ALTHOUGH we couldn’t make it out to Grand Island, NE, after a loaded August travel month for both PrecisionAg.com and CropLife, we heard through the grapevine (ie. PR pitch) that Lindsay Corp., the makers of Zimmatic irrigation systems, had a lot going on at 2014 Husker Harvest Days.
Naturally we followed up with Dirk Lenie, Lindsay VP of global marketing, after the show to find out some of the news we missed.
One of the top new items shown at Husker Harvest was Lindsay’s Growsmart MULTI-CONTROL wireless controller that, when combined with FieldNET, a wireless irrigation management system now available for mobile phone or tablet, captured a 2014 World Ag Expo Top Ten New Product award recently.
According to Lenie, the system handles remote monitoring and control of pivots, laterals, drip and multi-drip irrigation, as well as orchard spray systems, from virtually any location on Earth, all for an annual subscription fee. Additionally, the system allows users to set up automated text alerting capabilities, a feature that potentially could save a grower or consultant loads of time and money instead of physically monitoring pivots.
The system also allows a grower to assign differing levels of monitoring and pivot control to different parties, such as the local agronomist he is working with, so that the pivots have another set of eyes on them.
And it comes with a pretty sweet hidden benefit as well.
“From what we’ve heard thus far, and maybe this is something not a lot of guys think about, but the wives really love it (FieldNET) because more guys can take a vacation now, instead of always having to be around to monitor pivots,” Lenie says. “It can really free up a lot of time for growers.”
Another new item shown by Lindsay was a new Magnetic Flow Meter. With the Nebraska Natural Resources Department (NRD) and many local water districts now requiring irrigated growers install flow meters, Lenie claims Lindsay’s magnetic design is superior to the traditional metal or resin propeller-based design of other meters.
“Our meter has nothing in the stream – the water just flows straight through it,” he says. “With a propeller flow meter, any experienced grower knows these things break, they rust, etc., and our design is just more precise (Lenie cites independent research verified by the International Center for Water Technology [ICWT]).”
He also claims the new meter has a larger battery pack versus its competitors, so growers won’t have to charge the Lindsay system as often.
Linsday also announced a new offering from its Zimmatic brand, the NFTrax airless pivot wheel assembly kit, which Lenie says has had “a lot of success” so far.
By providing an overall longer wheel life, eliminating the need to monitor tire PSI and removing the possibility of annoying flat tires, the system helps growers be more efficient.
“Growers really see this as a time-saving thing, and if you’ve ever had to go out into the field mid-season into six foot high corn and change a flat pivot wheel, than you know exactly what I’m talking about there,” says Lenie.
Less rutting is a key benefit of the airless wheel assemblies, according to Lenie.
“It’s really interesting the way it creates its track – and it’s not as deep a track – so there’s less rutting, meaning less of a chance that a pivot gets stuck,” he says. “If your pivots get stuck, you’re wasting water and over-applying.”
Lenie says the tire features a more-rigid, vulcanized rubber track with ten drive points that apply pressure to a greater area than the typical pivot tire.
And last but certainly not least, Lindsay detailed the latest with its two-year-old The Water+ Program partnership with Syngenta Seed, which is aimed at increasing water efficiency via a combination of Lindsay irrigation technologies and Syngenta’s Agrisure Artesian water-optimized hybrids.
The program, according to Lenie, aims to grow more corn with less water and, more specifically, reduce overall water usage in corn production by 25 percent in 2015.
Currently, the two companies are working together on a number of field research trials, and, with what we’ve seen lately regarding water in ag, these types of cross-industry partnerships are only likely to increase in number.