Irrigation company works in partnership with growers

Helping irrigators to be efficient and profitable as they do their part to feed a hungry world is a priority for Lindsay, an Omaha, Nebraska-based company.

The company works through a dealer network to distribute irrigation systems to growers in the High Plains and beyond. Michelle Marcuzzo, Lindsay’s FieldNET software product manager, said they know farmers and ranchers have to be profitable as they pursue the task of feeding 8.5 billion people globally by the year 2030 and, in doing so, also must be efficient with limited resources.

As a result, Lindsay, a global company, has designed irrigation solutions, including both Zimmatic center pivots and FieldNET remote irrigation technology, to meet every grower’s individual needs, she said.

“It is our responsibility to respond to growers’ concerns and help them overcome their challenges and sustain their operations,” Marcuzzo said. She admires the company’s long-held belief that sustainability is defined by actions not only affecting today but also future generations.

The company takes a customer-first approach in innovation, meaning customer input and feedback is of central importance as Lindsay designs and tests products.

One example, she noted is Lindsay’s latest-released FieldNET feature, WaterTrend. It is provided at no additional cost to FieldNET subscribers.

“It provides growers with a seven-day water trend of their field-specific crop watering needs,” Marcuzzo said. “One thing we heard from customers was they want more and better data available to help them have confidence in their irrigation decisions.

“Ultimately they (growers) have to make the decision on how much water they need to apply. WaterTrend gives them the information they need to make effective and efficient irrigation decisions. In the long run, with information from WaterTrend, the grower is likely putting on less water and getting higher yields.”

A producer needs to have high, profitable yields each year, but he also needs to keep an eye on his water resource for the long term, she said.

The WaterTrend feature is unique to FieldNET in that such information isn’t offered through other remote irrigation monitoring and control platforms, she said.

Lindsay is also undertaking a rewrite of the FieldNET software user interface, which is a result of much customer input. The company is in the BETA testing stage now. The process helps the company to address current needs and take into account input from growers as they tell Lindsay what is important for future grower needs.

“We want the end product to be exactly what our customers need from a tool that helps them manage their operation,” she said.

Growers have the best ideas on how to use their resources and Lindsay’s philosophy is to take that information and use it to help them achieve their irrigation efficiency goals—whether with hardware or software.

The technology today allows growers to individualize irrigation solutions for each of their fields, she said, and in the future her company’s products will help them to achieve even greater efficiency.

Lindsay has a commitment to producing reliable products and pushing innovation, yet also recognizes products cannot be rushed into the marketplace without rigorous testing, as irrigation conditions vary from region to region and even field to field.

Industry innovation

FieldNET Advisor is the world’s first fully automated cloud-based irrigation scheduling solution, Marcuzzo said. The system delivers irrigation recommendations to growers based on 40 years of crop and irrigation research.

The system gives the grower field-specific irrigation insights based on soil, crop, hybrid, planting dates, daily crop water usage and more, and provides recommendations for when, where and how much to irrigate next.

Sign up for HPJ Insights

Our weekly newsletter delivers the latest news straight to your inbox including breaking news, our exclusive columns and much more.

“Regardless of where the grower is, he can be assured all of the specific information is available so he can make a good decision on each of his fields,” Marcuzzo said.

Sustainability first

FieldNET Pivot Watch is another example of how Lindsay is helping growers. It is an ultra-low-cost, do-it-yourself monitoring solution that makes remote irrigation monitoring more accessible than ever.

“FieldNET Pivot Watch is something growers can install themselves,” Marcuzzo said. “It’s a simple, low-cost solution that introduces growers to the benefit of FieldNET remote monitoring.”

Once they are comfortable with the monitor-only technology, they can upgrade to a solution that enables them to both remotely monitor and control their irrigation system, anywhere, from the palm of their hand, Marcuzzo said.

Future is now

In November 2020, Lindsay introduced the world’s first smart pivot, which will take precision irrigation to the next level of functionality and streamline data collection to allow faster and better management decisions right from the pivot, Marcuzzo said.

The smart pivot uses FieldNET advanced agronomics and Zimmatic machine health, she said, to help growers produce healthier crops and support more sustainable farming practices, expanding what the traditional pivot is capable of.

“The smart pivot will give the grower machine health insights and tell him quickly if he is having issues with his machine,” she said.

The smart pivot also takes crop health information like nutrient deficiencies and pressure from disease and pests directly from the field and puts it into the FieldNET system, enabling growers to take action right away.

The company has announced it wants to make it available to dealers and customers in 2023.

Marcuzzo also noted the support from dealers, as they are the direct line to customers. The dealers setup the equipment in the field and are the conduit to help customers get their questions answered.

One consistent theme Lindsay and its dealers recognize is each grower has unique needs and they want to be efficient with their time.

“We are always looking for ways to make it easier for the grower to manage his operation from anywhere. We know their time and resources are short and they may not have time to drive out into the field to check pivots. We want them to be able to manage their entire irrigation operation from the palm of their hand.”

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].