Role of WPT PTOs In Rice Irrigation

Power Take-offs for Rice Irrigation

“Jambalaya, Crawfish Pie and File Gumbo.” You probably recognize this line from the chorus of the song made famous by county music icon, Hank Williams. Aside from the chance grouping of these items in the song, the makings of these dishes have a direct link in the world of agriculture. Throughout the lower Mississippi River Delta and the southern central area of Louisiana known as “Acadiana”, rice farmers alternate their rice crops with commercial crawfish operations.

Each spring, the rice farmers return to their dry fields to get them prepared for planting. The soil is tilled, leveled and the fertilized. The next step is to patch the levees and flood the fields. Once flooded, the fields are then planted, typically by aerial distribution of pre-germinated seeds. It is also at this time that the fields are seeded with crawfish, more on that later.

After the rice has completed its growing cycle, the process is reversed whereby the water is pumped from the fields and the ground is allowed to dry. During this time, the crawfish burrow deep underground and remain safe from the autumn heat and weight of the combines.  Once the rice is harvested, the fields are left to sit dry until next planting season.  However, in the case of Crawfish farming, the fields are reflooded. The crawfish reemerge from the ground and continue to grow until early spring when they are harvested. By late spring, the cycle starts all over again.

WPT plays a major role in the flooding and draining process of the fields. Diesel and natural gas-powered pump units equipped with mechanical Power Take-Offs turn right-angle wellheads that pump water up from the water table. Because the inertia requirements of the pump heads exceed what the engines can turn upon start-up, a PTO clutch is utilized. It allows the engines to be cranked without a load, brought up to idle speed, the load of the pump can be applied, and pumping can begin.

WPT is proud to play a vital role in the choreography of the Rice and Crawfish dance. Serving in dozens of agricultural applications, WPT engine driven PTOs can be found throughout the world assisting farmers to get their crops to market. If you are a manufacturer of agricultural machinery and have need for a PTO, call WPT today for a comprehensive application review today. We can be reached at (940) 761-1971 or

Written by: John Bardwell, North American Sales Representative