originally, I had been looking at installing one 250-horsepower (253.5 metric hp) Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) water pump, but now I realize that was like dealing with technology from the past. The Watertronics pump station is extremely high-tech and yet simple to operate.

Watertronics, based in Hartland, Wisc., is a manufacturer of automatic packaged water pump stations, control panels and telemetry systems. According to Watertronics president Rick Reinders, the company specializes in Variable Frequency Drive control packages and the company’s patented Electronic Butterfly Valve (EBV) pressure control.

“Our pump stations and control packages are ideally suited for the agricultural market,” Reinders says. “Watertronics and Lindsay have teamed up to provide growers a fully integrated pump and pivot control package, which is the first of its type in the industry.”

The advanced Lindsay/Watertronics controls are also available as an upgrade to any existing pivot or pump station.

AJ Ochoa’s farm is located in the Columbia River Basin and consists of 10,000 acres (4,046 ha) of potatoes, corn, alfalfa, wheat, edible beans and bluegrass for seed irrigated by eight Zimmatic center pivots drawing water from canals and groundwater sources. Three 100- horsepower (101.38 metric hp) pumps are used to supply water to the eight pivots, including one pivot located more than a mile away from the Watertronics pump station.

All of the pumps are housed at a central pumping station and equipped with the Watertronics VFD and EBV pressure regulation and control for maximum efficiency. The Watertronics pump control station is fed electrical power by a single, high-efficiency electrical transformer supplied by the local power company, Avista Utilities (see Avista story sidebar). Ochoa’s system is designed for a three-phase electrical hook-up although the Watertronics system is designed to work with single-phase wiring as well.

“The Watertronics control station and the VFD-equipped pumps are extremely efficient,” Ochoa explains. “If I have only one pivot circle running, the station will pump only enough water and use only enough energy to supply that one pivot. If two or more circles are running, the Watertronics system will turn on another pump automatically. I can pump 220 gallons (832 liters) to 6,600 gallons (24,984 liters) per minute off of the same system. It slows down or speeds up automatically to match the demand and that results in a huge savings of water and energy.

Lindsay’s local Zimmatic dealer, Irrigation Specialists of Othello, Wash., worked closely with Ochoa in setting up the Watertronics pump station. Irrigation Specialists’ Steve McCabe was amazed at how quickly the Watertronics pump station was up and running.
“The entire pump station was pre-engineered and tested at the Watertronics factory in Wisconsin,” McCabe says. “Then it was dismantled and shipped to Othello and installed in a few hours. The Variable Frequency Drives provide a very soft start and allowed AJ to start-up the system in a matter of seconds versus what would normally take days. The Ochoa pump station is truly ‘plug-and-play’ because it was all engineered and tested earlier at the factory.”

The eight pivots are equipped with Lindsay’s FieldNET Web-based irrigation management system, which will allow Ochoa complete control over not only his pivots, but also his Watertronics pump station. McCabe noted that there is considerable interest in the Ochoa’s Othello operation. Local growers are stopping by to ask questions and Avista Corp. is analyzing how much energy is being saved as a result of the new Watertronics system.

Ochoa is already seeing the water savings. “We were using about 21 acre feet of water to irrigate the land previously. Now we are using about 14.5 acre feet for that same land. It’s an amazing system.”

Ochoa, who has been farming since the late 1980s, is assisted in his operation by his wife, Jodi, and their two children, Austin, age 14, and Callie, age 12.

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