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Nebraska Grower Gains New Level of Control with Cutting-Edge Technology

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Written by Valley Irrigation |

Petersonblog1.jpgIn south central Nebraska water is plentiful and farms are everywhere you look. It’s the perfect place to use new technology to make the most of that water, using it effectively, and finding new ways to become more efficient while maximizing yields.

Michael Peterson and his dad Roger farm 1,200 irrigated acres of corn and soybeans. They run nine Valley® pivots, varying in age from 26 years to brand new, and with control panels ranging from the older Valley Classic Plus to the all-new Valley ICON5.

“Like most people, we’re interested in anything that can help us make money while taking some of the burden off our shoulders,” Michael says. “That’s why I like new technology like what’s found in the ICON5. It’s a great management tool, and it makes life easier.”

The ICON5 is one of the latest smart panels from Valley Irrigation. It provides simple, intuitive menu functions on the full-color, five-inch touchscreen interface at the pivot point. It also features soft touch buttons as another control option. The ICON5 comes equipped for simple telemetry with AgSense® ICON Link, which allows growers the option of managing the center pivot remotely from a smart phone, PC or tablet using AgSense or BaseStation3™ technologies.

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An easy technology transition

Jeremiah Johnson, Project Manager for Central Valley Irrigation in Holdrege, Neb., says he was excited to provide Peterson one of the first Vally ICON panels to try. “I was testing another ICON panel on my family’s farm, so I knew Michael would take to it quickly, and that it would help him with efficiency and control,” Jeremiah says. “It’s updated and upgradable, and it helps use water to its greatest potential.” And Michael did take to it quickly, with virtually no instructions.

“We installed the ICON5 on a center pivot we purchased in 2013,” Michael says. “I was excited to try it, because new technology intrigues me. Jeremiah installed it, and we started using it with no instruction manual. It turned out we didn’t need one. I never even had to call Jeremiah with questions.”

 “I found it to be completely intuitive, like using a smart phone. It was even easier to use than my Valley Pro2 panel.”

While Michael is generally very comfortable using this new technology, his father who is in his 70s and still using a flip phone, didn’t miss a beat. The type of technology found in the ICON smart panel did not slow him down either.

“My dad prefers to control our pivots right from the panel, but he was comfortable with the ICON5 and liked it right away," says Michael. "He went out and started using the soft touch buttons, which I didn’t even realize were there for a long time, I went straight to the touchscreen. We look at technology differently, but we could both use it easily.”

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Controlling everything from one place

Most of the wells on the Peterson farm are right by the pivots, making pump control relatively simple. They also use their pivots to fertigate, which adds another step to the process. Michael says that with AgSense, he will be able to control both either from the pivot or remotely.

“The ICON5 with AgSense gives growers the ability to control pumps, fertigation pumps and the pivot irrigation system, all from the panel or remotely from a smart phone,” explains Jeremiah.

Michael adds, “I’m looking forward to putting it all together in this upcoming growing season. It will be a big-time saver for us.”

Future growth

Michael says that he and his dad plan to replace their older panels one at a time, starting with the ones farthest away, so they can begin controlling them remotely.

“A lot of those are older panels, and I’d like to have the ability to put AgSense on them,” he says. “I’d love to retrofit those with a Valley ICON10 or ICON5. Otherwise, I may bypass them with a Valley ICONX, which would save us money, too.”

The ICON10 is the premier panel in the ICON line, with all of the capabilities of the ICON5 and more, including a 10-inch touchscreen at the panel and optional Edge-of-Field WiFi.

ICONX brings any control panel – including all major pivot irrigation system brands – into the AgSense or BaseStation3 network. It takes control of the existing panel and uses that panel’s circuits to deliver full ICON panel control.

“No matter how we go, I will be investing in something that I know will have a good return,” says Michael. “ICON smart panels are valuable tools.”

Visit valleyICON.com or contact your local Valley dealer today to learn more about the entire line of ICON smart panels from Valley.

In honor of our new product launch, we're giving away three ICON smart panels! Enter today.

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