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Irrigation Product of the Year: Scheduling Based on Real Field Data

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Written by Valley Irrigation |

Valley Scheduling won the 2019 Product of the Year from the Irrigation Association because it helps growers make smarter decisions based on real data. It’s advanced management technology that’s proven on 5 million acres worldwide.

The Irrigation Association (IA) recognizes the most innovative products from across a variety of categories in the irrigation industry. Each year, the IA evaluates dozens of new products based on innovation, quality, efficiency of water/resource use, ease of use and other factors. Valley® Scheduling fulfilled those qualifications with its simplicity, flexibility, time savings and demonstrable field results.

“With Valley Scheduling, growers experience increased yields and profitability because they use less energy and fewer resources by watering the right amount in the right places and at the right times,” says Senior Director, Innovation & Intellectual Property John Kastl. “They can also monitor potential crop stress due to over- or under-watering, and increase production and yield quality.”

Plus, Valley Scheduling offers customizable options that other brands don’t: growers may select either modeled data (based on a proprietary algorithm) or measured data (by hardware in the field).

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Winning at Watering

Tim Schmeeckle, a fifth-generation grower who farms 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans near Gothenburg, NE, says he was familiar with all of the individual components of the technology. He had been using soil probes, aerial imagery, a weather station and forecasting already, but Valley Scheduling brought all of these components together in one place.

Valley Scheduling collects and analyzes data, including the soil type, crop type, stage of development, and automatically updated weather conditions to provide easy-to-understand data and irrigation recommendations within a single dashboard.

The biggest learning curve for him was trusting it. “I’m used to just pushing the button to irrigate whenever I think I need to water,” he explains. “People like me who have been irrigating our entire lives just irrigate whenever we think we think it’s necessary, without using any real principles. I always thought the crops needed more water than they actually do.”

He says that as the growing season went on, he started depending on Valley Scheduling. “I know where all the information comes from, so I stopped second-guessing the recommendations and followed them very closely.”

Because he followed Valley Scheduling recommendations, Schmeeckle says he used considerably less water, which helped to eliminate one risk of applying too much water: nitrogen deficiency. “I can see water in the root zones now, so I’m not pushing nitrogen out of that zone,” he explains. “Through the years, we’ve over-watered pretty consistently. It was just so easy to do. Now, we irrigate only when we know we need to.”

“It’s overwhelming that this technology works so well,” Schmeeckle adds. “It’s completely trustworthy, and it’s very handy and convenient technology.”

Put the Product of the Year to Work in Your Fields 

Increase your productivity by irrigating your crops in the right place in the right amount at the right time. Contact your local Valley dealer today.

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