August 1, 2018
Brian Petersen, his son Bennett, brother Steve and nephew Mark, grow corn, soybeans and specialty crops like seed corn and annual rye near Minden, Neb. They have a “mixed bag” of four different brands of center pivots and control panels. That can make farming their rough, sandy soil even more challenging, especially when spread over 30 miles.
Jeremiah Johnson of Central Valley Irrigation in Holdrege, Neb., approached Petersen about putting a Valley® ICONX smart panel on one of his competitive machines to see how remote management of his pivots could save time and labor costs.
The ICONX is one of the smart control panels from Valley Irrigation. It gives growers full remote management of any brand of pivot through AgSense® or BaseStation3TM, smart irrigation solutions from Valley – and without the cost of a full panel upgrade. It works by taking control of any existing pivot panel using that panel’s circuits, and is compatible with all major pivot and panel brands.
Johnson installed the ICONX on a distant competitive machine. That old panel was very basic, with only on/off and forward/reverse controls. The ICONX used that panel’s circuits and bypassed them to offer control through the AgSense mobile app on Peterson’s Android phone.
Bringing outdated pivots into the 21st century
“There were five or six people dealing with different control panels every day on the Petersen Farm, and that was a real hassle,” Johnson says. “Brian decided to try the ICONX, and I think it’s changed his entire perspective on efficient irrigation management.”
Petersen had never worked with any sort of telemetry before installing the ICONX. He says that programming and monitoring from his phone opened up a whole new world. “I can program it, and even change the end guns from the road so I can see exactly where they’re turning on and off. Then I know exactly what’s going on in the field, without having to drive there twice a day.”
By monitoring from his phone, Petersen says he plans better and saves on mileage, too. He can check things out first thing in the morning, and be alerted 24 hours a day if anything is happening at the pivot.
“I never thought I could justify the cost of an AgSense subscription, but then I tried it. Now I find if I can cut my trips out to those fields in half, that will easily pay for the cost of the subscription,” he says. “That’s not including all the time I can spend on other, more productive things, and spending time with my family. I certainly see the value in it now.”
Not only that, but Petersen says by putting the ICONX on his old competitive machine, he didn’t have to update his entire pivot right away. “The ICONX brought my outdated pivot into the 21st century,” he says. “I didn’t have to replace the pivot for the time being. Instead, I could update it less expensively.”
“We do a lot of fertigating, and with the ICONX, we can start and stop the fertilizer pump and keep watering as we do it,” he says. “I like that kind of control.” He also plans to add ICONX panels to at least six other competitors’ pivots this year.
“If we can have ICONX on more of our pivots, we can gain consistency, which would be great,” he explains. “We’d also eliminate any mechanical error. It could be a real advantage for us.”
“I can’t express enough how good the ICON panels are. It’s just so easy to use them.”
The Valley® ICONX smart panel takes control of existing pivot panels using the panel’s circuits and connecting easily to AgSense® or BaseStation3TM. Now, all of your pivots can be on one network. With ICONX, growers can bring full ICON touch control to any brand of pivot.
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