Water Efficiency Key to Irrigating
The 2012 drought that covered about 65 percent of the U.S. and which was a continuation of drought that began more than a year earlier in the Southwest has brought concern about water availability to the forefront more than ever before.
More companies than ever are putting together programs to assist farmers who irrigate and to help ag retailers assist their customers grow crops as efficiently as possible with as little water as possible. Continuous improvement in water delivery and efficient use in crop production is a necessity. Improvements can be economically viable for growers, and initial investments must be offset in the long run.
Syngenta has jumped into offering the Water+ Intelligent Irrigation Platform working in partnership with Lindsay Corporation to assist farmers. The concept and research for the platform program began three years ago, prior to the extreme drought. Working with a limited number of growers, the program is in limited launch in Kansas, Nebraska and portions of Colorado during 2013, explained Chris Tingle, Syngenta, business portfolio manager irrigated crops.
Syngenta knows the agronomics of growing a crop and is integrating crop knowledge with irrigation performance. The company is “pulling all the information streams into one simple platform” for the convenience of the grower and economical crop production recommendations, explained Tingle. While the best suited hybrids are selected for the Water+ platform, planting Agrisure Artesian water-optimization corn hybrids for growing more corn with less water is definitely a main consideration.
It is described as one-stop shopping for the tools to efficiently use water and grow a crop. “The grower can look at his computer screen in the morning and recognize that today he needs to irrigate or initiate the use of a crop protection product but then also plan for next week as the crop develops and the weather patterns change,” Tingle said.
PHOTO COURTESY OF LINDSAY CORPORATIONIrrigation function and remote control of pivots can be done using a smartphone. One of the technology components in the offer is FieldNET, the Lindsay remote control telemetry system for internet-based control and monitoring of a pivot. Second, two sets of soil moisture sensors are installed at different soil depths within the pivot area. Third, a specific rain gauge to measure rainfall with electronic readout is placed in the field. Then, those read-outs are connected to the Lindsay irrigation panel systems.