Most growers have, at one time or another, faced a water shortage. Perhaps it was from a drought, a temporary pump issue, loss of access to a shared water source or any number of other reasons. But today, the latest advancements in precision irrigation and technology can help growers overcome these challenges.
In fact, efficient irrigation solutions like our FieldNET™ remote irrigation management technology can help you get the most out of every drop of water that’s available—whether there’s a shortage or not.
But how does it do this? Let’s break it down!
How automated irrigation and scheduling helps you overcoming water scarcity
Pivots are the ideal irrigation solution in times of scarcity because of their efficiency and precision, but they can be made even more effective through careful automation and scheduling. For example, our FieldNET platform combined with FieldNET Advisor™ allows you to manage, control and even analyze your irrigation operation from the palm of your hand—which means greater peace of mind and performance.
Here are several strategies you can implement with the help of FieldNET during times of water scarcity:
- Identify your water usage habits
With FieldNET, you can track your historical irrigation practices and generate reports. This gives you a clear idea of how much you’re irrigating and where, at any given time.
- Implement smart monitoring and metering
FieldNET monitoring solutions help you get the most out of your water by giving you constant visibility into how your irrigation system is performing—even when running errands or out with the family.
FieldNET-ready digital flow meters give you even greater insight into how much water is flowing. And, with them, FieldNET can even alert you of potential issues, like a drop in cubic meters per minute, to alleviate some of the stress that comes with water management and to boost efficiency—something grower Jacob Andersen experienced firsthand.
- Optimize existing water supply by using advanced controllers
While flow metering is one way to manage water more effectively, control panels are another. Advanced controllers allow you take complete command of your pivot irrigation operation, turning on and off irrigation at scheduled intervals or based on a programmed schedule.
In fact, Zimmatic advanced control panels come FieldNET-ready and are super intuitive to make managing your controllers—and your entire operation—easier and more convenient than ever before.
- Real-time monitoring and control
A key feature of FieldNET is the ability to, at a moment’s notice, access data on how each of your pivots is performing in real-time. As mentioned above, that includes how much water the pivots are using, as well as current position, status, direction and speed. Not only can this help you pinpoint performance issues—and therefore potential crop damage—earlier, but it can also help you save time from needing to manually check every pivot.
Another feature that can be a real game-changer is You can take what you learn from monitoring in real-time and implement those changes right away. For example, switching off pivots instantly when it starts raining.
- Integrate weather data and predictive analytics
If you want to do more than track data, FieldNET Advisor is here for you. It uses current and historical field data, cloud-computing capabilities, machine learning, and more than 40 years of crop and irrigation research to provide daily, field-specific irrigation recommendations. It also incorporates weather forecasts (all the way down to individual fields) to determine when rainfall is likely.
Zimmatic VRI™ (variable rate integration) is another solution that can be fully integrated with FieldNET and work in conjunction with FieldNET Advisor to create tailored irrigation prescriptions or plans—customized down to the individual sprinkler level. With VRI, every sprinkler will spray exactly the amount of water necessary, no more, no less. With that level of control, getting through water shortages becomes a whole lot easier.
Of course, Zimmatic VRI is only the start. As the industry embraces more AI-based solutions, your irrigation system will be even better-positioned to predict your needs and plan out irrigation choices.
- Manage water pressure
System pressure is critical to efficient use of water. Lindsay’s Bruno Perroni points this out by saying: “If the pressure is too low, the sprinklers and pressure regulators will not operate correctly, leading to uneven application rates. If the pressure is too high, it’s wasting energy.” With FieldNET, you can monitor pressure and flow at all times, managing your pressure to ensure you never use too little, or too much, water. All without any trips to check gauges in the field.
- Utilize leak detection and repair systems
Even a tiny leak can exacerbate a water shortage. Gauges on your pivots can tell you when pressure is low—or you can rely on FieldNET, which sends alerts if pressure drops unexpectedly which could indicate a leak. That way you (or your local Zimmatic dealer) can make any necessary repairs or conduct maintenance sooner than later.
Weather is unpredictable. While some growers have endured especially tough drought conditions in recent years, others have seen record monsoon seasons. Whatever the weather, one thing remains constant: growers have to be prepared for anything. Monitoring flow and moisture, irrigating at the right times and gaining remote control over pivots when necessary are all crucial to getting more yield with less water—and Zimmatic equipment and FieldNET technology are available to help your operation do just that.
To learn more about how our irrigation solutions can help you through dry times, reach out to your nearest Zimmatic dealer.