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What the Tech? Advancing Irrigation with Smart Panels

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Written by Valley Irrigation |

Irrigation technology is present in every component of mechanized irrigation. From the spans to the wheels to the gearboxes to the control panels, every innovation in the industry takes the grower to new levels of efficiency, control and empowerment.

But, how do the latest smart panels for precision irrigation control play into this?

valley smart panel for precision irrigation

Valley® Irrigation, The Leader in Precision Irrigation®, is built on the foundation that all we do is for the betterment of farming, providing growers with the tools and innovations they need to make farming easier. Continually, we evolve our product offerings to advance technologies, making what they are capable of doing today even better for tomorrow. Growers expect every aspect of their operation to keep up with their changing lifestyles, while improving yield and crop health.

That’s the way it should be, according to John Campbell, senior global manager of technology advancement and adoption.

“Things are changing so fast now, and we need to improve our technology continuously,” he says. “Although we’ve been doing this for years, in today’s environment, this needs to happen at an even faster pace. Not only have we launched new products to fit the needs of our growers, but we’ve also enhanced and advanced technologies in our current products.”

Control Panels

Growers who have been irrigating with Valley machines for many years may remember the old mechanical panels that featured only on-and-off functionality, along with a percentage timer for depth of water. That worked well for that time, and only for a while. In 1990, Valley created a demand in the market with the introduction of the first computer-based panel for precision irrigation.

“The grower suddenly had more options and control, like when to run their pivots, how much to run, and how many inches of water to put on the field,” Campbell explains. “We continued making improvements in how user friendly our control panels were. The features and functions worked really well, so the basic structure didn’t really change until we introduced the Valley ICON® smart panels in 2017.”

So, what’s the latest technology in control panels?

The Valley ICON smart panels really took things to a new level, especially with the ease of use. The idea behind the  Valley ICON series of smart panels is to provide growers with whatever control they want in a very simple manner.

Whether buying a new center pivot, upgrading an existing mechanical control panel, changing from another brand of center pivot, or switching from a different irrigation method, growers benefit from using an intuitive, full-color touchscreen that fully utilizes today’s rapidly changing technology.

“If you can use a smartphone, you can use these panels, either at the center pivot or remotely,” says Campbell. “They’re extremely intuitive and easy to use. Plus, they’re fully upgradable. It will be easy to add features and make improvements to keep up with the irrigator’s needs.”

In the near future, growers will be able to install Valley ICON panel software updates over the air through the AgSense® ICON Link.

“This will seem very familiar to our growers, because it’s much like a smartphone or computer that automatically notifies the user that an update is available,” says Campbell. “This is another means to make life easier for our growers and provide them with the tools they need in the most simplistic fashion to make technology easier.”

Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI)

As growers search for new and better ways to use water more efficiently, variable rate irrigation has become an excellent option for ensuring timely and effective application of nutrients to their crops. Through personalized prescriptions, growers can control how much water is applied to various sections of the field through individual sprinkler control, VRI Speed Control or VRI Zone Control.

So, what's new with VRI technology?

Thanks to a new exclusive partnership with Trimble®, the bar has been set at an all-time high. Trimble uses GPS-based technology to allow growers to control their irrigation machines down to the individual nozzle. Campbell says, “Precise and targeted application of water through Trimble technology is just another way we continue to look out for our growers through continual transformation and bring them the best of the best on the market.”

Are you ready to learn more about how this advanced precision irrigation technology can help you? Contact your local Valley dealer today.

Did you enjoy this article? Check out one of these next:
3 Irrigation Management Features for When You Boot Up Your Valley ICON Panel for the First Time
5 Ways to Connect Your Farm for Irrigation Monitoring
8 Reasons Why You Should Be Controlling Your Irrigation With Technology

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