The advent of web-based, information rich irrigation control has been a boon for many farms. And the software keeps getting more complex, offering enhanced management functionality. FieldNet from Lindsay was an early innovation for the industry, and for 2017 the company is upping its game with the new FieldNet Advisor.
Dillon Clayton, who is on the FieldNet support team, talked about the system recently, sharing its key features. "This is a software based system for irrigation management," he explained. "We do our own modeling to track the crop progress and manage water."
This enhancement is more than a simple software upgrade. The company is calling FieldNet Advisor a "game-changer" — with its new features that bring more crop modeling functionality to the system.
• track available soil water in the field using a soil map of the field, proprietary dynamic crop canopy and root growth models and local weather data
• create a high-resolution map showing the amount of water available to the crop across the entire field
• forecast the crop's future water needs and predict when and where, without added irrigation, the yield will begin to decline due to water stress. It can also calculate yield loss due to stress, which varies based on crop development stage.
• generate a variable-rate irrigation prescription, which can be updated to account for actual and forecasted weather
• integrate into FieldNet's remote monitoring and control program allowing growers to put their irrigation decisions in action, and monitor progress.
Essentially, this is a crop modeling tool that growers can use to do more than manage irrigation scheduling. Understanding actual crop stress in the field can help with irrigation scheduling — and water management, too. "You can use real-world data to make decisions with this system," Clayton explained. "And the dashboard gives you a view of all the pivots in your operation so you know what's happening on the farm."
Clayton explained that the capability of the FieldNet Advisor to help create irrigation plans gives growers more control over their operations, too.
NEW PIVOT CONTROL: The Pivot Control Lite offers a range of control and monitoring features and it works with any brand of electric pivot.
New 'lite' pivot control
Another addition to the Lindsay line for 2017 is the Pivot Control Lite, which offers enhanced control of any brand of electric pivot as well as remote monitoring capability. Clayton explained that the system doesn't offer remote start, but does offer a range of monitoring functions. "A lot of customers work without remote start, but they want more monitoring capability," he said.
The Pivot Control Lite unit, which is a lower-cost option versus the full Pivot Control system launched in 2016, is designed as an end-of-pivot mounted controller that delivers a range of advanced irrigation management capabilities, including the ability to:
• check the status of a pivot from anywhere via smartphone, tablet or computer
• receive alerts if a pivot's operational status changes
• remotely change the application depth, reverse or stop the pivot, control the end gun and run variable-rate plans
• use FieldNet Advisor in conjunction with the control
• consolidate different pivot brands onto one universal remote interface, so all pivots can be monitored and controlled through the same web portal
• easily transfer equipment from one pivot to another on leased or rotational land
• continue to use an in-field computerized, or mechanical, control panel, while remotely monitoring operation
The company also offers an option wire theft monitoring package, too.
Keeping things straight
Lateral irrigation systems are popular in different parts of the world, but keeping them aligned isn't always easy. Wire or trench systems have been standard, each with their own challenges. The industry has been moving toward using GPS as the guidance tool to keep laterals straight.
Lindsay is adding that tech to its Zimmatic 9500L system for precise and maintenance-free lateral tracking.
Christopher Higgins, Zimmatic product manager, explained that the system can provide consistent, sub-inch accuracy correction. He noted that though the company isn't first to market with the product, it is bringing some added features, including:
• dual-channel RTK for fast startup time and higher accuracy
• elimination of the need for maintaining guidance wires
• a single base station that can be shared by multiple 9500L systems within operational distance limits
• a simple retrofit that works on any existing Zimmatic 9500L system
Higgins explained that if there are problems with an existing wire-guided system, upgrading to RTK GPS guidance will cost about $20,000 for the system.
You can learn more about FieldNet Advisor, Pivot Control Lite and the new GPS system for the 9500L lateral system at zimmatic.com.