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ICON Smart Panels: A Customer-Driven Irrigation Product

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Written by David Roberts |

The Valley® ICON® panel launch last year was arguably the most successful product launch in the long history of Valmont. This is largely due to our customer-driven process, which includes constant input from growers and dealers in product development. From testing and prototyping until the media day and market launch, Valley Irrigation includes “Voice of the Customer” research in every step of the process to ensure that we meet and exceed growers’ needs.

What we learned was that growers’ businesses are becoming vastly more complex. While traditional needs like durability and accessible service remain important, agricultural product development must now include new, more modern concerns. Concepts like the pressure to produce crops using less water and the desire for mobile capabilities to grant freedom and offer farmers “a life beyond farming” have created new opportunities that are filtering into the product development cycle itself. It became clear that there was great demand for a smart panel that could do more than simply operate a pivot, but also help growers be more efficient and make better decisions.


Untitled-1David Roberts (left) and Scott Rugan of AgSense (right) gathered feedback from Australian growers with Ian Perkin of Valmont Irrigation Australia (second from right) and Martin Porter (front).

 

AgSense Remote Irrigation Management – Included in Every ICON Control Panel

To address these newly identified needs, Valley incorporates AgSense® remote irrigation management into every ICON smart panel. This means that every grower who invests in a Valley-branded ICON control panel automatically receives the AgSense ICON Link, which is a field-changeable cell modem inside the panel that connects to the internet, thus providing complete remote pivot monitoring and control functionality! Additionally, the grower now has the opportunity to facilitate comprehensive reporting on their entire irrigation operation.

Accessible via laptop, desktop computer or mobile device, a grower with an ICON smart panel can minimize water usage, maximize yields, and receive timely alerts on equipment. But most importantly, Valley is helping growers enjoy more free time by providing confidence that their farms are operating efficiently.

Since their 2017 release in Australia, Valley Irrigation Australia has had a great uptake of the new ICON control panels,” according to Martin Porter, General Manager of Australia and New Zealand for Valley Irrigation. “And with the built in AgSense ICON Link as the communication base, we are having a large increase in growers getting connected and realizing the benefits of AgSense remote telemetry.”

If improved efficiency is something that your farm needs, I would strongly encourage speaking to a Valley dealer about updating your farm operations using ICON smart panels on your center pivots. Developed under the watchful eyes of real-world growers and dealers, this product might very well be the best-kept secret in the farming world.

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