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With modern technology it is no longer required of a farmer to set an alarm, put on his boots, get into his bakkie after midnight to go and turn his irrigation on or off. With today’s technology, using the Agrico Advanced Rain control systems, he simply does it from the homestead, even lying snugly in bed.
“It is the most affordable centre pivot foreman I’ve ever had,” says Attie Scholtz, who farms on the farm Vaallus (“Vaal Loop”) near Douglas, in the Northern Cape, of the Agrico irrigation control systems. He produces wheat, maize, barley, pecan nuts and also breed game.
Attie runs only two four-tower Agrico centre pivot machines, but he has already installed Agrico control systems on all 19 of his centre pivots.
“The Agrico control systems work for all makes of centre pivot irrigators irrespective whether the power supply is 110 volt or 220 volt,” says Jaco Nolte, field marketing agent for Agrico.
Attie says he initially tested the control system on his two Agrico centre pivots. The result was so positive that he decided, after a fortnight, to extend it to all his centre pivots.
“Previously I had two guys on motorbikes speeding helter-skelter over the farm, and two specially equipped bakkies – thus four labourers – making sure that all pivots run. When we had an Eskom power cut, every pivot set had to be switched on manually again. A lot of time went to waste and time equals money”.
“Now I do it with my smartphone from any place in the country and, should the power be down, I can turn it on by automat.”
“The Agrico home page is installed on my smartphone and I can also open the Agrico web control app at home on my computer,” says Attie.
“Agrico trains the farmers to work with the app and then it is as easy as having coffee and milk tart. And when I encounter a problem, Jaco is always there to cure it, even 12 o’clock at night. The Agrico training and service delivery is excellent! Agrico has also formed a support group on WhatsApp; so, if I cannot trace Jaco, a technician will always be available to help.”
Jaco says the farmer has full control over this system. He can request a list of incidents that occurred on any day with every pivot machine, and can also add, remove or change a cellphone number.
Agrico also has a helpline for internet control. Clients can make use of it at any time to have problems attended to as quickly as possible. Sometimes Agrico can solve problems via the internet, or at least diagnose it, and then send a technician as quickly as possible with the required spares to do the repairs and limit standing time to the minimum.
“Control with the cellphone also saves a lot of time, for instance when it is necessary to move a pivot machine obstructing other activities such as cultivating, mowing or baling,” says Attie.
What can the Agrico control system do for you?
• The system monitors itself continuously;
• It alerts you with a text message on your cellphone when a fault crops up, such as cables being stolen, or when the machine is moving out of line;
• Rate of water application is continuously visible and controllable;
• Speed is controllable and one can see how long it will take the pivot to complete its circle;
• It provides the convenience to monitor and control your system from any place – over the internet or with a text message;
• The farmer gets a text message when the pivot is switched on or off to import changes;
• The internet control system also includes the observation and potential water pressure control of the pivot system;
• A GPS device on top of the pivot gives the added advantage of letting the farmer know the exact position of the machine on the land;
• By combining the Agrico internet control system with the Agrico adjustable speed pump control system (VSD = variable speed drive), the farmer obtains maximum efficiency and optimal energy usage from his irrigation system, and
• The inter-active control system has the ability to switch off only the defective irrigator and simultaneously adjust the pressure of the remaining pivots. This prevents damage and saves electricity and water.
To save time and electricity on your farm, and to have better control over your irrigation system, contact Alfred Andrag on 082-824-1214, 021-950-4111 or send an email message to email@example.com.