Water Efficiency Key to Irrigating
And the really important aspect that Syngenta provides is the new Ag software. “The Ag software program that we’ve developed and are further developing is really the essence of Water+ Intelligent Irrigation,” Tingle said. This gives guidance to the farmer for production, irrigation and crop protection operations per field based on weather conditions.
“The final component of the Syngenta offering is two aerial images of the crop under the pivot,” the Syngenta portfolio manager noted. A thermal image about two weeks after the first irrigation gives an aerial view of pivot function including nozzle malfunctions or improper calibration. Then about two weeks prior to harvest a color infrared imagery is taken for use in NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index—vegetation measurement) analysis for yield prediction, although yield estimates are tracked from data collected during the growing season, too.
The collection of data and decisions based on facts instead of speculation or guesses about crop needs and its water requirements is being spurred on by the need for water-use efficiency.
Advanced Ag Solutions, LLC has issued new software for irrigation management using algorithm models for its Optimizer 2.0 app. The company focuses on farmers and empowering crop advisors to better serve their clients.
The app utilizes weather forecasts and recorded radar results fine-tuned to individual field precipitation data along with soil moisture data to provide insight on when pivot irrigation should be rescheduled.
“The software then allows the user to easily edit irrigated rates and timing in cases where estimates of irrigation might be off,” explained Daryl Starr, Advanced Ag Solutions president.
IRRIGATION COMPANY COMMENTS
All four of the Midwest pivot irrigation manufacturers offer remote control of their pivots and offer their own variable rate irrigation (VRI), each of which has its own unique features and benefits. Managers within each of the companies expressed how important various efficiencies have become.
Dirk Lenie, Lindsay vice-president of global marketing, emphasized water conservation aspects of FieldNET. “The system provides water use information per pivot and sends out an alert should a pivot have a problem. This is especially important if a pivot stops in the watering mode. The sooner it is shut down, the more the water savings.”
Lindsay’s Precision VRI does not work on a grid pattern, but it “allows growers to create more than 47,000 application areas to design a custom irrigation package unique to the specifics of a grower’s field,” Lenie explained.