If you are looking for a weak excuse to leave the house at odd hours or don’t actually enjoy being around your family and friends then you should stop reading now, there’s nothing here for you because there’s no longer any reason to spend hours out of your day driving to the field to start, stop or check on your center pivots. There just isn’t. Today’s advances in irrigation technology mean that you can remotely manage your pivots – and other irrigation equipment – from a smartphone, tablet or computer.
Nearly all of the new irrigation telemetry products have smartphone apps that give you control over your pivots in the palm of your hand. And most of them are cloud based so you can check on your irrigation equipment anytime, anywhere, as long as you have Internet or data access.
Remote management and control technology products primarily use cellular connections to tie your equipment back to the cloud server. Other wireless data link methods are used also, depending on the product.
What Can Telemetry Do for Me?
Each telemetry option has its own mix of features and benefits.
For example, Valley® BaseStation3™ allows you to create different “Farms” and then designate tiered levels of password protected access for multiple users. You can assign each user specific access to one machine or groups of machines. This is valuable for farms where individuals work with different machines, crops or for larger operations with multiple locations.
Many telemetry products allow you to generate data reports that can increase the efficiency of your irrigation practices. Up-to-date status and historical information about your machines, irrigation and soil are invaluable when making decisions about inputs. Data analysis helps ensure that water is being applied when and where your crops need it most. That efficiency will increase yields and profits.
Today’s advanced control technologies also send you notifications when something changes with your equipment or it experiences an issue. Notifications can be sent via text, email or phone call, and you can designate different types of notifications for specific individuals if you have multiple users.
How Do I Choose a Telemetry Product?
Ag has always been a fairly early adopter of new technology. Consider this, self-driving cars are a hot news item right now but GPS auto-steering tractors and combines have been around for a long time. Still, the rapid advancement of technology can be hard to keep up with.
These telemetry tools are getting better and more flexible. They’re also a significant investment, so you’ll want to make sure you get the one that is the right fit for you and your operation.
Here are a few things to consider before making an investment:
What is the track record of the product? No matter what, it’s important to find out how a product has performed in the field. Consider getting references and contacting those growers prior to buying.
What problem does the product solve? Some technology offerings are simply distractions. Let’s face it, there are a lot of neat things available and while the “cool factor” is indeed something to consider, technology is an investment. It should be easy to use, make your life easier, and improve your yield, efficiency and profit.
Pick a good partner. Technology companies come and go. Everyone has problems from time to time, but not everyone has solutions. Make sure you can get help when you need it. Trust and stability are key factors to consider.
The fact is that technology is influencing the way we do business at an accelerated rate. Almost daily technology is changing our expectations and our perceptions. Yes, it can be complex and confounding but the challenge is turning that complexity into opportunity.
Knowing what’s out there and what you want will help you have a better discussion with a dealer and ensure you get exactly what you need for your operation.
To learn more about telemetry solutions for farm irrigation, watch our video series.