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The farm of every farmer poses its own, unique and daunting challenges. Many people may lose all hope in the face of heart-breaking problems, but not those who believe that, with available water and Reinke irrigation, no mountain is too difficult to climb and that, with minute planning, everything becomes possible.
This is positively the case on the Fourpaths Farm of Kembali sugar near Gingindlovu in KwaZulu-Natal.
The hilly terrain of this farm would have convinced many people to stay away from irrigation farming, but the farm managers, Garry Moody and Bobby Hall, held an indaba with the Reinke team, Ralph Klingenberg and Jaco Scheepers, to agree on an impressive outcome.
“Reinke is the only centre pivot irrigator strong enough to work over this hilly terrain. The unique quality of its pipes and the sturdy design of the couplings allow Reinke to climb the hills,” says Garry.
“One of the challenges posed by the uneven terrain is that one section of the centre pivot has to climb the next incline while the rear section is still descending from the previous hill.”
To make the toil of the centre pivots easier, Garry and farm teams have constructed 126 mini ‘bridges’ to allow the wheels of the machines to cross deep ditches. Six centre pivot irrigators already bring artificial rain to approximately 250 hectares sugar cane on the farm and they plan to purchase three further smaller machines.
Because sugar cane grow up to 5,5 metres high, all centre pivot booms on the farm stand six metres high. Some of the sprinklers on the machines are mounted on top of the mainframe to be higher than the cane, which also makes it easier to see when one of the outlets is clogged.
There is an existing dam on the farm and a second dam is under construction. On completion this dam will have a capacity of 44 000 m³.
Reinke irrigation system.
The electronic control systems servicing the six centre pivots vary between the Advanced- en Advanced Plus-models. All control boxes, irrespective of model, are controlled through Garry’s smartphone by means of ReinCloud.
The system is fed with water from the dams on the farm. Garry can switch any machine on or off from any location as long as he has his smartphone with him. He controls the amount of water delivered by the centre pivots with ReinCloud. Every pivot can be divided into eight different sections and each of these sections can be set to deliver varying quantities of “rain”.
To prevent water from collecting at the lowest point of the land, the pivot is set to deliver less water there but more water on the higher lying acres. Kembali Sugar convinced Reinke that they could not use pivots with rubber wheels; so, the Kembali pivots are fitted with steel wheels which give them the necessary traction to scale the hefty uphill sections.
The whole system has been planned to the T. The layout design is so exact that the end guns will stop the sprayers automatically in the right places to prevent a deluge on roads or buildings. As soon as the pivot has passed that point, the end guns will resume spraying.
“This machine miss our office at the top of the land by three metres and runs on the dam wall at the lowest point,” says Garry while we were watching the performance of one of the pivots.
Kembali bought the specific farm three years ago to extend their farming operation. In 2017 they also replanted all the sugar cane on the farm. Bobby Hall explains that generally speaking sugar cane should be renewed after ten cuttings. With the new cane only three years old and being irrigated, they harvest an average of 90 ton/hectare. Some lands yield up to 115 ton/hectare.
Similar to all other Reinke clients whom ProAgri has interviewed over time, Garry and Bobby are highly satisfied with Reinke’s after-sales service, both confessing that they had “tested” the Reinke team on two occasions and in both “tests” the team came out tops.
“Once, during heavy rain, a machine ran off the dam wall and was bogged down, and on another occasion a machine got tangled up in a tree. In both cases Reinke could not be faulted. In both instances rescue teams disassembled the machines, re-assembled them and had them running within two weeks. Their service is excellent all round. Even when we order a spare part, even a small part, it is promptly delivered within 24 hours,” says Garry.
“Reinke’s extensive service delivery is part and parcel of the farm. Not only were the team responsible for erecting the systems, but also for the planning and layout of the various centre pivots. Even the planning of the new dam was in the hands of Reinke engineers”
“It is clear that this American company is determined to be part and parcel of the African landscape.”
Contact Patrick Ellis, director of Reinke South Africa, on 031-350-4525 for further information or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.