Pump Connect remote control feature could save a lot of steps, miles

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In a perfect world, every center pivot control panel would be located less than 50 feet from the irrigation well. Unfortunately, the well is usually in a corner of the field and the center pivot control panel, well, in the center. Valley Irrigation recently introduced Pump Connect, a tool that allows farmers to wirelessly control pumps from the pivot control panel. The feature also shuts the pump off automatically if something happens to the pivot. Valley’s Wade Sikkink explained in this interview at Sunbelt Ag Expo.

Valley Water Management was created last year to help Valley dealers in designing and building pump stations in support of center pivot development. “So our job really is to work with dealers as they work with their growers to put in new pivot installations to provide them the pumping solutions to support those,” says Sikkink, director of Valley Water Management, a division of the Valmont company Cascade Earth Sciences.

“That’s whether that’s pipeline design, evaluation of water sources, designing and building pumping systems or using variable frequency drives for energy savings, cost savings and water savings.”

Currently, a grower or farm worker may have to travel to the center pivot and start it and then to the pump site and start it. Pump Connect can eliminate some of those trips or expensive trench to install wires to the pump. In today's world, growers can start their pivots from hundreds of miles away using an app connected to their office computer and the base station controlling their pivots.

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 for any reason. “We had a grower this summer that had Pump Connect installed,” Sikkink said. “Their machine got stuck and shut down on safety about 1 in the morning. When the grower went out there about 8 the next morning, he saw that the pump had stopped, and he was very glad it had not been watering in place for about seven hours.”

Featuring a 900-mhz, frequency-hopping radio with one-watt output, Pump Connect can connect with up to 48 radios in a system. The Pump Connect radio searches for and connects to the strongest available signal to provide the best possible communication even in fields with obstructions or difficult terrain.

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.  

For more information on Pump Connect or Valley pumping solutions, contact your local Valley dealer or visit ValleyIrrigation.com.

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