The Golden State previously tried overhead irrigation in the 1950s, according to anarticle by Chuck Harvey in The Business Journal, but it never caught on like it did in the Midwest. It is estimated that Nebraska, for instance, has more than 80,000 such systems in place, while California might have 300-500. In California, the system is being tried on alfalfa hay, cotton and wheat, but also has shown some success on corn and onions.

Overhead systems, which are useful when covering large areas of land, save water and provide better water quality control than flood irrigation, Rick Hanshew, southwest territory manager for Reinke Manufacturing Inc., told the newspaper. He said the price of a center pivot system can range from $70,000 to $75,000, depending on the size of the field, but still less than drip irrigation while saving on manpower.

The systems work especially well with forage crops, but most farmers say it will take some time for the system to catch on in the valley.  FG


—Summarized by FG staff from cited source