Game Plan

Published online: Jul 07, 2020 Articles, Irrigation, New Products Reinke Manufacturing
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This article appears in the July 2020 issue of Potato Grower.

As you carry on through the summer months, you’re keeping tabs on the irrigation water being applied to your fields. As a potato grower, you know exactly how precision irrigation positively impacts your crop’s yield and your operation’s bottom line. To achieve the best possible crop and be a good steward of this critical resource, you need to follow best practices and utilize innovative irrigation technologies.

Lance Eldridge has worked with growers in and around Idaho Falls, Idaho, for the past 30 years. As a manager with Rain for Rent, he’s seen the evolution of how irrigation technology applies water to a number of different crops.

“Pivot packages are not a one-size-fits-all proposition,” says Eldridge. “It’s important that we work with each grower in order to understand their overall operation so that we can recommend the right solution to meet their irrigation needs.”

Building an Irrigation Strategy

There are a number of factors that come into play when you’re making decisions on an irrigation strategy, including crops being planted, layout of the land, distance between fields, and the technology package that offers the best solution to meet your needs.

Growers with larger acreages and miles between fields, or those short on hired labor need irrigation technology that can help save them time. Reinke’s ReinCloud covers these growers to help organize their operations by property, zone and equipment—making it easier to control and monitor irrigation equipment.

Eldridge points out that labor shortages have been a growing trend, and smart irrigation technology has been a big selling point for producers with expanding operations.

“Producers we work with are seeing success with our smart irrigation controller dashboard,” he says. “More and more, we’re putting up technology-capable pivots. They have a lot of larger and smaller pivots spread out, so that’s a way to consolidate those controls without having to jump in the truck and drive out to the field.”

New Irrigation Solutions

Applying water to fields with varying shapes and terrain can also be a challenge.

“Few growers have fields that are perfectly square or level,” says Eldridge. “Our terrain is not flat by any means. We have a variety here, from flat ground to steep, mountainous terrain.”

Two patent-pending irrigation solutions released earlier this year to growers in the U.S. and Canada can have a positive impact on farms in eastern Idaho: SAC VRI and ESAC.

Reinke’s variable rate irrigation (VRI), now available on swing arm corners, is a total systems approach that allows for greater efficiency for growers who wish to utilize VRI on the entire system. From the first sprinkler head to the last, the grower has complete control over their prescription for their field. Reinke is the only company that provides the grower with the ability to create, change or simply view the prescription while in operation.

Also available is Reinke’s electronic swing arm corner (ESAC), which provides highly efficient and uniform water application for growers.

“There are fields that growers have wanted to put swing arms on to increase their yields, but the technology at the time didn’t provide an efficient monitoring application to achieve that,” says Eldridge. “With ESAC, we can now manage precision irrigation on these terrains and give growers more high-quality growth on those acres.”

Improving ways for growers to water under the swing arm helps them get the most from their entire field. With Reinke’s ESAC, the technology now exists to control sprinkler water application and virtually eliminate under- and over-watering on corners. Reinke’s ESAC is also available for competitive systems as a retro swing arm corner span.

During field research, ESAC improved water precision application, making it a major improvement for irregularly shaped fields and corner applications on rectangular fields. With electronic zone control based on GPS positioning, ESAC optimizes the application into individual field specifications by controlling the sprinklers.

Service & Support

Any grower who’s had water issues in the heat of the summer knows just how important it is to have quick reaction from their dealership.

“I think anyone would say that service is king,” says Eldridge. “We’re dedicated to making sure that our growers’ irrigation equipment is up and running. To make sure we can do that, our technicians are certified by the Reinke PLUS (Proven Leaders in Unmatched Service) Program.”

Technicians are trained to deliver the most advanced technical service and support to their customers. To maintain that certification, they must earn 16 service training credits from Reinke each year.

 

For more information on the products and services available from Rain for Rent, visit www.rainforrent.com/ag or call (208) 522-4500. To learn more about Reinke or to locate a dealership near you, visit www.reinke.com or call (402) 365-7251.