iCropTrak Makes WagNet Irrigation & Field Data Mobile

AgSense PressiCropTrak Mobile Farm Management announces support for Agsense WagNet network for pivot irrigation and soil sensor monitoring. iCroptrak automatically integrates the WagNet water and soil sensor data with your farming data to help farmers make better decisions and monitoring your irrigation efforts painless.

With water restrictions and sustainable farming playing an ever-growing role in farming, iCropTrak integrated one of the leading irrigation monitoring applications to automatically populate irrigation efforts and allows them to be reviewed easily with your other field data.

iCropTrak cloud talks directly with WagNet network to capture a farmer’s pivot and soil moisture sensor probe data. Formatting the WagNet data to be loaded onto the iCropTrak mobile platform for access while in the field. Allowing the farmer to combine soil, farming, harvest, weather, zone, and irrigation data together to make informed decision.

To learn more about iCropTrak mobile farm management capabilities including automated data entry support for MyJohnDeere.com and Weather Underground data feeds by visiting our website at www.iCropTrak.com and contact our sales team at Contact@Cogent3D.com.

Valley Irrigation Offers Soil Moisture Monitoring

valleyValley® Irrigation is putting the latest soil moisture monitoring technology into the hands of growers with Valley SoilPro™ 1200, powered by AquaSpy™.

SoilPro 1200 delivers the most detailed soil moisture data in an easy-to-understand format. With just a few clicks, growers can see the depth of their crop root zone, soil moisture levels by depth, soil electrical conductivity, temperature, and water penetration from rainfall and irrigation. This real-time data give growers the information they need to make smarter decisions and irrigate more efficiently.

Nebraska grower Tim Schmeeckle said SoilPro 1200 is an important link in learning how to grow more corn with less water, which is a key aspect in farming right now.

“I use it just like a fuel gauge in a car,” Schmeeckle said. “If SoilPro tells me the field is three-fourths full, I can wait another day to water. Or, if the numbers are low, I know I need to keep watering. Basically, it takes the guesswork out of irrigating. You monitor what you’re putting on and what the corn is using. It’s just a great tool.”

SoilPro 1200 has 12 sensors at 4-inch increments that communicate with crop roots and collect in-depth data from the soil about how much water the crop needs and how much it has used, according to Valley Product Manager Cole Fredrick.

The information gathered by the sensors is analyzed and converted into simple, straight-forward reports and recommendations delivered to growers via computer, tablet, or cell phone.

“The user interface is what really makes our product stand out,” Fredrick said. “The interface is extremely user friendly and easy to navigate. It allows growers to easily see when and where water is needed to maximize yields and use water to its fullest potential.”

SoilPro 1200 allows growers to become more efficient in their watering practices, and that efficiency allows them save money and grow a more productive crop, Fredrick said.

Meet Hortau Precision Irrigation

classic14-hortauHortau Simplified Irrigation was one of the more than 300 companies exhibiting at the recent record-setting Commodity Classic, and one of quite a few first timers.

They stood out from the crowd for us at Classic when @Hortau sent a tweet to @Agriblogger asking him to come by and do an interview. Dropping by the booth at the end of the first day of the show, I met and interviewed CEO Jocelyn Boudreau and Regional Sales Manager Doug Larson.

Jocelyn told me the company was started in 2002, “with the idea of optimizing water usage on farm, taking a plant-centric approach to use water to grow a healthier crop, boost yields and give water the same level of attention and precision as we do with fertilizers and plant genetics.”

Doug says they were very pleased with their first year at Classic. “This is really our audience,” he said. “We work the high plains region of the country, so most of our growers are corn or soybean growers.”

Find out more about Hortau here: Interview with Jocelyn Boudreau and Doug Larson, Hortau Irrigation

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Coverage is sponsored by John Deere

MyAgCentral Offering End-to-End Irrigation Solution

myagcentralProducers will now be able to monitor variable rate irrigation (VRI) remotely from their computer, tablet or smartphone. MyAgCentral is now offering the second of its new end-to-end solutions for agriculture, giving growers a simple and affordable way to leverage VRI through the MyAgCentral dashboard.

DN2K [parent company of MyAgCentral] partners with Precision Cropping Technologies (PCT) as a VRI prescription provider, AgSense as a supplier of irrigation telematics solutions, and Prime Meridian as a MyAgCentral service provider, to deliver this fully integrated VRI workflow solution. MyAgCentral’s online service makes it easy for growers and irrigation providers to order VRI agronomic related services and deliver irrigation prescriptions to pivots in the field.

The VRI solution, delivered through the MyAgCentral dashboard, allows agronomic service providers to easily upload the soil electroconductivity and topographical data necessary for processing through PCT’s industry leading VRI software solution. Customized prescriptions optimizing water and power resources for specific fields and crops are delivered seamlessly back to the grower’s MyAgCentral account. Without leaving their MyAgCentral dashboard, growers and service providers can push VRI prescriptions to any AgSense telematic equipped center-pivot. PCT’s VRI prescriptions can also be ordered through MyAgCentral for many other OEM and third party centerpivot telematic systems.

“This end-to-end VRI management solution connects all the dots and brings together the people needed to support growers through the entire VRI process,” said Susan Lambert, CEO of DN2K. “Growers can now take full advantage of VRI, optimizing inputs and increasing yields whether they’re in their office or mobile.”

Partner companies in this venture say this will give farmers better access to the right prescriptions in irrigation operations.

MapShots Integrates Irrigation into Precision Ag

mapshots-14-andrew-willisDuring the recent MapShots Customer Conference in Atlanta, Ga., one of MapShots’ partners said sometimes it feels like irrigation gets left out of the equation for precision agriculture. But that’s why Andrew Willis with AgSense, a company specializing in remote management of pivots, is so glad they have partnered up with MapShots and the company’s AgStudio software.

“In the past, irrigation has been kind of neglected and left out of the precision ag world, and MapShots has been one that realized there’s some potential there and has really worked with us,” he told Chuck. Andrew added they are particularly happy with how MapShots is able to work with their main pivot product, Field Commander. Plus MapShots is able to give them information in their soil moisture and crop measuring products. “Anything you want to get from the field to a web server, we have a product to fit that application,” adding they are still developing all the particulars, but for now, the best way to get that information into AgStudio is by using AgSense’s WagNet, or Wireless Agriculture Network.

He said a customer conference like this one gives them a chance to hear some questions and consider some problems that might never have struck them before.

“A lot of forward thinkers here. You feel like you’re hitting everything, and then someone throws out a curveball, and [we say], ‘We didn’t even think of that!’”

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Andrew here: Interview with Andrew Willis with AgSense

You can find Chuck’s photos from the event online here: 2014 MapShots Customer Conference Photo Album

USDA Surveys On-Farm Irrigation Practices

FRISU.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is conducting the national Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey. Farmers, ranchers and horticulture producers across the country will begin receiving the survey today in the mail asking them to provide information about their water use and irrigation practices, with responses due by February 10.

“Water is arguably the most important resource for agriculture and horticulture industries,” said NASS’ Census Planning Branch Chief Chris Messer. “The Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey will gauge farmers’ and ranchers’ stewardship of this precious resource and identify opportunities for new technologies.”

NASS traditionally conducts the irrigation survey following each Census of Agriculture. Only those producers who indicated in the 2012 Census of Agriculture that they irrigate are eligible for sampling. The results of the survey help in the development of improved technology, better equipment and more efficient water use practices.

The survey is conducted as part of the Census of Agriculture program, and just as with the 2012 Census, the responses are mandatory under U.S. law. The same law also ensures that NASS will maintain all individual responses completely confidential.

“We take confidentiality extremely seriously at NASS and only publish data in aggregate form,” added Messer. “This approach helps us guarantee that no individual operation or producer can be identified in the report.”

For more information about the Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey, call (888) 424-7828 or visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.

Valley Offers New Cable Theft Deterrent Product

valleyValley Irrigation, the leader in precision irrigation, is adding the innovative Proof Positive Span Cable to its extensive line of cable theft deterrent products.

Copper theft is a global epidemic, and agricultural irrigation equipment is particularly vulnerable to copper theft. Thieves can grab long spans of cable from unattended center pivots and escape undetected among acres of crops. Stolen span cable immediately cuts power to the pivot, stopping irrigation and potentially ruining crops. Repairs can cost thousands of dollars, and repeated incidents can jeopardize insurance coverage.

One of the biggest challenges in stopping the epidemic of copper cable theft is proving rightful ownership so thieves can be prosecuted. Proof Positive Span Cable, manufactured by Southwire Company and sold through Paige Electric Co, is a traceable, theft-deterrent span cable that provides proof of ownership. Valley is the only center pivot irrigation manufacturer offering Proof Positive Span Cable through its dealer network.

A bright yellow outer jacket alerts recyclers – and thieves – that this is traceable cable. Recyclers can instantly identify stolen cable and verify ownership in seconds at www.2idcu.com.

UF/IFAS Irrigation Apps

main-logoThe University of Florida has released three smart device apps of interest to those in the irrigation business, and for the time being, users can download them for free.

The first three apps to be released were designed for citrus, strawberry and urban turfgrass irrigators, said Kati Migliaccio, an associate professor in agricultural and biological engineering, based at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Fla.

The apps give real-time information to users, relying on constantly updated data from the Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN) and the Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network.

Each of the three apps is tailored to a crop – for instance, the strawberry app is based on drip irrigation, the citrus app works for micro-sprinkler systems and the urban turfgrass app gives guidance for five types of sprinklers.

The app is designed for use with manual or time-based irrigation systems, users download the app, plug in their individual details, such as location, root depth and irrigation zones, and the app uses that input and site-specific weather data to create an irrigation schedule.

Valley Irrigation Product Connects Pumps to Pivots

valleyValley Irrigation, the leader in precision irrigation, announces the addition of Pump Connect to its Valley Water Management product line, giving farmers a new way to automate the pumps that supply water to irrigation equipment.

Pump Connect allows growers to wirelessly control pumps from the center pivot control panel, eliminating time-consuming trips to pump sites or expensive trenching to install wires. When the pivot calls for “Water On,” Pump Connect sends a radio signal to start the pump and get the water flowing, and it stops the pump if the pivot shuts off.

Featuring a 900 mhz, frequency-hopping radio with one watt output, Pump Connect gives growers optimal connectivity. The radio searches for and connects to the strongest available signal to provide the best possible communication even in fields with obstructions or difficult terrain. Pump Connect also offers broad capability for connecting multiple devices—up to 48 radios in one setup. In addition to a one pump to one pivot connection, multiple pivots can be connected to one pump, or one pivot can be connected to multiple pumps.

Syngenta Provides Integrated Crop Solutions

syngentaSyngenta and Lindsay Corporation formally announced a collaborative agreement to provide corn farmers with a more efficient way to grow and manage irrigated corn acres. This collaboration will provide farmers with access to a proven combination of best-in-class products, technology, expertise, analysis, automation and service. The two companies have been working in recent years to develop projects and will deliver an entire agronomic system in one easy solution.

If the past two seasons are any indication—with both drought then excess rain—water will remain unpredictable. During the next 15 years, nearly 40 percent of the global population will be experiencing severe water limitations, and a typical U.S. corn grower will face water issues in two to three out of every five years. One of the major issues on irrigated acres is making the best use of available water, and the Syngenta and Lindsay initiative brings together a comprehensive approach that allows water to be most efficiently used in irrigated programs.

“Syngenta realizes that it’s time to rethink water. Water is the lifeblood of agriculture and one of the most critical elements in growing a corn crop,” said David Morgan, North America regional director for Syngenta. “Although weather and water are variable, corn growers can mitigate risk and achieve higher yield potential in water-stressed situations through a combination of technologies, products and services. We are pleased to be working with Lindsay, a leading provider of irrigation technology and water management systems, to deliver a complete platform custom-designed to help farmers grow more corn with less water.”

Barry Ruffalo, President, Irrigation at Lindsay Corporation said the collaborative agreement will enable Lindsay and Syngenta to integrate industry-leading offerings to provide farmers with unprecedented control over their irrigated corn acres.

“Our approach will include helping growers identify the most critical limiting variables and putting a program in place to better measure, analyze, track and predict their impact in real time,” Ruffalo said. “Integrating the Growsmart soil and weather sensors into the FieldNET monitoring and control platform creates a simple plug-and-play solution that is easy to use, yet very powerful. We look forward to working with Syngenta to help farmers save time, manage their irrigated acres more efficiently and improve their return on investment potential.”

Chemigation Looks Back On 30 Years

agij_anniv_logoGary Newton remembers the very moment the concept of chemigation came to him.

“In 1969, I was swathing some hay next to one of my sprinklers I had just installed. I looked back and saw the sprinkler covering the entire field with just one pass,” he said. “I thought that had to be better than making multiple passes across the field to apply fertilizer or crop protection products.”

That epiphany eventually led to the official establishment of Agri-Inject, Inc. in 1983. Thirty years later, Agri-Inject continues to define and refine the concept of fluid injection technology—helping growers around the world improve efficiency and effectiveness of crop inputs by applying them through irrigation systems.

Today, Agri-Inject is on the cutting edge of fluid injection technology and accuracy, bringing precision agriculture to pivot irrigation.

The Agri-Inject line-up includes a wide variety of systems for application of insecticides, fertilizer, herbicides and fungicides. There are large capacity systems that can apply soil amendments across an entire field. The new BoundaryRider targets the perimeter of a field to prevent pest infestations. New variable rate Agri-Inject systems are being introduced that are aligned with precision technology rapidly being adopted and enhanced in irrigation and crop management.

Energy-Efficient Agricultural Irrigation

AgGateway_LogoAgGateway and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) are co-sponsoring the launch of a cross-industry collaboration project that will help growers better manage water and energy use by integrating weather, soil moisture, soil type, crop and other relevant data coming from a wide range of hardware and software programs. The Precision Agriculture Irrigation Leadership (PAIL) Project will improve agriculture irrigation by developing a common set of data standards and formats to convert data for use in irrigation data analysis and prescription programs.

The objective of this project is have a common set of data standards and protocols used across the agriculture industry. With those in place, industry can deliver much more efficient, easy-to-use solutions for producers, which in turn will help them use available water and energy more effectively.

Producers and manufacturers currently report that it is difficult and time-consuming to make decisions on how much water to apply when and where. That’s because weather, soil moisture and other relevant data are stored in a variety of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) formats and data sources.

Seventeen companies have already committed to participate, including Ag Connections, Agrian, AgSense, Campbell Scientific, CropMetrics, Crop IMS, Decagon Devices, Irrometer, Irrinet, John Deere, J.R. Simplot, MapShots, Monsanto, OnFarm Systems, Ranch Systems, Wysocki Produce Farms, Inc., and ZedX.

The first working session of the group took place last month; the goal is to have a draft set of data standards by AgGateway’s Annual Meeting in November, and to be able to run tests during spring plantings in 2014.

Valley Introduces New QuickStart Prescription

VRIValley Irrigation, the leader in precision irrigation, introduces the addition of QuickStart (QS) prescription writing to its Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) product, allowing growers to customize their water application throughout their field.

The Valley VRI Agronomy Team develops the one-time, custom QS prescription based on soil maps, aerial imagery, yield data and other relevant information about the field provided by the grower. When this information is provided with new orders, the QS prescription is preloaded in new Valley Select2 and Pro2 control panels. QS prescriptions are also available to growers with existing center pivots wanting to utilize Variable Rate Irrigation through panel upgrades and by using TrackNET and BaseStation2™ products.

Along with their field-specific, custom prescription, growers will also receive a copy of the Valley VRI Prescription Software. With this program, growers have the ability to modify and generate their own prescriptions as field conditions and crop requirements change. In addition, they can work with other precision ag companies to further enhance their VRI Prescriptions.

See How Propane Pays on the Farm

propane-farmThe Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is revving up the 2013 Commodity Classic trade show in Orlando this week with powerful irrigation engines that can help producers save money, meet their emissions reduction goals, and become less dependent on imported oil.

PERC will display new propane-fueled engines for irrigation and register producers for more than $4,000 in propane equipment incentives through the Propane Farm Incentive Program. Producers visiting PERC at booth 938 during the trade show can also participate in PERC’s “Land the Grand” promotion for a chance to win $1,000 or a new propane gas grill.

New research shows that propane-fueled irrigation engines cost up to 14 percent less to purchase and operate than diesel models. Propane fuel burns cleaner and more efficiently than traditional fuels, decreasing deposits on engine components and reducing toxic greenhouse gas emissions by up to 24 percent compared with diesel.

Farmers interested in powerful and efficient new propane-fueled irrigation engines can check out the Ford 6.8-liter industrial propane engine from Engine Distributors Inc. at the booth and apply for an incentive to purchase one.

The Propane Farm Incentive Program, sponsored by PERC, lowers the initial cost of purchasing a new EPA-certified propane-fueled irrigation engine, offering producers a $400 incentive per liter of engine displacement up to 10.3 liters, or $4,120. As part of the research and demonstration initiative, eligible farmers report on performance data for at least one season. Feedback from the program helps inform future product development.

On-Farm Irrigation Advances for Producers

Texas Project for Ag Water EfficiencyJoin the Texas Project for Ag Water Efficiency outside of Harlingen, Texas for a one-day workshop on ON-FARM IRRIGATION.

This workshop will focus on low or no cost irrigation techniques and technologies to improve yields and boost net farm income.

Presenters from Texas AWE, Texas AgriLife, and NRCS will cover topics including irrigation scheduling, water use efficiency, soil water sensors, and more.