What is in this article?:
- Sunbelt Expo looks to improve irrigation efficiency, technology
- Shows latest technology
- On-site weather monitor
• The 600-acre research farm — a feature of the Sunbelt Expo’s summer field day and the main show in October — has a reputation for being a reliable proving ground for new crop hybrids and various biotechnology and precision ag products and methods. Recent improvements in irrigation capabilities will only enhance that reputation, says Expo Farm Manager Michael Chafin.
SUNBELT EXPO FARM Manager Michael Chafin is shown with a cotton/cucurbit field trial from this past spring. Chafin says updated irrigation capabilities are enhancing research results at the farm in Moultrie, Ga.
Shows latest technology
In addition to taking the irrigation variable our of research projects, updated systems and equipment also give farmers an idea of the latest technology that’s available to them.
The Expo’s newest center pivot replaces an older three-tower model currently located on the farm and will provide better reliability, water application uniformity, and efficiency, says Chafin.
It features the Reinke RPM Touch Screen Panel technology and will integrate with the existing computer-based telemetry system and Internet-based remote control package.
“This is a Windows-based operating system, running in a Windows CE environment,” says Mills.
“By using the Windows system, we can program the center pivot control panel to do many things. We monitor the operation of the center pivot, and we log and record every activity that occurs. We can see historical operation and when things happen and use it for trouble-shooting as well as for planning and water management.”
The center pivot control panel also is connected to the End-of-System GPS, says Mills. “It monitors the machine’s location in the field. We can program the computer panel to automatically adjust operations on the machine by location in the field. We can speed it up, slow it down, and start or stop any ancillary devices that might be connected such as fertilizer pumps.”
Water application, he says, can be controlled by location based on crop and soil type. Water also can be shut off in non-crop areas.
“At the Expo, we have linked all of the Reinke center pivots with the electric pumping unit that supplies water to the research farm. Anytime that pivot starts, it automatically starts the pump, which eliminates the need for the farm manager to start the pump, bring up the pressure, and then go start the pivot,” says Mills.
A pressure monitor on the pivot determines when the pivot begins to move. “Should that pivot stop for any reason, it will automatically stop the well. By doing that, we’ve eliminated the risk of a parked pivot that will just sit in the field and flood until someone notices the pivot isn’t moving.”
Also, the Expo farm manager’s office is equipped with a PC and software package that monitors all of the center pivots.
“Every screen in the field is also visible from the PC in the manager’s office. We can change programming, stop machines, start machines, look at historical applications. It eliminates the need for the grower to go from field to field and manually input data.
“That telemetry system goes back and forth. And, Reinke can trouble-shoot a system from our service center in Nebraska,” says Mills.