All soil types are not created equal when it comes to productive potential or water-holding capacity. Recent advances in technology are making it possible for growers to vary the rate of irrigation water coming out of their center pivots to fit the productive potential of different parts of their fields. Valley’s Cole Fredrick discussed how his company is approaching variable rate irrigation or VRI in this interview at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill.
Fredrick says Valley pivots have had the capability of varying the rates of water being applied in fields for some time. But farmers generally didn’t have a road map for showing them where to vary application rates. With its new QuickStart technology, farmers can supply soil maps to Valley, and an in-house agronomist will provide a prescription that can be programmed into the control panel of each center pivot.
Valley offers two options for farmers wanting to move to VRI. They can use a more generalized approach which divides the field into application zones or they can use a grid-based system that allows them to vary the amount of water they apply in up to 5,000 plots in a field.
Dealers can also work with local agronomists to provide the soils data needed to map out the prescription for water or for fertigation if a grower is applying nutrients through the pivot.