Choosing the Right Flow Meter for Your Operation

Across the country, water managers at local and state levels are beginning to require the use of flow meters to manage water resources.

Flow meters remove the guesswork from water usage while saving time, energy and money – helping growers like Dirk Harberg be good stewards of their resources. 

“Every drop of water in the United States is very valuable, and we need to be precise with what we are doing with it,” Harberg said.

Two types of flow meters are available for irrigators – mechanical and magnetic. While both measure water flow, there are significant differences growers should consider before purchasing.

The most common mechanical flow meters are inserted into a pipe and use a turbine and propeller to measure flow. They operate most effectively when used in a full pipe and in an area with stable flow and limited turbulence. However, mechanical flow meters can be prone to clogging, and they also have a lot of moving parts that can break or malfunction.

Magnetic flow meters, on the other hand, don’t impede flow, become clogged or have moving parts to maintain or replace. With this type of meter, a magnetic field is generated and channeled into the liquid flowing through the pipe. This causes a voltage signal to be sensed by electrodes located on the flow tube walls. When the fluid moves faster, more voltage is generated.

Benefits of the Growsmart™ Magnetic Flow Meter include:

  • Superior IP68 enclosure seal
  • Range of sizes
  • Remote monitoring capabilities with FieldNET™ by Lindsay
  • Optional battery pack featuring longer life than most competitive models
  • ICWT tested for accuracy (International Center for Water Technology)
New Image Block

Growsmart® by Lindsay also offers the new In-Riser Magnetic Flow Meter.

“The riser pipe is the best spot for accuracy because, unlike horizontal pipes, the riser pipe is always 100 percent full,” says Christopher Higgins, global Zimmatic product manager.

In addition to the benefits listed above, the In-Riser requires no heavy equipment as well as no cutting and welding of delivery pipes needed for installation, saving growers money.

“I honestly think that farmers are one of the best stewards of the ground and that 99.9 percent of all farmers are very interested in being conservative,” Harberg said. “If you don’t have a flow meter, you honestly don’t have a way to know how much water you’re using.”

For more information about the Growsmart Magnetic Flow Meter, including the in-riser option, talk to your local Zimmatic dealer or visit