Farmers new to irrigation systems soon learn how beneficial their center pivot can be. But they also soon learn they can be demanding task managers if something happens to the system in the middle of the night. Reinke is introducing new technology that will help producers gain more control over their irrigation systems and eventually allow the pivot to communicate with other systems on the farm. Reinke’s Mike Mills explained in this interview at Sunbelt Ag Expo.
Mills, Southeast territory manager for Reinke, says that as farms grow larger and more technologically advanced, the same is occurring in irrigation. Reinke can now create a network of computerized control panels that allow the center pivots and growers to "talk to each other" and provide operators with up-to-date information on the status of the system components.
"Using a computerized panel like this will allow the grower to have a tremendous amount of control and operation over his center pivot," says Mills. "This panel is connected by radio signal to a computer that is located in the farm manager's office. From this position, the farm manager can monitor everything that's going on with this pivot as well as every other pivot on the network."
The computer will also send text messages out to notify the farmer manager of what's happening with his center pivots, when they start, when they stop, if there's a failure. He or she can also do remote control, remote monitoring, remote operation on those center pivots from his cell phone and do remote programming from that computer in his office. The panels can also be connected wirelessly to irrigation wells so that when the pivots is started, it will send a signal to the irrigation pump, telling it to turn on and pressurize the system.
There are limits as to the number of units and the distance between units that can be connected. But Reinke can also use individual control panels as repeaters and connect the grower's pivots over longer distances. "Some pivots are carrying signals from as far as 150 miles," says Mills.