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As the saying goes, necessity breeds invention. Farmer Roger Barton needed to water his crops, and he needed fuel to run his irrigation system. The trouble came in 2008 when diesel prices reached $4.28 per gallon. (Currently, they’re about $4.12).
So Barton began looking for ways to circumvent the rising costs of keeping his hydraulic center-pivot irrigation system running over his alfalfa. These wheeled sprinkler systems rotate around a central point in the field. This allows for more uniform and controlled watering and is what forms those quilt-like circular crop patterns on the land.
What he eventually came up with was to couple his irrigation system with a hydro turbine.