Valley to offer variable rate irrigation

Valley Irrigation, a technology leader in precision irrigation, announces a new agreement with Computronics Holdings Ltd., manufacturer of the patented Farmscan Variable Rate Irrigation technology.

This agreement allows for the development and distribution of variable rate irrigation (VRI) controls through over 460 Valley dealers worldwide, thus providing the latest technology in precision irrigation with center pivots.

“Computronics Holdings Ltd. has an impressive history with VRI controls,” said Jake LaRue, Valley Product Manager. “They began working with the University of Georgia in 1999 to commercialize VRI controls. This led to the introduction of the first Farmscan VRI control in 2001, but through a limited distribution channel. This agreement between Valley Irrigation and Computronics Holdings Ltd. will provide increased distribution through the Valley dealer network. It also allows Valley to use its own patented and proprietary technology to further enhance the capabilities of future VRI products.”

“We believe that combining Valley technology with Farmscan technology could be the next quantum leap forward in mechanized irrigation,” said LaRue. “Producers with pivot irrigation have always been able to control how much water is applied to a field. But this technology allows producers to control how much water, fertilizer and other crop management products are applied to areas as small as one square meter.”

LaRue explained this by discussing two key benefits of the VRI controls.

“First, producers can use this control to program the pivot to automatically turn water on and off for different zones within a circle. For example, water applied over a drainage ditch is wasted water,” LaRue explained. “With VRI, producers can make sure the pivot automatically shuts off different zones as it goes over a drainage ditch, and automatically turns back on when it reaches the crop.”

The second benefit of VRI allows producers to apply different amounts of water and crop inputs on a site-specific basis. LaRue explained why such precision is important.

“Not all sections of a field have the same soil. Some soil types in a field may have different water and fertilizer needs than the rest of the field,” said LaRue. “Without VRI, a producer might apply water and other inputs to maximize yield on one type of soil, which ultimately compromises yield on any other soil type in the same field. With VRI, a producer can program irrigation areas as small as one square meter, thereby maximizing yields on all soil types within the same field.

Rick Heard, president and founder, Advanced Ag Systems, Inc., has been working with Computronics Holdings Ltd. and the University of Georgia in varying capacities for more than eight years to make Farmscan VRI controls available to a broad producer market. He expanded on LaRue’s commentary about variances within the same field.

“Not only do the different soil types require varying amounts of water and fertilizer, but so do different seed populations,” Heard said. “And with the high tech equipment available today, producers increasingly incorporate variable rate planting. This means there can be multiple types of seed and population within the same field, and these will have different water and nutrient requirements. VRI allows producers to match the water and fertilizer application with varying soil and seed within the same field.”

“What it comes down to is not wasting water,” Heard concluded.

The Farmscan VRI products are compatible with all Valley control panels. Producers can learn more about the Valley and Farmscan VRI offerings by visiting http://www.ValleyIrrigation.com.

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