Streamlining Irrigation

Products to improve your irrigation practices

Published in the July 2009 Issue Published online: Jul 05, 2009 Tyler J. Baum
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July isn't just the month for fireworks and barbecue grills, although those are important, too. July is Smart Irrigation Month-a month for growers to re-focus their efforts on finding better ways to get water to their crops, while along the way saving money. If you're in the market for a smart irrigation product, we've compiled a few products from a few well-known companies to add to your quiver of irrigation products.

 

COMPANY: AG SENSE

PRODUCT: PIVOT POINT

Synopsis: Pivot Point is a GPS-driven irrigation monitor/control system that works with any brand of pivot. WAAS-powered GPS gives you monitor/control functions that are built into each Pivot Point unit, but you decide which features you want to use. Pivot Point was designed on the premise of what you need today may not be the same as what you need down the road.

Pivot Point mounts at the end tower and is powered by the pivot's end tower box or by lithium ion batteries. This allows the monitor/control device to operate independently the existing pivot control panel.

Pivot Point functionality allows you to significantly increase the capabilities of what you already have in the field without any changes to your existing pivot equipment. You can track position, speed, direction, water pressure and a number of other functions, as well as stop the pivot, control the end gun, change speed based on GPS position. You can also start most brands of pivots, but may need to add some additional hardware to your existing control panel.

AgSense has three different service levels to fit your specific needs.

Phone: (605) 352-8350
Web: www.agsense.net

 

COMPANY: TORO MICRO-IRRIGATION

PRODUCT: AQUA-TRAXX W/ PBX ADVANTAGE

Synopsis: Toro Micro-Irrigation has recently launched the latest breakthrough in drip irrigation technology-Aqua-Traxx with the PBX Advantage. With the PBX emitter, growers now have a tool that helps them achieve higher crop yields, better plant quality and more uniform plant growth without the compromises of the past.

In the past, high-quality emitters in seamless extruded tubes were expensive, and wider emitter spacing was chosen to economize. Now, with Toro's new Aqua-Traxx PBX, high-quality emitters in seamless extruded tubes are available at any emitter spacing without any additional cost. This is because of Toro's technological breakthrough that creates a high-precision, continuously molded emitter instead of the individual, injection-molded emitters that are more expensive. The end result is that Aqua-Traxx PBX premium drip tape is more clog resistant and delivers water uniformly to every plant, regardless of the chosen emitter spacing. And since Aqua-Traxx drip tape is sold by the foot-not the emitter-growers can choose emitter spacings anywhere from four inches to 24 inches based upon their desired wetting pattern, not cost.

In addition, Aqua-Traxx is also available in a more economical 4 mL wall thickness as well as 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 15 mL thicknesses for tougher applications. Finally, there are eight emitter flow rates in the Aqua-Traxx product family, ranging from the ultra-low (0.07 gph) to the ultra-high (0.34 gph) flow emitters, to fit the lengths of run, soil types and cultural practices found in farming operations across the globe.

Phone: (800) 333-8125 (Micro-Irrigation Helpline)
Web: www.toromicroirrigation.com.

 

COMPANY: T-L IRRIGATION

PRODUCT: HYDROSTATIC PIVOTS

Synopsis: T-L's exclusive hydrostatic drive design offers substantial advantages not available on electrically driven systems. Each tower of a T-L system moves continuously delivering uniform water application especially important for chemical distribution. Continuous movement reduces the chances of getting stuck and significantly reduces wear on drive components.

T-L's hydrostatic drive design provides maximum torque while automatically adjusting for the varying tower flow requirements determined by the rotation speed. A pressure compensating, variable flow hydraulic pump supplies only the power required, not the maximum 100 percent of the time.

T-L's specially formulated hydraulic fluid, Hydroclear, is non-toxic, environmentally friendly, superior in lubricating performance and extends component service life. Hydroclear will last the lifetime of the system if the recommended filter changes and service intervals are performed.

Phone: (800) 330-4264
Web: www.tlirr.com

 

COMPANY: VALMONT IRRIGATION

PRODUCT: VALLEY AUTOPILOT CONTROL PANEL WITH GPS

Synopsis: GPS Ready Control Panels give growers another choice to monitor where irrigation machines are in the field:

  • Add-on GPS Positioning packages available for pivots and linears
  • Requires a GPS Ready control panel-Pro2 or AutoPilot
  • Accurate GPS position information gathered from the cart for linears or the last drive unit for pivots
  • WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) enabled Garmin receiver provides accuracy of +/- 10 feet with most installations at greater accuracy

Producers can program GPS Ready control panels to apply different levels of water, fertilizers or other inputs within the same field based on data the GPS receiver collects and feeds to the control panel.

In turn, producers don't have to invest in applying inputs where they aren't needed or can apply extra if required. GPS Ready technology for center pivots and linears provides growers with better management tools and with the high costs of fuel, fertilizer, water and other inputs, this technology is a logical choice.

Pro2 control panels for center pivots and AutoPilot control panels for linears are currently shipped as "GPS Ready." Additionally, existing Pro2 or AutoPilot control panels can be upgraded with software to be "GPS Ready."

New, industry-leading GPS Ready Control Panels offer pivot and linear GPS positioning for more precise water and chemigation application.

A GPS Ready control panel means the GPS position calculations are performed right in the control panel. There is no need for a separate computer on the machine because a Valley computerized control panel utilizes its built-in computing power.

Phone: (402) 359-2201
Web: www.valleyirrigation.com

 

COMPANY: DECAGON

PRODUCT: 5TE SOIL MOISTURE, TEMPERATURE, AND ELECTRICAL CONDUCTIVITY SENSOR

Synopsis: The 5TE is designed to measure the water content, electrical conductivity and temperature of soil and growing media.

The 5TE sensor measures soil moisture, soil temperature and bulk electrical conductivity (EC), three fundamental measurements needed for a variety of plant studies. Three measurements are taken in one sensor allowing more data logger ports to be used for additional environmental measurements. Volumetric water content is obtained by measuring the dielectric constant of the media through the utilization of capacitance/frequency domain technology while EC is obtained using two stainless steel screws. The 5TE sensor incorporates the same high-frequency oscillation as the EC-5, which allows the sensor to accurately measure soil moisture in any soil or soil-less media with minimal salinity and textural effects. Applications include plant sprouting and growth studies, plant mortality prevention and greenhouse monitoring.

In 2006, Decagon incorporated research from its EC-5 volumetric water content sensor into the ECH2O-TE, a sensor which measured volumetric water content, temperature and electrical conductivity.

The new 5TE uses the same design theory as the ECH2O-TE, but the location of the EC measurement is in the stainless steel screws instead of gold traces. Thus use of stainless steel screws has made the 5TE a more robust sensor.

  • 5TE Soil Moisture Sensor Applications:
  • Fertigation scheduling
  • Fundamental research on soil decompostion dynamics
  • Plant disease prevention

Phone: (800) 755-2751
Web: www.decagon.com

 

COMPANY: ESI ENVIRONMENTAL

PRODUCT: GRO-POINT WIRELESS

Synopsis: ESI Environmental Sensors Inc. recently released the Next Generation Gro·Point Wireless. This new, cost-effective, product edition features improved radios that accept four digital or analog readings, web-enabled software and cell modem coverage for remote locations.

Gro·Point Wireless provides real-time moisture and temperature information, enabling precision irrigation and frost protection.

In addition, the system is designed to send alerts via email to users in the event that temperature or moisture has breached user-defined alarm levels.

ESI's 900 MHz radios offer up to three-mile, line-of-sight transmission with an optional cell modem add-on that provides the information over the internet anywhere there is a connection.

The next generation Gro·Point Wireless Software incorporates Microsoft Virtual Earth mapping, an intuitive user interface and offers multiple views including: Graph view and List view.

Phone: (800) 799-6324
Web: www.esica.com

 

COMPANY: ANDROS ENGINEERING

PRODUCT: SERIES III SADDLE CARRIER

Synopsis: Growers who use drip tape in their irrigation program understand that full rolls of drip tape can be hard to handle. Additionally, tighter and tighter tapeline spacing on drip intensive crops like onions and wide-bed salad vegetables require tape rolls to be closer together making roll loading and tape placement difficult if not impossible using conventional equipment and methods. The new saddle carrier from Andros Engineering solves all of these problems.

Available in a wide variety of configurations Andros saddle carriers can handle any tape layout scenario growers can think up. From 1 line per bed to up to 3 lines per 40-inch bed, the carriers unique design allows operation under the widest range of spacings.

Loading and unloading is simple, just drop a full reel into the carrier and you are ready to dispense tape. Freewheeling at row ends is eliminated by the brake system applying a gentle tug on the reel, applying the ideal amount of tension to the tape. Used in conjunction with an Andros Agri-Spool Adapter any manufacturers new tape can be used in this carrier, and of course, growers who reuse their tape using 18- or 24-inch Andros Agri-pools will realize a noticeable increase in operator comfort and satisfaction leading to more tape installed per day.

Phone: (805) 227-2801
Web: www.andros-engineering.com

 

Editor's Note: This list is by no means comprehensive. If you know of more smart irrigation products that can be included in our magazine, please email tbaum@potatogrower.com. These were agriculture-related products submitted for the 2008 Irrigation Show, New Product Contest. The winner in the Ag category was Valmont Irrigation with their product Valley AutoPilot Control Panel with GPS.

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