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Successful Farming magazine Machinery Director
One of the 20th century's top labor-saving inventions -- the
center pivot sprinkler -- is being paired up with what could be one of the
twenty-first century's leading labor-saving advances -- telematics. The
resulting breakthrough? Irrigators not only monitor but also control pivots
remotely, thereby replacing hard-to-find hired hands.
Kurt Torell invested $3,000 per pivot (he operates 16
systems) plus a communication fee to upgrade the control panels on his
sprinklers to allow telematic control.
"The investment paid for itself shortly," the
Gresham, Nebraska, farmer says. "Without it, I would have had to hire an
extra man and provide him with a pickup to check sprinklers daily."
Center pivot manufacturers offer various forms of telematic
control of sprinkler equipment that work with radios, cell phones, and
computers.The technology not only reports on pivot operation alerting farmers
to problems but also gives producers control of all major functions. The
technology allows remote control of related functions like chemigation.
Valley and Reinke have introduced GPS tracking to precisely
track sprinkler movement.