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​​Propane: Proven Efficiency and Reliability for Irrigation 

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 55 million acres of U.S. farmland is irrigated. At FS, we know growers like you are concerned about the rising fuel costs associated with this highly energy-intensive farming operation. That's why we're proud to offer propane as the preferred alternative energy source and a proven fuel for agricultural irrigation pumps. 

What sets propane apart from the rest?  Compared with gasoline and diesel fuel, propane:

  • Provides the same amount of power with fewer emissions.
  • Is nontoxic and insoluble in water, making it safer for livestock, aquifers, groundwater supplies, and soil.
  • Does not leave any residue.
  • Lasts longer. Engine parts and oil stay cleaner for longer periods of time.
  • Is easier to store. Propane will not turn rancid if stored for an extended length of time, making it more convenient for seasonal use.
  • Is more cost effective for summer irrigation as a result of seasonal price patterns.
  • Pumps are comparable in price to diesel and gasoline pumps but may qualify for government rebates offered for equipment powered by alternative fuels.
  • Has reduced maintenance needs.

Compared with electricity, propane...

  • Is not subject to interruptions in grid power.
  • Is portable. Tanks can be placed wherever power is needed.
  • Engines offer adjustability in speed depending on irrigation need, unlike electric motors, which operate at a constant speed.​​

What types of irrigation pumps can run on propane?

Most propane-fueled irrigation pumps are centrifugal pumps, of which there are three basic types:

  • End suction pumps are the most common type. They are installed (either horizontally or vertically) on a pad above the high-water level.
  • Deep well turbine pumps and propeller pumps are mounted underwater. Water is pumped up a shaft by a motor. Turbine pumps are used primarily for larger pump applications. Propeller pumps are used for low-lift, high flow-rate conditions, but multi-stage pumps are available.

Ever-improving efficiency with new technology

The Propane Education & Research Council has been working with engine manufacturers to create more efficient and economical propane irrigation engines. In addition, these engines can be used for other industrial applications, including air compressors, wood chippers, aerial lifts and other harvest equipment, prime and backup generators, skid steer loaders, and wind machines.​​​​

Sources:
http://www.agpropane.com/propane-on-the-farm/engine-and-power-applications/electrical-generation/irrigation-pumping/
http://www.agpropane.com/uploadedFiles/Agriculture/Propane_On_The_Farm/Engine_And_Power_Applications/FS_IrrigationEngines_WEB.pdf
http://www.missouripropane.com/innovation/agriculture/irrigation/
http://www.choosepropane.org/cefarmpowerirrigation.cfm
http://www.qualitylpgas.com/Agricultural/IrrigationFactSheet.pdf