For many producers, a little ingenuity can go a long way to keeping costs in check while maintaining necessary production levels on the farm.
Robert Compton, owner of Compton Farms in Lamar, Missouri, learned that first-hand when he needed a high-horsepower solution for his irrigation well engine to pull water from his deeper-than-normal wells. Rather than purchasing a larger, more expensive 200 to 400 HP engine, he thought outside the box, working with this equipment supplier Husker Power, located in Hastings, Nebraska, to find a more affordable and reliable solution.
After some guidance from Husker Power, Compton installed a two-engine irrigation pump, consisting of two 8.8L 175 HP engines to power the well by using a dual-input gearhead on the pump. There is an additional control panel that syncs the two engine control modules (ECM) to work in tandem. The power sources are also connected with a press transducer that automatically throttles each to a set irrigation water pressure. So, when different irrigation pivots are operating or end guns turn on and off, the RPMs of the engines automatically adjust to maintain a pre-determined pressure setting.
The innovation is believed to be the first working dual-engine setup in the country that utilizes modern ECM propane engines. In addition to the less-expensive engine costs that were able to do the work of a higher-horsepower engine, maintaining a consistent pressure setting from the dual-engine solution saves fuel.
“Our deep wells require high horsepower. Some areas don’t have electricity available, so propane gives us a more economical alternative to diesel,” Compton said. “The new engine technology is more efficient to operate and much more practical than in the past,”
Propane has been a mainstay in other applications throughout Compton Farms for more than six decades. In addition to its irrigation engines, propane is used for building heat and grain drying.
Click here for more information about propane irrigation engines.