Micro-precision application variable reprogramable center pivot lay-by irrigation system places water precisely where you want it, and easily reprograms as nursery conditions change*.
My idea essentially turns the arm of a center pivot irrigation system into a lay- by type of watering system with almost scanner/printer like accuracy.
Enormous efficiency could be realized by making a center pivot irrigation system with a series of individually controlled trickle or "Lay-by" emitters with a computer controlled application program where each emitter only turns on while over a plant. Variable flow rate valves would also help for situations with extremely variable water use needs, such as a plant nursery with varying size plants at varying disorderly spacings, varying crops with widely varying water needs, and empty spaces and possibly access paths or unplanted areas to remain dry under the center pivot or transverse gantry-crane style irrigation systems. Here is a sketch of a center pivot truss with a bunch of lay-by tubes suspended to apply water accurately over the ground:
All right, this sounds like a really, really stupid idea, making black places all over a photo of your field of plants. But the above analogy describes what the arm of this center-pivot irrigation system does as it passes over the field.
This would be extremely efficient in places with limited water resources.
It is also easily reprogrammable; kind of like being able to move a drip irrigation system just by reprogramming a computer. I would suggest the following reprogramming system:
Equip each emitter with an adjacent associated electronic eye kind of thing that aims straight down. (there must also be a series of semi-permanent match marks along the perimeter of the area covered by the sprinkler in order to to periodically verify the location of the pivot and adjust the water application appropriately, I would suggest some sort of match-mark every several feet of perimeter)
To reprogram how much water flows, and exactly where it flows to:
I got this idea thinking about irrigation for my plant nursery... Does anyone know if there is already a system like this? If anyone finds this idea useful, please tell me! I have no plans to actually build or try to patent this system; I'd love it if it got put to good use somewhere. The advantages are that it is easily reprogramable, and extremely precise and efficient.
I found a very similar system titled:
described on http://www.nps.ars.usda.gov/publications/publications.htm?SEQ_NO_115=100998 when I Googled:
Precision application variable programmable center pivot irrigation system
But it does not look like my idea of "precision"!
Never mind just subdividing the truss output into 10' sections like this article suggests- my idea suggests a series of independently controlled lay by type emitters spaced like 4" - 6" apart so that you could, for example, irrigate only a single 6" boxwood in the middle of a 6' open area with minimal wasted water.
Variable application of insecticides, fertilizers, and chemicals would have to be with on a linear or sector shaped basis in the case of center pivot, or divided by rectangular area in the case of a gantry crane style application system.
*I do not make, sell, nor manufacture these systems! This irrigation system does not exist yet any place except in my (Ned's) mind. I made up this webpage hoping someone would like the concept and actually build it and make a system like this commercially available. If you find this webpage useful, I'd like to hear about it, so please email me!