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Operating costs are predominantly the pumping costs, which are largely determined (per ML) by the head or pressure of the system and the cost of the energy source. A pivot operating at a total head of 35 m (50 psi) typically requires about 130 kWh of energy per megalitre applied.
Diesel: With diesel fuel costing $1.40 /L, a farmer would normally pay $0.89 /L after claiming GST and rebate. At a specific fuel consumption of 0.3 L/kWh, pumping (at 130 kWh/ML) would require 39 L of diesel fuel per megalitre pumped, costing $35 /ML.
A modern turbo-charged diesel engine may be slightly more efficient (say 0.27 L/kWh), and cost less to run.
Pivots operating at lower pressure (which is realistic in many situations) than 35 m (50 psi) as shown above will cost proportionally less to run.
Lateral moves, which normally don’t have an electricity option, and normally don’t have a supply mainline (with the associated head loss) should be slightly cheaper to run than a comparable capacity pivot using diesel.
Maintenance is part of the cost of operating a pivot, and is discussed below in Step 184.108.40.206.
The following prices and pumping costs were valid in mid 2006:
Electricity: A typical electricity tariff and pumping costs (at 130 kWh/ML) are: