One of the most important factors in successfully growing crops is providing the right amount of water at the right time. That’s where Valley Irrigation, a division of Valmont Industries, comes in. Valley works with growers in the U.S. and around the world to help them find the most efficient ways to improve their yields.
“Valley Irrigation created the center pivot industry in 1954,” said Len Adams, Group President of Valley Irrigation. “Company founder Robert B. Daugherty started improving and innovating the design from the very beginning. To this day, we have that same philosophy. We’re always improving our machines so growers can improve the way they farm and the way they live.”
Getting the right amount of water on crops at the right time is the most important determinant when it comes to crop yield. It doesn’t matter what crops the farmers are growing — Valley center pivot and linear irrigation machines are designed to be the most effective and efficient method to deliver water to growing crops in the field.
The history of the center pivot goes back to 1947 when Frank Zybach constructed the first water-powered center pivot prototype in Colorado. He patented the invention, which is powered by water pressure, in 1952. Zybach moved to Columbus, Neb., partnering with his brother-in-law to produce center pivots. Robert Daugherty purchased an exclusive license from Zybach and began manufacturing center pivots.
Adams said the business has seen many changes throughout the years. “As time went by, Valley Irrigation has gone from manufacturing the steel pipe and tubing for irrigation machines to becoming a leader in irrigation technology,” he said. “Growers have higher expectations for every piece of equipment they own, more so than ever before. Because of that, we provide them with technology to make their lives easier and their operations more efficient.”
“Our AgSense remote telemetry is just one example of that technology,” Adams said. “It allows growers to control and manage their pivots remotely from a smartphone, tablet or PC.
They can track what’s happening in their fields from anywhere in the world and receive an alert if anything needs attention, saving a lot of time by not having to drive out to the fields and check on things themselves.”
Valley also provides variable rate irrigation (VRI) solutions that help maintain the health of the plant and maximize yield. VRI gives growers a way to customize water application based on their unique situation and input.
They go a long way in serving both domestic and international customers. After all, agriculture is what it’s all about at Valley Irrigation. It doesn’t matter if a customer is a one-person operation or a large corporate farm. Valley provides water application solutions to fit their unique situation.
“Growers are different and an interesting bunch,” Adams said. “They’re the salt of the earth and also some of the most tech-savvy people you’ll meet. They’re the hardest working people on the planet and the ultimate good stewards of their resources, including water. Farmers are the ultimate jacks of all trades, which is even truer now. With all the options for precision agriculture, it’s a changing world.”
There are more changes ahead in the future. Adams said Valley Irrigation is always looking forward to providing their customers with the most efficient ways to attain higher yields.
Through their most recent partnership with Prospera Technologies, Valley Irrigation is transforming the traditional pivot into an autonomous crop management tool through machine learning and artificial intelligence.
“One of the biggest developments is Autonomous Crop Management,” Adams said, “which will result in a self-learning machine, using inputs from the field and the grower to deliver the proper water, fertigation and chemigation. “Because of pivots’ constant placement in the field, the technology has the ability to provide onboard visual detection of anomalies or issues to mitigate risks in the field. We can equip those structures to detect what a grower may not be able to see. With that critical information, we can help growers deliver more crop precision, saving time and resulting in greater returns with fewer inputs.”
“Growers now have access to pair their connected devices and the pivot to the latest data science, machine learning, and the artificial intelligence that continuously monitors and analyzes plant development health and stress,” Adams added. “We’re revolutionizing the way crops are grown by producing real-time crop diagnoses and irrigation recommendations. The goal is to help growers get time back on their side as they continue to produce better yields.”
Chad Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.