Monitoring, control options
Innovative introductions prove that center pivot manufacturers still have a few tricks up their sleeves, especially when it comes to pivot control and monitoring. Valley Irrigation, for example, introduced its new Valley 365 system platform. In essence, it takes the functionality of existing technology, like AgSense, Valley Scheduling, Valley Variable Rate Irrigation, and Valley Insights – and integrates them all into one location.
“Producers can access everything they need for crop management with a single sign-on, which is a major benefit in itself,” says Andy Carritt of Valmont.
Valmont continues its partnership with Prospera Technologies, an Israeli machine vision and artificial intelligence company specializing in ag data. The collaboration, known as Valley Insights, seeks to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to transform the center pivot from a machine into an autonomous crop-management tool.
“Valley Insights is designed to move growers closer to autonomous crop management, generating greater returns while using fewer inputs and resources,” explains Troy Long of Valmont. “Producers would be hard-pressed for time to sift through stacks of aerial images provided by other services, searching for potential irrigation-related issues. Valley Insights analyzes the images and alerts growers to possible crop threats before they become big problems.”
Lindsay introduced a full range of next-generation Zimmatic controllers. In addition to being FieldNET-ready and making remote monitoring and control capabilities even more accessible, the new controllers offer smart barrier automation, which provides a simple method for irrigating part circles. Improvements include Advanced Plan creation, which makes it easier for growers to create custom watering programs unique to each field, and over-the-air serviceability allowing quicker software and firmware updates.
One of the most unique innovations is Lindsay’s FieldNET Pivot Watch remote monitoring solution. According to Albert Maurin with Lindsay, Pivot Watch is a monitor-only solution that makes remote irrigation management more accessible to a wider number of producers.
“While it doesn’t permit remote control, it allows the producer to monitor the pivot including its current position, status, direction, and speed via the FieldNET mobile app,” Maurin says, noting that the device uses integrated cellular connectivity, GPS positioning, and other embedded sensors to monitor the system. “It will also send an alert if there is a problem.”
The Pivot Watch unit attaches directly to the span pipe with a simple aluminum band, without the need to connect to the electric circuitry of the pivot. This means growers will have the ability to install Pivot Watch themselves. It also means that the system will work with both electric and hydraulic drive units, regardless of age and brand.
Pricing starts at $299 per unit, which includes the first year of monitor-only FieldNET subscription. After the first year, the subscription cost is $100 per year. If a customer wants to add a pressure transducer to indicate whether water is on or off and to display end-of-system pressure, the base cost of the unit is $399. Maurin notes, however, that discounts are available on the purchase of multiple units.
“Approximately 70% of pivots operating in North America today do not have remote monitoring capability,” says Randy Wood, president of irrigation at Lindsay. “Pivot Watch was designed with exactly those growers in mind.”