Tuesday 26 April 2016

The Road to Complete Control from your Mobile Device

Here's an insight to the development pathway from the world's first true variable rate irrigation system through to the release this year of Growsmart® Precision VRI with FieldNET® - complete remote pivot management, with VRI control, monitoring and reporting. 

For more information visit precisionirrigation.co.nz/fieldnet.

This video clip has been shared with you by Sarah Elliot from LindsayNZ.

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Irrigation NZ Conference Summary

The Irrigation NZ Conference was held in Oamaru from the 5th to 7th of April. There was a huge range of speakers and presentations all relating to different aspects of the industry. Some of the important and recurring topics are summarised below.

Irrigation has benefits to communities and the environment.

The pre-conference tour took a bus load of delegates on a tiki-tour through the Waitaki valley to see first hand the irrigation schemes that draw water from the mighty river. It is readily apparent that irrigation water has benefits to farmers and community.  An example being a storage pond which is held in a trust to allow the public to use it for recreational use. A great example of the community and irrigators coming together to prosper together.

MGI Intake off the Waitaki River.
Also highlighted on the trip was how irrigation can have benefits to the environment.  The frequent droughts experienced by the Waitaki Valley prior to irrigation meant that rabbits and dust storms were free to wreak havoc on the area. Now, with irrigation, soil is no longer lost in howling Nor’Westers and improved soil structure has resulted in reduced sediment loadings in water ways. This draws some similar parallels to Keith Cameron’s talk at the PAANZ Conference (see: http://www.h2grow.nz/2016/03/inaugural-paanz-conference-summary.html)

The future is a scary place…

Synthetic meat and massive urban greenhouse skyscrapers are set to be realities in the future. The value and limited supply of the world’s natural resources was something that really hit home in Julian Cribb’s talk and it gave serious weight to the fact that efficient irrigation and water use is extremely important.
Another guest speaker, Peter Biggs detailed the concept of the volatile, uncertain, complicated and ambiguous world that we live in today. Complexity and uncertainty are two concepts that are a big part of the irrigation scene in New Zealand. How do we keep an eye on the future when such complex issues confront us at home on a daily basis?

Engaging with the public is important for success.

Nicky Hyslop, Chair of INZ made us aware of something we are all possibly guilty of. Not listening when we should. The idea that more often than not we just need to “shut up and listen” when dealing with the public on issues related to irrigation and agriculture and go forward in a dynamic, proactive way. The key message being that we must “engage” with the public rather than lecture them if any change is to be bought about.
Waitaki Irrigators Collective to bring together all irrigators in the Waitaki Valley

Management and measurement to improve efficiency.

The growth of technology in the sector is seeing efficiency gains left, right and centre. From improved efficiency of infrastructure that delivers water to the farm gate to the use of VRI and soil moisture management, irrigators have plenty of scope to lift performance. The level of data that can be easily captured from an irrigation system such as; flow, pressure and energy used is high. Not only can irrigators make use of this data to reduce energy costs but also water use efficiency. Dan Bloomer presented on how simply it is done with 2 dozen buckets to actually measure what water your irrigator is putting on the ground. Ultimately what gets measured gets managed.

This weeks post was bought to you by Nick Evans of Agri Optics. To find out more about Nick or to get in touch with Agri Optics check out our website: http://www.agrioptics.co.nz/meettheteam

Monday 4 April 2016

NEW Growsmart® Precision VRI with FieldNET® offers Complete Irrigation Remote Management

(Feilding, NZ) – April 4, 2016 – Lindsay New Zealand has announced that it now is offering Growsmart® Precision VRI with FieldNET® to provide complete remote pivot management, with VRI control, monitoring and reporting.

With Precision VRI, growers can precisely apply the correct amount of water over multiple crops, soil types and terrains.  When integrated with FieldNET remote management, growers have the ability to easily create or edit irrigation plans. The detailed irrigation reports assist with better decision-making. Multiple users can also be added with controlled access, which simplifies communication with staff and stakeholders.

Creating irrigation plans is easy with the new integrated tool. To set an irrigation depth you can simply click on a management zone/area and enter the desired depth or use the table to apply an irrigation depth according to a predefined characteristic such as crop type.

The irrigation application reports allow you to illustrate the irrigation that has been applied over a specific time period.
“The correct amount of water on every part of the field is essential for maximum yields. When coupled with FieldNET, Precision VRI gives growers the pinpoint accuracy they need along with the efficiencies that result from full remote capabilities,” said Richard Hall, Lindsay regional manager for Australia and New Zealand. “Configurable inputs allow for real-time system status data feeds, and the cloud stored backup reduces maintenance and repair system downtime.”

Ashburton farmer, Phill Everest uses Precision VRI to irrigate his farm in accordance with local council regulations, while demonstrating a passion for environmental efficiency that he hopes others will follow. Three years ago, he converted his beef and cropping farm to dairying. Flemington Dairies features deep silt loams braided by shallower stony soils, the result of historic riverbeds. Springs pop up in wet conditions, and one area of the farm has open drains running down its length.

With precision technology, he is able to turn off irrigation over and around pivot ruts, tracks, water troughs, gateways and drains. He also can avoid irrigating boggy areas, reducing rutting and allowing them to recover before changing his plan and irrigating again – effectively managing problems posed by heavy, seasonally waterlogged soils. He describes his decision to adopt precision technology as a means to “kill five birds with one stone.”

“The first time using the new FieldNET tool for Precision VRI, I found it very easy,” Everest said. “It was much simpler and quicker having just the one place to go to control my pivot and manage the Precision VRI plans.”

Using Growsmart Precision VRI to irrigate 132 hectares, Everest is able to reduce his water usage by 3,350,000 litres in comparison to a standard system applying a uniform rate application of 15 mm across the property. The additional water can irrigate an additional 23 hectares on his farm. Looking to the future, Everest said he’s interested in investing in Precision VRI on his remaining pivots.

“Some people call me a green farmer, but it’s something that spins my wheels,” he said.

Adding FieldNET to Precision VRI requires additional hardware that allows farmers to customise and remotely manage water applications. A strong, long lasting steel enclosure houses the new control panel in which you can view irrigation plans in colour at the pivot point. Irrigation depths can be changed on the fly, a handy feature for instance when the dairy herd are going into a paddock that the irrigator is about to cover, the irrigation on that paddock can be turned off then and there.

There will be a live demo on show at the ZImmatic site (site 17) at the IrrigationNZ Conference in Oamaru this week, so come along and check it out. For more information about Growsmart Precision VRI with FieldNET, visit your local Zimmatic dealer or growsmartprecisionvri.co.nz

This announcement has been bought by Lindsay NZ.