Valley Irrigation has introduced Valley VRI. Valley VRI is the irrigation industry’s first line of variable rate irrigation (VRI) controls integrated directly into the existing irrigation controls.
“Valley VRI puts irrigation management decisions in action,” said Jake LaRue, ValleyIrrigationinternational projects and products manager. “This improves efficiency and lowers production costs, which can, in turn, increase a producer’s profits.”
There are two different levels of VRI control: Variable Rate Zone Control and Variable Rate Speed Control.
VRI Zone Control allows maximum precision irrigation via individual sprinkler or span control. This is done with up to 30 different VRI zones controlled through Valley VRI tower boxes and the Valley Pro2 control panel at two-degree increments around the field. VRI Zone Control provides the highest precision possible, and is available now.
When programmed for VRI speed control, TouchPro, Pro2 and Select2 panels allow variable rate control for every 5-degree section. Variable Rate Speed Control will be available in late2010 and will come standard in new TouchPro, Pro2 and Select2 control panels.
The key element of the Valley VRI is the VRI Mapping program. For both the VRI Speed Control and VRI Zone Control, this user friendly computer program allows the operator to usesoil texture, topography, Veris maps, yield maps or other specific field maps to develop irrigation prescriptions.
Earl Vories, agricultural engineer and lead scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture — Agricultural Research Service in Missouri, has been researching the mechanics of VRI for five years and thinks the technology is important to the future of irrigated crop production.
“Mid-South soils are highly variable within a single field,” Vories explained. “Without VRI, producers have to set irrigation rates based on an average soil type, or pick the most limiting condition.” This practice compromises potential yield on other soil types within the same field.
Jimmy Moody, a cotton, soybean, corn, wheat and rice producer near Dyersburg, Tenn., participated in the field testing of Valley VRI Zone Control and saw its benefits firsthand. Valley VRI helped him effectively irrigate a particularly challenging field with soils ranging from Sharkey clay to very coarse sand. Based on that experience, Moody looks forward to using Valley VRI on additional pivots.
“I have variable soils from sand to silt loam to clay. With Valley VRI,” Moody said, “I’m not going to be applying too much water to my cotton crop in heavier soils in order to get enough water on my sandier soils in the same field.”
Vories added, “Precision operations have taken a hold on other facets of ag. It doesn’t make sense to precisely apply other inputs and not water. I think you’re going to see a big increase in adoption of VRI technology between now and five years from now.”
For additional information visit http://www.valleyirrigation.com.