- PRECISION AG -
Irrigation Options Via Remote Control
Pivot manufacturers and other companies
offer many options
|By Calvin Perry |
and Andrea Milton
Producers need to know, in a timely fashion, when a system is running properly and when it is not. One way to accomplish that is through remote monitoring and control.
Options from pivot manufacturers
Table 1 shows several products and some of the monitoring and control functions offered by each manufacturer. Each product has an initial installation/hardware cost and most require a monthly subscription fee, usually six months or one-year minimum. Information, compiled from the manufacturers’ Web sites, is not a complete list of offerings, so contact your dealer for more information.
Options independent of pivot manufacturer
Pivotrac uses a universal remote telemetry unit (RTU) that communicates via cell phone service to a pager for monitoring functions (pivot on/off, water on/off, voltage) or to a cell phone for remote pivot start/stop service. Pivotrac also provides Internet monitoring and control functions. www.pivotrac.com
Isaacs & Associates develops customized installations and uses wireless technology for their monitoring (soil moisture, flow, pressure, temperature, field position and speed) and control, including remote pump control. www.isaacstech.com
Dexter Fortson Associates offers the PivotMACS product that communicates via radio telemetry and allows for feedback control (pivot start/stop, direction, water on/off, and speed), alarm monitoring, scheduling, and data acquisition (wind speed, rainfall, temperature, water flow, etc.). An RTU is capable of sending messages to pagers and phones and receiving control messages (start/stop, direction, water on/off, speed).
Automated Irrigation Controls (AIC) of Sylvester, Ga., offers custom installations and remote monitoring of pivot parameters such as pressure, flow, field position, status, etc. Their remote control functions include pivot start/stop, direction, pump start/stop, and scheduling. AIC also installs variable speed drive controls on irrigation pumps to control flow of water when the center pivot passes over areas needing less water. www.automatedirrigationcontrols.com
Izon A.M.S. located in Paragould, Ark., does not monitor or control pivots directly, but offers a cell phone-based system to remotely monitor irrigation pumps, grain bins, farm gates, steam levels and other applications. Changes in equipment status results in transmission of a notice to pager, cell phone, or email. The system also allows for remote shut down of irrigation pumps. www.izonams.com
This discussion of remote monitoring and control options for irrigation systems is not an exhaustive review, but gives an overview of the types of products available. System prices vary widely based on models and options desired. Contact the vendors or dealers directly for a cost estimate.
Calvin Perry is a Public Service Representative, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, with the National Environmentally Sound Production Agriculture Laboratory (NESPAL) at the University of Georgia. Andrea Milton is a Research Professional, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, also with NESPAL. Please contact the authors at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. For more information about precision agriculture, visit the Web site at http://nespal.cpes.peachnet.edu, click on Areas of Research, then click on Precision Agriculture.