Four Reasons to Consider Remote Irrigation Monitoring

Published online: Apr 13, 2018 Irrigation
Viewed 347 time(s)

Source: Valley Irrigation

Let’s face it. There are reasons only a few of us still ride a horse to work. Technology and innovation have forced a change, delivering significant benefits to those with the knowledge to reap those benefits.

Farm operations are certainly no different in that regard. As a grower, you need help making informed decisions that will conserve resources and produce a profitable yield. So, for you slow adopters reading this, I would like to share four solid reasons to consider remote-managed pivot irrigation.

 

  1. Minimize Your Inputs

Water is the most valuable resource in crop production. Without proper water management, your crops will suffer and unnecessary expenses may be incurred. Pivot telemetry offers advanced functionality, such as variable rate irrigation (VRI), which allows growers to implement prescriptions that can conserve significant amounts of water when they irrigate. Additionally, use of digital cellular technology via smart phone or tablet offers the capability to remotely start or stop a center pivot, further conserving costly fuel and chemicals, which means fewer trips to the pivot.

 

  1. Receive Important Updates

Knowledge is power. Growers want farm management software that provides real-time information with alerts to help diagnose problems immediately. A proper remote-managed irrigation system can:

    • Protect the crop. A stopped pivot caused by a power outage or low-voltage conditions can be devastating for a yield. Software designed to monitor a pivot irrigation system through a control panel can be programmed to alert the grower if (or when) this potentially destructive event occurs.
    • Protect workers. Software like Valley Irrigation’s BaseStation3 offers “restricted-entry” alerts, which will display a graphic on a three-dimensional map whenever chemicals have been sprayed onto a specific field. This helps raise awareness whenever chemigation/fertigation is in process to keep workers from entering the area.
    • Protect center pivots from copper theft. Among the many features that an app such as Valley’s AgSense offers is theft detection. Theft detection works by sending an electronic pulse down the power cable several times each minute when there is no power to the control box (basically a continuity check). If the pulse does not complete the loop and return to the control panel, a “theft” reading is triggered and multiple cell phones and/or emails can be notified of a possible theft. This can be a very important feature to have in some areas.

 

  1. Access Historical Reporting and Diagnostics

“We’re only as good as the information we are given…” Unfortunately, pivots that travel uphill when they irrigate can produce inaccurate application rates. When the pivot slips, the application rate will vary from what was expected. That’s why water usage reports, for example, are so powerful. They reveal what is actually happening in the field, highlighting the problem areas so you can address them.

Having the right information enables the grower to make the appropriate adjustments, conserving as many resources as possible. With the ability to track acres watered, hours/gallons pumped, average PSI or even rainfall, a remote irrigation monitoring solution like AgSense can help improve a farm’s efficiency. This data can often be exported for sharing in spreadsheets or viewed online in easy-to-read graphs and charts. Analyzing historical reports can provide critical insights and make it easier to identify areas of the field that need improvement.

 

  1. Enjoy More Free Time

Many daily tasks that can be performed at the control panel in the field can also be accomplished from a home computer or mobile device. This allows growers to stay on top of their irrigation systems, wherever they are. A guy can take that vacation, enjoy his kids’ baseball game or sleep a little later, knowing that his farm is in good hands. A reputable remote-managed software platform can provide a grower with that comfort.

 

If you’re not currently using remote irrigation monitoring, or you are simply interested in updating your old control panel, I would encourage you to seek the assistance of an irrigation equipment dealer. Sure, there will be some cost involved, but how much are you losing by waiting? Leave the horse in the barn. It’s time for something better.