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Water is the one natural resource without which no farmer can produce. “Everything in agriculture today revolves around good water management,” says Riaan Botha, General Manager of Green Valley Nuts of the Karstens Group near Prieska in South Africa.
They produce pecan nuts on 635 hectares and maize on 470 hectares.
“The agricultural sector is on the leading edge of innovative thinking and technology. Farmers need someone like Agrico to accompany them on the way to successful implementation of technology,” explains Riaan. Green Valley Nuts has seventeen Agrico centre pivots and Agrico also designed and installed a drip irrigation system for their pecan nut trees. Agrico is working with Green Valley Nuts since 1996, when they designed the original irrigation system for the nut project.
Green Valley Nuts also uses the latest control systems from Agrico – the Agrico Web Control for pivots, and a Motorola system for pecan nut trees. “The advantage of the control systems is that data and control are available in real time and remotely. So, we can work with precise data that allows one to make better use of water. A farmer must always exercise precise control. No matter where I am, I am always in full control of the system on the farm,” says Riaan.
Riaan and his team are fully satisfied with all aspects of Agrico’s service. The irrigation system is probably the most important aspect of their farming operation. “A failure in summer can be catastrophic. An irrigation company must provide proper support to a farmer, and that is what Agrico does. We can only tackle such a big project with partners who we trust completely.”
More about the system Agrico designed for Green Valley Nuts:
Agrico first ran meticulous trials to decide on the appropriate irrigation equipment, after which they installed three drip lines per row on the pecan nut trees. “With this solution we achieved good results in terms of the distribution and depth of the irrigation zone. The design was done with low-flow, pressure-compensating drip. Utilising the existing infrastructure, and taking into account the requirements of the centre pivots, we divided the nut orchard into three irrigation blocks,” says Hannes Schoeman, irrigation designer from Agrico.
Agrico also installed four new hi-tech filtration stations at Green Valley Nuts. “The existing pumps were used, and a control system was installed to switch the main pumps on and off automatically and more efficiently as the requirements at the pivots and drip irrigation blocks change during the day. Smaller booster pumps with VSD controllers were added. In this way, the exact flow- and pressure requirement of any irrigation block can be provided efficiently. The system was designed to irrigate only within Ruraflex’s green and yellow times, and as far as possible only in the green time, depending on the season and the water requirement,” Hannes says.
Hannes explains further that they have combined the new irrigation for the pecan nuts with the existing centre pivots into one system, which increases the overall efficiency of the irrigation.
The benefits of the system for the farmer:
• The correct quantity of water per tree is provided.
• Substantial improved energy efficiency.
• Liquid fertiliser is applied continuously (enriched water irrigation).
• Variable irrigation / fertiliser application of the pecan nut trees takes place in accordance with soil classification and the needs of the trees.
• Irrigation / fertiliser application is tailor-made for blocks of different ages.
• The system increases yields, and is a crucial element of the precision farming system.
For any inquiries, contact Alfred Andrag at +27 82-824-1214 or +27 21-950-4111, or send an e-mail to Alfred.firstname.lastname@example.org.