Irrigation applications becoming more precise through Connected Farm

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One of farming’s time-honored traditions may be soon be going the way of the moldboard plow . Checking a rain gauge has long been part of the daily ritual for many growers, but that could be about to change due to Trimble’s recent acquisition of RainWave, LLC. RainWave, which is based in Auburn, Ala., provides rainfall information for selected locations on the farm through the farmer’s computer. Trimble’s Chris van der Loo discussed the acquisition and its implications in an interview at the Farm Progress Show.

Van der Loo spoke at a press brief in which Trimble announced it has acquired RainWave and Hydro-Engineering Solution LLC of Auburn along with a privately held company called IQ Irrigation, Christ Church, New Zealand. IQ Irrigation provides hardware and software solutions for controlling linear and pivot irrigation systems, enabling them to apply the right amount of water in the right place based on crop requirements.

For its part, RainWave provides precipitation monitoring services for agribusiness, construction and engineering, government and consumer industries. RainWave will be part of Trimble’s Connected Farm solution, which simplifies and integrates operations management by providing information exchange across the entire farm.

Using RainWave, farmers can set up a virtual rain gauge by entering GPS coordinates for identified locations to receive a rainfall report for those points. The computer capability means farmers will no longer need to monitor dispersed gauges or manually track precipitation for each field. Growers can access the information through the Connected Farm dashboard.

“Acquiring RainWave’s assets further strengthen the Connected Farm solution by adding a critical rainfall monitoring and reporting tool that’s easily accessible,” Joe Denniston, vice president of Trimble’s Agriculture Division, said in a news release. “Farmers will be able to view their fleet, field and rainfall data all in one location. In addition, with Hydro-Engineering we can now provide stronger watershed analysis to help farmers create better water management plans for their fields.”

“Trimble’s acquisition of RainWave and Hydro-Engineering is ideal because it bring a cutting-edge technology to an established customer base that’s in need of vital data,” said John Curry, founder and chief technology officer for RainWave and president of Hydro-Engineering Solutions. “Our hydrology and hydraulics expertise will deepen Trimble’s water management skill set, while our rainfall technology provides Trimble’s customers with a monitoring solution.”

IQ Irrigation’s GPS-controlled system controls individual nozzles on most irrigator makes and models and can be operated remotely with an Internet application that can be run from a computer or mobile device. Options range from straightforward control of the irrigation system to creation of no spray or variable spray areas or complex irrigation system controls with variable watering patterns and liquid manure dispersal capability.

“Trimble’s brand-agnostic strategy complements that of IQ Irrigation as our solution works with most irrigation system makes and models,” says Neil Douglas, general manager for IQ Irrigation. “Through this asset acquisition, we will be able to leverage Trimble’s extensive network of resellers and customer relationships to place tis valuable tool in the hands of more farmer.”

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