Kurt Dunker is a long-time grower in North Bend, NE. Annually, he produces both corn and soybeans on his 2,000 acres and, as several other growers located in the Midwest, utilizes irrigation in his operations. For years, this has meant using irrigation equipment supplied by Valley Irrigation, located in the nearby city of Valley.
“Some of the pivots in my fields are older than I am,” says Dunker. “Valley Irrigation has been a part of my farm for as long as I can remember.”
Yet, this presented something of a problem for Dunker recently. Besides irrigation, Dunker’s farm has also been a long-time supporter of precision agriculture, using yield monitors on his equipment since the mid-1990s. During the late 2000s, Dunker started using RTK guidance supplied by Trimble, Westminster, CO.
Looking For Compatibility
For a few years, Dunker operated his irrigation equipment and Trimble system separately. However, in 2010, Dunker began using corner arm pivots on his farm, which are traditionally controlled using a buried ground wire. Valley Irrigation offered an alternative to a wire, its corner arm units could be controlled using John Deere‘s StarFire GPS system.
But Dunker didn’t want to give up his Trimble system in the process of making the switch. “We have had really good luck with Trimble, and once you start with a GPS company, you don’t want to switch,” he says.
Luckily, Valley Irrigation supplied Dunker with a solution, making its corner arm units compatible with Trimble’s systems. “Being compatible with both John Deere GPS and Trimble GPS base stations means even more growers can take advantage of the Valley GPS guidance for their irrigation equipment,” says Scott Mauseth, Valley Irrigation advanced technology product manager. “What we’re seeing lately is the desire to get every acre into irrigated production. In some fields, using the conventional buried wire is just not possible due to sub-surface rock, drain tile, underground pipelines, etc. Valley GPS Guidance solves all of these issues.”
For Dunker’s farm, the timing of this development couldn’t have come at a better time. He says the compatibility with Trimble GPS base stations will make conversions from buried wire to Valley GPS Guidance easier, as it doesn’t require the same labor and maintenance as buried wires. Dunker says another advantage is that he can install a corner machine on rented ground without the commitment of a buried wire.
Today, Dunker is happily adjusting to life on his farm where his favorite GPS system can communicate with his irrigation equipment. “We’re eager to use the Valley RTK GPS Guidance with Trimble this year on a new machine with a corner arm,” he says. “And we’re considering future installation on existing irrigation equipment.”