3.2 Overhead Sprinkler Components

Basic sprinkler types include the rotating sprinklers and the stationary spray-type nozzles. Rotating sprinklers, such as the impact-driven and the slow gear-driven types, are most commonly used. Fixed-spray nozzles are being more popular, but they have been used mostly in landscape applications because their application rates are very high. Most of the components were covered in the previous sections.

Sprinkler selection can affect operating costs. Large droplets can cause damage to the soil structure when they impact. However, large droplets are desired to reduce misting and evaporation in the air. One solution is to use low pressure sprinklers with low angle throws so the droplets are not up in the air very long and the water has a low force when it impacts. The low pressure reduces energy costs, a part of the operating cost.

Rotating sprinklers can throw the water farther and thus have lower application rates than the rotating and fixed spray heads. These later heads are now used on linear-move and center pivot machines.

Spacing of sprinkler heads is extremely important to maximize application efficiency. Wind drift is often more of a problem in outdoor production settings, than evaporation.