Water, water everywhere and not a drop will drain. The evil twin of drought is drainage, and both can cripple a crop in short time. When a river rises or a culvert backs up, water can sit on farmland for weeks and prevent planting and harvest, or simply kill crops mid-season. Lifting water up and over is a sputtering and time-consuming prospect. Time to saddle a Water Hog beast and pump directly through a levee.
Water Hog is popping up on farms across the United States as a water-moving pumping system aimed at saving time, fuel and money. Devised and patented by Rick Spargo of Hoxie, Ark., the Water Hog pump transfers water directly through a levee. Less distance, no vertical lift, and diminished head pressure. Simply, Water Hog will outperform a relift pump three to one, according to Spargo.
Most up-and-over systems use a 24” pump to move water over and across a 12’, 15’ or 20’ levee. Volume is lost and pressure can drop to 9,000 gpm. Water Hog, a screw-type pump with two back blades to catch water, is a different animal. It employs a 24” pump, but the discharge is 27,000 gpm with massive power.
Pushing into water isn’t an issue. Water Hog screws water through a pipe instead of lifting it. If it’s turning, it’s churning out water. “We run straight through a levee by gearing up right and using the correct engine and horsepower,” Spargo says. Water Hog runs on a single stage pump with one screw at 200 hp for a 10’ levee and down. Above 10’, Water Hog uses a two-stage pump at 250 hp.
Spargo’s crew typically completes installation in a single day, including the levee cut and tube installation. The problems of backing a tractor down, fighting mud, hooking up tubes, or blowing out the backside of a levee are bypassed with Water Hog. Flick the switch, and water is moving off the farm side.
Spargo is also beginning remote automation of Water Hog. With the ease of a smartphone app, Water Hog can pump before a river rises. And if the river is already up? Water Hog has plenty of power to push into water by using suction off the river and letting horsepower do the rest, Spargo says. “It boils down to head pressure. Water Hog acts like a big or small pump. We have a back pressure valve to pull about 9,000 gallons per minute on an idle, or we can crank up to 27,000 gallons.”
Water Hog is used on farms across the Midwest and South, but Spargo has installed units in several countries in Africa, and even as far away as New Zealand. One customer is Todd Binder, who grows corn and soybeans on flat ground in northwest Missouri around Mound City. He once backed tractors down to 16” and 24” pumps before switching to six Water Hog units. “I can get hit with water at any point of the season. I’ve got to get it pumped through the levee and into creeks in 24 hours or my crop dies. Water Hog pumps fast, efficiently, and at low cost.”
Spargo is adamant that no pump on the market matches the efficiency of Water Hog. It takes a relift pump 50 days to clear 4’ of water off a 500-acre field; Water Hog finishes the job in 17 days. Further, it takes a relift pump 10.5 days to drain 10” of water off a 500-acre field; Water Hog is done in 3.5 days, he says. Tack on 20’ of head pressure and Water Hog will still pump at 20,000 gpm, while most relifts will grunt at 9,000 gpm. The fuel savings can be substantial, and Spargo estimates Water Hog uses a third less diesel than traditional pumps.
“Going over the top is ultimately a failure,” Spargo adds. “When it’s dry, everybody is happy. But the wet is coming again and you need to be ready.”