To meet the growing global demand for food, fuel and fibre, farmers must produce more with less, says Adam Olivier, FieldNET service manager for Lindsay Africa.“Technology makes it easier for farmers to do that – it’s an important tool for improving efficiency and productivity.” One such technology is FieldNET® by Lindsay – a fully integrated wireless
management tool giving farmers the ability to monitor and control their irrigation systems from virtually anywhere via a laptop, tablet or smartphone.
When FieldNET is integrated into an irrigation system, the following can be monitored and controlled:
- Pivots and laterals: Full control and monitoring.
- Pumps: Full control and monitoring.
- VRI: Create basic variable rate irrigation plans for each field.
- Status: Receive real-time system updates regarding run status, pressure, flow, water level, power and more for higher efficiency, reduced energy usage and less wear and tear.
- User levels: Customisable/unlimited user levels, e.g. super users – monitor and control functions for the entire irrigation system; managers – monitor and control functions of selected fields/ sensors; viewers – access to only ‘view’ the status of selected fields/sensors.
- Alerts: Receive customisable and comprehensive high-, medium- or lowlevel text or email alerts if there are performance issues such as alignment faults or low pressure shutdowns. Alerts can be customised in conjunction with user levels, e.g. a farm owner doesn’t need to be disturbed with low- or medium-level alerts that may not be
critical to daily operations.
- Usage reporting: Create customisable usage reports providing insight into the entire operation, giving extremely valuable, well-presented data to farmers on year-on-year yield, water, chemicals, fertiliser, power, rainfall and more.
- Monitor soil moisture and weather stations (optional hardware required).
- Precisely apply water and chemicals with a state-of-the-art precision VRI solution (optional hardware required).
“FieldNET provides farmers with the information they need to make more informed irrigation decisions,” Olivier says. “This industry-leading technology helps farmers maximise efficiencies and realise long-term savings on energy, water, chemicals and labour.”
Adding remote technology
For farmers with older or multiple brands of pivots, Pivot Control is the key to unlocking FieldNET technology. The retrofit solution is an affordable, easy way to equip almost any brand of pivot with full remote irrigation monitoring and control
“Pivot Control allows operators to have one user interface, regardless of pivot brand or control panel,” Olivier explains. “By providing a single consistent experience, Pivot Control eliminates the need to manage multiple irrigation system brands, saving time and reducing operator error.”
The most recent addition to the Pivot Control line of products is Pivot Control Lite, a more cost-effective solution for farmers who don’t need or want some of the more premium capabilities that come with the full Pivot Control solution. Pivot Control Lite is simple and quick to install any time of the year.
Other irrigation management solutions that can be integrated into the FieldNET platform include FieldNET Advisor. Available in North America and going into beta testing in South Africa in the very near future, FieldNET Advisor provides farmers with the information they need to make faster, more informed decisions about when, where and how much to irrigate.
“FieldNET Advisor is the first fully-closed loop system that streamlines irrigation management and features all of your key information in one place. FieldNET Advisor gathers field information, automatically combines it with the applicable data (including hybrid crop growth models; hyper-local, hyper-accurate field-specific weather data; more than 40 years of proven scientific crop and irrigation research; and VRI prescription maps, which are dynamically optimised in real time to apply the required amount of water across every zone in the field) and processes everything into simple, easy to understand irrigation
plans,” Olivier says. “The farmer can immediately put those plans into action with a simple touch of a button on a smartphone, tablet or laptop.”
In recently conducted field studies in North America, the use of FieldNET technology resulted in a 3% increase in maize yield and a 17% reduction in water usage. In addition, researchers noted a significant energy cost reduction.
“New technologies, such as FieldNET, are changing the way farmers irrigate, helping
them improve yields while reducing water usage and other input costs,” says Olivier. “At Lindsay, we are leading the way in developing integrated solutions to help farmers achieve greater operational efficiencies.”