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Improved sprinkler efficiency could help combat drought in California

Drought has become the No. 1 topic of conversation in California, and this year’s World Ag Expo certainly was no exception to that rule.

Shane Shiplet, territory manager for California for Valley, says he and his coworkers spent much of their time at this year’s event answering questions about how center pivot irrigation systems could help farmers who have relied on furrow watering for years.

“We have a dealer network throughout the United States and here in California that are trained in going out and designing these machines to fit your field, to put the correct sprinkler package on it to fit the soil type and the crop your growing,” said Shiplet.

“They can design a system that is up to 95 percent efficient, which is pretty good,” said Shiplet, who spoke to Farm Press editors during a break at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif.

Shiplet also talked about the new Valley SoilPro 1200, a new integrated soil probe system that gives growers real time information about the soil moisture conditions in their soils at four-inch intervals down to a depth of four feet.

The sensors measure moisture, temperature and soil electrical conductivity every 15 minutes. Collected data is analyzed, converted into irrigation scheduling recommendations and delivered to a website subscribers can access from anywhere using a computer smartphone or tablet.

“Growers can also control their systems from those same types of devices no matter the time day or night or wherever they might,” said Shiplet. “The devices can also be used to monitor where the systems are, whether they’re running and how much water they’re applying.”

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