Latest News

FieldNET Advisor

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FieldNET Advisor is the smartest solution in irrigation.

FieldNET® by Lindsay is pleased to introduce FieldNET Advisor™, a revolutionary irrigation management solution designed to provide growers with simple, science-based irrigation recommendations to enable faster, better-informed irrigation management decisions.

This innovative solution combines more than 40 years of crop and irrigation research into FieldNET’s proven technology platform, leveraging massive amounts of data, cloud computing capabilities, and machine learning to deliver growers one easy-to-use tool.

Why use FieldNET Advisor?

FieldNET Advisor simplifies irrigation decisions for growers.  Gone are the days of growers having to manually track their crops’ development and make complex calculations to know its daily water usage.  No longer will growers be frustrated trying to use multiple, unintegrated tools to track their crops’ water needs and manage their irrigation equipment. For growers who have historically relied on visual inspection of their crops or even less scientific methods to make irrigation decisions, finally there is a tool that will deliver the information they need to make better informed decisions without the headache and cost of installing and maintaining additional sensors or probes in the field. 

Key Benefits

FieldNET Advisor helps growers in their efforts to maximize their profitability through better irrigation management by helping them to better:

  • Maximize yield output and crop performance by reducing crop water stress and nutrient leaching
  • Reduce input costs and conserve water by reducing the likelihood of overwatering and the resulting loss of key nutrients
  • Save time and labor by providing quick, simple and intuitive irrigation management recommendations and alerts

Four Powerful Tools in One

1. FieldNET Irrigation Advisor™

  • Recommend next irrigation date and amount.
  • Daily and season-to-date soil water depletion across entire field.
  • Forecasted soil water depletion and irrigation needs for remainder of season.
  • Soil water depletion warning alerts.
  • Customized irrigation management settings and recommendation alerts.
  • Automated initial field setup wizard allows multiple crops, hybrids and planting dates.
  • Automated importing of soil data.
  • Automated as-applied irrigation data (depth, location, date)
  • Upload existing field or soil maps if desired.

2. FieldNET Crop Advisor™

  • Current crop growth stage and root depth, allowing manual adjustments.
  • Daily crop water usage (ETCrop)
  • Automatic irrigation recommendation adjustments based on yield impact.
  • Season-to-date remainder of season forecasted crop stress.
  • Patent-pending season-to-date and remainder of season forecasted yield impact.
  • Continuously forecasted crop maturity date updates.

3. FieldNET Weather Advisor™

  • Field-specific current weather conditions.
  • Field-specific hourly weather forecasts for 15 days.
  • Field-specific daily weather forecasts for 15 days
  • Customizable field-specific weather alerts
  • Editable daily rainfall amounts.
  • Data from optional in-field Growsmart weather station.

4. FieldNET VRI Advisor™

  • Auto-generated, continuously updated field-specific sector VRI plans. Available for all fields.
  • Auto-generated, continuously updated field-specific full Precision VRI plans. Requires Growsmart Precision VRI hardware with individual sprinkler control.

How It Works

  1. Enter your crop types, hybrids and planting dates.
  2. FieldNET Advisor automatically combines this data with soil maps, hyper-local weather information, and as-applied irrigation history across your field.
  3. By tracking crop growth stage and root depth to monitor the amount of moisture available in the soil, FieldNET Advisor forecasts your crop's future water needs.
  4. FieldNET Advisor then makes recommendations on when, where and how much to irrigate, helping you improve your water use efficiency and enhance your profitability.
  5. Irrigation recommendations are automatically sent to your phone or computer through email or text messaging so that you can react in real-time.

FieldNET® by Lindsay have currently announced the release of FieldNET Advisor in North America and will release into further regions/countries over a period of time. For more information visit myfieldnet.com and sign up to stay informed when it is available in your area.

FieldNET Education Series Video Tutorials

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Learning how to get the most our of your Growsmart Precision VRI system has just got easier with the FieldNET Education Series. Accessible online anytime, anywhere these easy to follow short video tutorials help you manage your Precision VRI system through FieldNET.

The first videos released in the series include:

For additional support when using your Precision VRI system contact your Zimmatic dealer or visit the Support page for more tutorials, downloads, software updates and a searchable knowledgebase.

Wireless Tool Provides Complete Remote Management of Precision Variable Rate Irrigation

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Integrated System Offers Remote Control, Monitoring and Reporting

(Feilding, NZ) – April 5, 2016 – Lindsay New Zealand has announced that it now is offering Growsmart® Precision VRI with FieldNET® to provide complete remote pivot management, with VRI control, monitoring and reporting.

With Precision VRI, growers can precisely apply the correct amount of water over multiple crops, soil types and terrains. When integrated with FieldNET remote management, growers have the ability to easily create or edit irrigation plans. The detailed irrigation reports assist with better decision-making. Multiple users can also be added with controlled access, which simplifies communication with staff and stakeholders.

“The correct amount of water on every part of the field is essential for maximum yields. When coupled with FieldNET, Precision VRI gives growers the pinpoint accuracy they need along with the efficiencies that result from full remote capabilities,” said Richard Hall, Lindsay regional manager for Australia and New Zealand. “Configurable inputs allow for real-time system status data feeds, and the cloud stored backup reduces maintenance and repair system downtime.”

Ashburton farmer, Phill Everest uses Precision VRI to irrigate his farm in accordance with local council regulations, while demonstrating a passion for environmental efficiency that he hopes others will follow. Three years ago, he converted his beef and cropping farm to dairying. Flemington Dairies features deep silt loams braided by shallower stony soils, the result of historic riverbeds. Springs pop up in wet conditions, and one area of the farm has open drains running down its length.

With precision technology, he is able to turn off irrigation over and around pivot ruts, tracks, water troughs, gateways and drains. He also can avoid irrigating boggy areas, reducing rutting and allowing them to recover before changing his plan and irrigating again – effectively managing problems posed by heavy, seasonally waterlogged soils. He describes his decision to adopt precision technology as a means to “kill five birds with one stone.”

“The first time using the new FieldNET tool for Precision VRI, I found it very easy,” Everest said. “It was much simpler and quicker having just the one place to go to control my pivot and manage the Precision VRI plans.”

Using Growsmart Precision VRI to irrigate 132 hectares, Everest is able to reduce his water usage by 3,350,000 litres in comparison to a standard system applying a uniform rate application of 15 mm across the property. The additional water can irrigate an additional 23 hectares on his farm. Looking to the future, Everest said he’s interested in investing in Precision VRI on his remaining pivots.

“Some people call me a green farmer, but it’s something that spins my wheels,” he said.

Adding FieldNET to Precision VRI requires additional hardware that allows farmers to customise and remotely manage water applications. A strong, long lasting steel enclosure houses the new control panel in which you can view irrigation plans in colour at the pivot point. Irrigation depths can be changed on the fly, a handy feature for instance when the dairy herd are going into a paddock that the irrigator is about to cover, the irrigation on that paddock can be turned off then and there.

For a live demonstration, please visit the Zimmatic site (site 17) at the IrrigationNZ Conference in Oamaru from the 5th - 7th of April. For more information about Growsmart Precision VRI with FieldNET, visit your local Zimmatic dealer or growsmartprecisionvri.co.nz/fieldnet.

New FieldNET® Pivot Control upgrades nearly any brand pivot

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Growers gain full remote monitoring and sector-based variable rate irrigation control through a simple, economical retrofit

(OMAHA, Neb.) - May 2015 - Lindsay Corporation, maker of Zimmatic irrigation systems, announces FieldNET® Pivot Control, the industry’s first solution for upgrading almost any brand pivot to full remote irrigation control and monitoring capabilities.

Many growers today manage multiple brands of irrigation systems. This requires operators to understand various types of pivot control panels, which takes time to learn and could lead to operator error. Pivot Control can change the way growers manage their irrigation by providing a single consistent irrigation experience. “It is simple, it is very intuitive. And the ability to basically tap into any system and have this product as kind of plug-and-play on there, that’s great. You can take a 30-year-old pivot and bring it right up to date with this unit,” said Jared Gardner, a grower who tested the product on his Zimmatic pivot and two other brands.

Unlike other remote irrigation control products, Pivot Control mounts at the pivot point and combines with GPS at the end of the pivot for increased precision and greater flexibility. Growers can operate their pivot in the field at the control box or remotely using FieldNET—both elements automatically update together--minimizing the chance for user error. From a smartphone, tablet, or computer, growers can control their pivots and equipment, including pumps, injectors, and monitor sensors for pressure, flow, soil moisture, rainfall, temperature, and other devices in the future. “Making all my pivots universally controlled through one device is great and having pump control is crucial,” said Gardner.

The system will send alerts to the growers’ phone to notify them of any irrigation issues. “I water out of a canal and get lots of error alerts in water flow, and power flickers,” says Gardner. “Being able to power back up from my phone is essential. It saves me hours of drive time and wear and tear on my vehicle.”

Pivot Control comes standard with 360-sector variable rate irrigation (VRI), offering twice the number of sectors available on most basic VRI products. Growers working with agronomists and crop specialists to analyze their unique field conditions can upload custom prescriptions to FieldNET with a touch of a button. “Once the prescription is created it takes less than a minute to upload,” said Agronomist Lamar LaPorte. “The biggest advantage is being able to scale the concept of VRI over a whole farm or multiple farms efficiently. By eliminating the time consuming process of having to change each sector, it is a huge benefit.”

Gardner says he has researched VRI and sees it as a next step. “Our inputs just keep getting more expensive so if we can utilize VRI to grow, that’s the next step,” says Gardner.

Pivot Control takes over the existing pivot, giving the grower full access to precision irrigation control and convenient monitoring. “There’s really nothing else like it on the market. Pivot Control provides growers an affordable and easy way to own features that can more effectively and conveniently manage irrigation resources,” said Stu Bradbury, Lindsay International New Zealand general manager.

For more information, visit www.myfieldnet.com/pivot-control or talk to your local Zimmatic dealer.

Download the FieldNET Pivot Control Q&A Document

Name Change Announcement

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As of December 15th 2014 Lindsay International (ANZ) Pty Ltd will be retiring the Precision Irrigation trading name in favour of Lindsay NZ. This change will allow the company to better align with their parent company Lindsay Corporation and network of Lindsay Irrigation Solution dealers.

“By changing our name to Lindsay NZ, we plan to further promote the Lindsay brand and values in New Zealand and Australia.” Says Lindsay NZ General Manager Stu Bradbury.


Lindsay Corporation acquired Precision Irrigation in November 2010 seeing the great potential in the award winning variable rate irrigation technology that the team had developed. Since the acquisition the team have continued to develop their world-leading Growsmart Precision VRI system while also supporting Lindsay dealers with the sales and support of the product.

With the change of name it is hoped that the market will be able to more easily associate the cutting edge irrigation solutions that Lindsay NZ develop with Lindsay dealers where they can be purchased.

For any enquires contact Lindsay NZ on +64 6 212 0550. or email office.nz@lindsay.com.

Attention To Detail

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Image courtesy of Dairy Exporter, December 2014 issue

Varied soil types made irrigating and spreading effluent on Rangitata Island Dairy a challenging task. Farm owner Simon Johnson told Anne Lee how variable rate irrigation is helping create smart solutions to those challenges.

Read the full article here

Improving Irrigation on Hill Country Slopes

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Photo courtesy of Grafton Irrigation

Of New Zealand’s total land area, 37% is classified as hill country (land predominated by slopes between 16° and 25°), and more and more is being put under irrigation. The variable nature of this land makes irrigation management more challenging than the flat landscapes that many of the irrigation systems were initially designed to irrigate. Farmers need to consider the potential of run-off, both over the surface of the land and subsurface flow, when managing their irrigation.

However, measures can be taken and new tools used to greatly improve the efficiency of irrigation and reduce run-off. Beginning with simply assessing your farm and identifying irrigated areas which have a medium to high risk of run-off. The two critical factors contributing to the risk of run-off are slope angle, surface condition and the depth of soil, or the depth of soil to a limiting layer (limiting layer is defined as a layer which impedes water uptake by plant roots). The Sustainable Farming Fund – Hill Country Irrigation Project aims to produce guidelines for irrigating hill country landscapes. The project included a literature review and field trials conducted in North Otago, the results of both are available from the Irrigation NZ website. The final document outlining the guidelines will be published later this year.

The trials in North Otago, led by Carolyn Hedley (Landcare Research), showed that variable rate irrigation (VRI) could be used to mitigate against run-off occurring from high-risk areas. The trials involved retro-fitting a 490m centre-pivot with Lindsay’s Precision VRI technology. Water was also saved through varying irrigation to different land units using the Precision VRI system. By reducing irrigation to the south-facing slopes, hill-tops and excluding the swampy valley floors 27% less water was applied.

The natural variability of soil depth, drainage characteristics and effective available water holding capacity (AWC) in hill country environments means that under uniform irrigation some areas will be under-watered and other areas will be over-watered. Areas that are over-watered can result in drainage or run off.

The trials show that VRI addresses this problem as irrigation can be applied variably to maintain the correct soil moisture deficit for the whole area.

Precision VRI technology was developed in New Zealand by the team at Precision Irrigation and is available through Zimmatic Irrigation dealers.

Efficient Irrigation Workshops

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Build on your knowledge of soil water properties and the latest technologies allowing you to irrigate more effectively and efficiently at a free workshop this year. Topics covered by a panel of soil and irrigation experts include:
  • Soil water properties and variability in soils
  • Mapping variability within a paddock
  • Managing variability with irrigation
  • Soil moisture measurement equipment
  • Developments in remote monitoring, control and reporting tools

To register your interest to attend a workshop click here

Smart placement

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The Precision VRI online monitoring and reporting tool

Among soil’s powerful properties is the ability to filter effluent and extract the nutrients for the benefit of the pasture, micro-organisms and soil animals.

The ability to apply effluent across the land surface to promote pasture growth needs the right infrastructure.

Injecting effluent through spray irrigation systems allows for low rates to be applied with minimal manual input, making it a preferred method compared with other alternatives. Installing variable rate irrigation (VRI) technology on to your centre-pivot or lateral-move irrigator can transform that effluent dispersal system from sufficient to smart.

The difference VRI technology creates is the ability to vary application depths along the length of the irrigator to match the soil’s ability to retain the nutrients from the effluent.

Read the full article on Agri HQ

Efficient Irrigation Workshops

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Build on your knowledge of soil water properties and the latest technologies allowing you to irrigate more effectively and efficiently at a free workshop this winter. Topics covered by a panel of soil and irrigation experts include:
  • Soil water properties and variability in soils
  • Mapping variability within a paddock
  • Managing variability with irrigation
  • Soil moisture measurement equipment
  • Developments in remote monitoring, control and reporting tools
Workshop 1: Wednesday July 10th starting at 3pm at the Culverden Fire Brigade
Workshop 2: Tuesday July 16th starting at 3pm at the Papakaio Community Hall
Workshop 3: Thursday July 18th starting at 3pm at the Geraldine Rugby Clubrooms
Workshop 4: Wednesday July 31st starting at 3pm at the Tarras Hall

R.S.V.P’s required please, contact Sarah Wilson from Precision Irrigation for further details, dates and locations.

Sarah Wilson
Email: sarah@precisionirrigation.co.nz
Call: 021 811 266

FieldMAP Online Winter Promotion

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FieldMAP Online is the new and exciting irrigation management tool being developed by the team at Precision Irrigation. It is packed full of features to help you irrigate more efficiently including:
  • Check and control your irrigation from your smartphone, tablet or home computer
  • View when, where and how much irrigation, effluent and fertigation was applied
  • Fine tune your irrigation and change plans on the fly, using information on soil moisture, crop needs and weather forecasts
  • Soil moisture measurement equipment
  • And many more features in the pipeline. Try the demo!

Precision Irrigation is running a huge winter promotion giving you the opportunity to make the most of the benefits of FieldMAP Online with your Precision VRI system.

Receive a free wireless internet connection kit (standard kit normally $1339 +GST) and FieldMAP Online subscription when you order a Precision VRI system before July 31st 2013. All existing Precision VRI customers save up to 60% on wireless internet connection kits ordered before July 31st 2013. Contact your local Zimmatic dealer or click here for more details.

Precision Ag in the Limelight

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Craige & Roz Mackenzie with the Hon Nathan Guy - Minister for Primary Industries

Craige and Roz Mackenzie were crowned the National Winners at the 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards held last weekend in Hamilton.


The winner is recognised as an ambassador for the promotion of sustainable and profitable farming in New Zealand. Craige and Roz are enthusiastic proponents of Precision Agriculture, however they weren't the only farmers at the Sustainability Showcase using PA technology.

PA techniques were a feature among many of the contestants, with Precision Irrigation featuring in the presentation from Agri Optics clients, Mitchell and Webster Group representing the Otago region, farm management by soil type being a feature of the Horizon Supreme winners Curwen and Marija Hare and many of the other finalists operating under the "Measure, Monitor, Manage" philosophy for soil, pasture growth, effluent management and also crop, milk and meat yields. Our congratulations go not just to the National Winners but to all the Regional Winners who are all hugely innovative and pioneering farmers.

Image and article courtesy of Agri Optics

Technology Ensures Farm Production is Maximised in a Sustainable Manner

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The new FieldMAP Online irrigation management tool shows when, where and how much irrigation has been applied. Shown in the example screenshot is the Mackenzie’s pivot at Greenvale Pastures ltd.
The National Ballance Farm Environmental Award Winner for 2013 and the next holder of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy will be announced in Hamilton on the 22nd of June from the nine winners of the supreme regional awards. The Canterbury and Otago representatives are top producers in the arable industry and exceptional regional ambassadors.

Methven farmers, Craige and Roz Mackenzie, use of technology to maximise production in a sustainable manner helped them rise above the rest to win the Supreme title for the Canterbury region and book them a place in the final. Representing Otago are Jock Webster, Nick Webster and Peter Mitchell of the Mitchell Webster Group. The intensive cropping business spans 1380ha of arable land in North Otago and produces bird and animal feed. Topflite Ltd was formed by the group as part of a diversification strategy, and now sells around 1600 tonnes of birdseed mixes and associated products annually in Australasia.

“VRI has reduced our water use by 32% on average last season.”



The BFEA judges commended both winners for introducing technologies such as variable rate irrigation (VRI) to improve production and cost efficiency. “VRI has reduced our water use by 32% on average last season. The improved targeted application of our water has increased yield and profit while eliminating drainage from the root zone throughout the irrigation season. This has the benefit of not leaching nutrients beyond the root zone and into the groundwater. What’s good for the environment is proving good for our bottom line.” says Craige Mackenzie.

The undulating terrain typical in Northern Otago is known to be challenging to irrigate using traditional methods. Top soil depths ranging from 0cm to 80cm, significant slope changes and aspect are among the factors contributing to varying the irrigation requirements of the different areas under the pivot. “VRI enables you to variably apply water across the field avoiding under watering and over watering, saving water, maximising production and minimising run off and leaching, keeping the nutrients in the soil for the plants and out of the water ways.” says Peter Mitchell, who is very pleased with the results achieved after the first season of having the Precision VRI system installed.

Electromagnetic (EM) soil mapping has been used on both the farms to identify soil characteristics and spatially divide irrigated areas into management zones. Using the Precision VRI programming software the required application depth can be applied to each zone.

The Mackenzie’s use FieldMAP Online, a new web-based tool developed by Precision Irrigation to allow farmers to monitor their irrigator/s in real time, change irrigation plans remotely and view where and how much irrigation has been applied within any time period. This helps Craige easily manage switching between irrigation plans without having to trip to the control panel on the pivot. Try the FieldMAP Online demo to see the many features available.

“The use of Precision Agriculture provides us with accurate information which allows us to match inputs to the specific demands of the soil and plants that grow in it. The use of technology enables us to embrace sustainable intensive farming without impacting on the environment.” - Craige Mackenzie.



The BFEA judges say picking the National Winner of the Ballance Farm Environment Award will be as tough this year as any as all the regional winners have already demonstrated great commitment to the values of the awards and made a significant contribution in their region through economic, environmental, community and industry activities.

VRI Features at Massey University Fertiliser and Lime Research Centre conference

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EM Map, Agri Optics NZ LTD
Stu Bradbury, General Manager of Precision Irrigation spoke at the Massey University Fertiliser and Lime Research Conference in (February, 2013) and pointed out how accurate irrigation can help retain nutrients in soils.

Over irrigation causes ponding, runoff, and leaching. VRI combined with EM Mapping is a solution that allows the grower to identify areas that require different depths of irrigation and then apply the correct amount of irrigation to avoid over irrigation, increase yields, reduce pollution and save money.

A paper outlining the talk can be viewed here.

Smart Farming with Variable Rate Irrigation

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Carbon Farming Group
John and Sarah Wright welcome us to their dairy farm and talk candidly about the smart irrigation systems helping to maximise their farm profitability. The short 10 minute documentary is a great un-biased insight for anyone considering variable rate irrigation for their property.

John and Sarah openly discuss the drivers to purchase Precision VRI, their experiences adapting to using the computer to manage the systems, the limitations in their situation and where they see the opportunity for future development of the irrigation infrastructure on their farm. The YouTube video is the first in a series of videos on smart farming produced by the Carbon Farming Group in New Zealand.

Soaring Wheat Yields Attributed to Intelligent Farming

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Craige and Roz Mackenzie
Producing very high yield grain crops is dependent on getting all the variables right, and for Methven farmers Craige and Roz Mackenzie variable rate irrigation (VRI) is amongst the precision ag techniques helping that become a reality.

The Mackenzies’ have achieved yields of around 15 tonnes a hectare for the second year running with the new biscuit wheat variety Orator. Sown slightly earlier than usual winter wheats on March 25, 2012, this season’s Orator crop was harvested on February 3 at 14.9 tonnes/ha.

Precision VRI has been installed on two of their centre pivot irrigators, one on the couple’s 200ha arable farm and another on the adjacent 330ha, 1200-cow dairy farm in which they are 50-50 equity partners. The system is proving to be a massive advantage over conventional blanket rate spray irrigation.

“This is the first year of doing it [variable rate irrigation]. We’ve been saving between 24 and 50 per cent of our water, averaging about 31 per cent. But more importantly it’s driven yield,” he says.

“When times are tight and water restrictions come on it will allow us to carry on longer.”



Getting the protein levels of biscuit wheat right is important, as farmers receive a penalty for protein levels over 10 per cent. Putting enough water on to get a bigger crop helps keep the protein levels down. As Precision VRI allows the application depths to be varied along the length of the pivot, crops can be irrigated according to their exact requirements.

Crop variability can also be greatly reduced as irrigation can be refined to suit the differing soil types and variation in water requirements created by aspect and topography. VRI has eliminated over watering on the heaviest soil types which in turn has driven yield increases.

A significant volume of water can often be saved by using Precision VRI to avoid watering tracks, drains and unproductive areas of the farm, giving a reserve to be applied where it really is needed while eliminating any man-made drainage issues which has significant environmental benefits for the farm.

Mr Mackenzie said it was a very cheap investment because it would pay for the costs and get a return in the first year.

Precision Irrigation, the company that developed the Precision VRI system, has created an online calculator tool that can help farmers assess the potential of VRI on their property. Alternatively you could get one of the Precision Irrigation team to work through the calculator with you at the Lincoln Field days. The Precision Irrigation site will be in the covered marquee, site number C81.

Rationing Liquid Gold

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Image and article courtesy of Primary Magazine - November/December 2012
Irrigation is getting more high-tech and water efficient as time goes on – which is just as well, as access to the essential fluid gets more and more restricted and expensive. OWEN POLAND looks at the latest in on-farm water management in "Rationing Liquid Gold", the water management feature in the Primary Magazine November/December 2012. Read the full article

Farmers Expecting More Great Results this Season with Precision VRI

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Spring lambs (photo courtesy of Rangitikei Farmstay)
Spring is here and as many farmers are checking their irrigators are poised and ready for another season we’ve been getting some great feedback on the results achieved with Precision VRI, with excitement to improve these in the coming season. A farmer dealing with a consented maximum flow rate and multiple irrigators in Mid-Canterbury uses Precision VRI to optimise the irrigation of his crops. Precision VRI reduces the flow rate to the centre-pivot to allow rotorainers to be turned on whilst maintaining an average flow rate for the entire irrigation system. When the rotorainers have finished irrigating the VRI system can be switched to run at the maximum consented flow rate, applying the required irrigation depth as before, but at a faster ground speed. A North Canterbury dairy farm was very happy to let us know that he made a 20% saving on water and power by using Precision VRI to avoid irrigating tracks and non-productive areas. We appreciate this great feedback, and hope that Precision VRI can continue help save water and solve issues throughout the 2012/2013 irrigation season.

Precision Irrigation Rank Eleventh Equal on the 'Green 50' list

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New Zealand's first definitive list of companies making money improving the environment has just been launched by strategic research company New River, and Precision Irrigation ranked a fantastic 11th equal! The New River Green 50 list is the first of its kind in New Zealand and was developed from in-depth research that involved interviews with multiple managers in each of the 54 sectors of the economy. In total, 320 companies were short-listed and studied, and divided into two 'types' based on how they improve the environment and make money. 'Type One' companies are those that have a product, service or technology to improve the environment. Only Type One companies are on the Green 50 list because they meet the criterion, which is that their product, service or technology generates revenue improving the environment, and this makes up more than 50 per cent of their business. New River managing director Roger Parker said with a combined revenue of $1.1bn, the list demonstrated the value of the green economy in New Zealand. "In doing this research, we found that the individual companies on the Green 50 are growing at a phenomenal rate, on average 260% per annum. As a segment, the Green 50 grew at 15 times the speed of the New Zealand economy over the last year," he said. "What's more, the most companies were in agriculture, which means there are a lot of farmers buying products, services and technologies to improve the environment, something we hear little about. It's also encouraging to see the number and performance of larger companies that don't necessarily make the list because improving the environment is not their core business, but are still doing lots of incredible stuff in the sustainability space and improving their performance as a result." The full New River Green 50 database can be downloaded for free at New River's website.

New Zealand Dairy Farm Uses VRI to Maximise Pasture Production

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Variable rate irrigation has given Wainono Dairies the ability to apply water where it is most needed, when it is most needed with precision of application. The irrigation enhancement project has been a great success on the property with massive expected return on investment of 46% per year. As part owner John Wright suggests, “A figure not to be sniggered at.“ Precision Irrigation’s VRI technology has allowed 50 litres per second of irrigation water to be saved under the centre-pivots’ irrigated areas, which is redistributed to other parts of the farm. The savings came from avoiding watering 33ha of ineffective area (tracks, creeks, troughs and swamps) and the differential watering of the four soil zones. The redistributed water produced an additional 4320kg DM/day, which when extended over the year equates to 518,400 kg DM. The other benefits included reduced track maintenance costs as tracks are no longer being watered which in turn meant fewer lame cows, reduced nutrient run-off. Read the full article

Improved Irrigation Water Use Efficiency Trials

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Tahuna trial site in the Rangitikei, crop variability issues
MAF Sustainable Farming Fund trials, headed by Carolyn Hedley of Landcare Research, aim to compare the irrigation water use efficiency for uniform rate irrigation (URI) to variable rate irrigation (VRI) at three trial sites over two irrigation seasons (2011/2012). The trails are being run at Tahuna (arable/livestock) in the Rangitikei, Rangitata Holdings (arable) and Wainono Dairy Partnership both in the Canterbury region. Season one results of the improved irrigation water use efficiency trials indicate sustained crop and pasture yields under reduced water usage is achievable with a VRI Precision Irrigation system. The VRI system allows irrigation to be controlled to meet the requirements of the different soil zones. Therefore water can be saved where it is not needed, also saving money through reduced pumping costs. Hedley’s goal is to validate desk top studies indicating 15-20 percent irrigated water and associated pumping cost savings through the implementation of a VRI system without detriment to crop yield or milk production. Comparison trial plots were carefully chosen at each site to represent comparable growing conditions including soil variation and crop/pasture management practises. The three trial sites have been EM (electromagnetic) surveyed to characterise the soil variation under each irrigator. The available water holding capacities (AWC) for the different soils were then calculated by ground-truthing the EM survey results. Irrigation plans for the VRI zones were created using Precision Irrigation’s VRI programming software. Water meters were installed on all the properties to log water use. Yields were assessed through a combination of yield mapping and hand harvesting. The 75ha Rangitikei trial site consisted of excessively drained sand to imperfectly drained loamy sand areas. Variation was divided into three zones. Using VRI to irrigate to the variation in soils and keep water out of the drains produced water and pumping cost savings. Yield difference from VRI and URI trials was statistically insignificant. Hew Dalrymple, owner of Tahuna, was pleased with the results as previously the trial site was producing up to 4 tonne/ha less than his best crops. The extent of soil variation creates a huge challenge to set optimum URI rates across the crop, VRI eliminates this problem. The 174ha irrigated area at Wainono Dairies was divided into four zones based on variability in soils, water was able to be saved in areas where over-watering typically occurred. Pasture production was measured using a C-Dax pasture meter and was not compromised with the reduction in irrigated water. Rangitata Holdings near Ashburton grew wheat and beans under one of their lateral-move irrigators which was assessed for the purposes of the trial. The combination of Rakaia and Wakanui soils, including stony sandy loams and silt loams and contour of the paddock produces varying irrigation requirements across the length of the irrigator. Irrigation water use efficiency was improved in both crops through VRI, with a statistically insignificant difference in crop yield. If VRI water savings for the trial areas were extrapolated over the entire field, 1 million litres of water and associated pumping costs could be saved per day. The results presented in this report are provisional, trials are to continue over a second irrigation season this summer. Further details of the trials and findings of the project will be presented through literature and a series of field days run at the various trial sites. The field day at John Wright’s Fairlie property is being run on the 16th of February, kicking off at 11am, visit the DairyNZ website for more details (Variable Rate Irrigation Field Day - Fairlie).

Company Acquisition Announcement

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We are excited to announce that on the 3rd of November 2010 Lindsay International (ANZ) Pty Limited acquired the business of WMC Technology Limited, which included the trading divisions of Precision Irrigation and Wheresmycows.com Farm Mapping. The company will carry on operating as they have been, continuing to develop cutting edge farm mapping and irrigation products for the benefit of the farming industry. And, as always, will provide the high quality service which our customers have come to expect from us. Call the team today on 0800 GET MAP (0800 438 627) for any enquires.

Wheresmycows Farm Mapping and Precision Irrigation take out Supreme Award

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Straight Furrow December 7th 2010
After only 5 years in business, Manawatu based company WMC Technology Limited which encompasses two trading divisions (Wheresmycows.com Farm Mapping and Precision Irrigation) emerged to take out three separate awards at the Manawatu Business Awards, held in Palmerston North on Friday 19 November. The team's first appearance on stage to accept the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Innovation in the Manawatu Award was shortly followed another appearance to receive the ACC Workplace Safety Award and then at the end of the night, the Westpac Manawatu Supreme Award. WMC Technology started out as Wheresmycows.com Farm Mapping while directors Stu Bradbury and George Ricketts were studying engineering at Massey University. Since then, the company has grown to employ 7 full time staff (5 of whom studied together at Massey) and has taken on a further two summer students. Wheresmycows.com provides GPS and aerial photography farm mapping solutions to New Zealand, and exports their "Do It Yourself GPS farm Mapping kits" (which include a Garmin handheld GPS and Wheresmycows software) around the globe. Under the Precision Irrigation banner, the team has engineered a Variable Rate Irrigation system which controls every sprinkler individually on a centre-pivot or lateral move irrigator to combat variability in soil wet and dryness under a machine that would otherwise apply a uniform amount of water everywhere. This control is based on the Wheresmycows.com Farm Mapping software and is becoming popular in New Zealand, as well as being exported to the USA, Australia and South Africa.

Precision Irrigation Takes out Irrigation NZ’s inaugural innovation award

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Irrigation Award Irrigation NZ’s inaugural innovation award, in association with WaterForce, has been won by Precision Irrigation for their variable rate irrigation (VRI) system. The Precision Irrigation variable rate control system for centre pivot and linear move irrigators gives total control of where water is applied beneath the irrigator. With remote programming and monitoring through the easy to use software interface and an advanced system controlling every sprinkler on the irrigator, water is applied at varying rates only where necessary. Water and pumping costs are saved and the irrigator will run to maximum efficiency. Feilding-based Precision Irrigation began developing a VRI system in 2006. The system went through various stages of design and testing until the first prototype was installed on a dairy farm in 2008 with the aim being to keep water off the cow tracks. Since then 12 VRI systems have been installed nationally. The mapping software runs on farm PC and takes many forms of a farm map including maps drawn from GPS, aerial photography or Google Earth. The irrigator’s specifications are loaded into the mapping software and then the areas are drawn on the map and programmed for how much water they are to receive. A programme is then generated and loaded into the VRI controller on the irrigator with the irrigator using GPS to determine its position and using a wireless network of control nodes turns on, off, or pulses valves individually for every sprinkler. More than 3000 pivot and lateral sprinkler systems have been installed in NZ since 1997, irrigating an area of about 300,000ha and Bradbury believes 30-50% of these centre pivot irrigators could be retrofitted with VRI to provide immediate economic benefit to the famer with potential water and power savings estimated to be 10-20% using VRI to address the variable soil types. Precision Irrigation had taken the concept of VRI and produced a package that can be fitted at installation or retrofitted to any existing centre-pivot or linear irrigator. They are supplying VRI systems to irrigation installers and plan to continue the development of the VRI system while providing support to existing customers.

Variable Rate Irrigation - Massey University Defining NZ 2010 fielddays issue

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DefiningNZ field days 2010 (Not whole article)
Traditionally, centre pivot irrigators have been a somewhat blunt instrument - delivering a uniform amount of water to the land whether it needs it or not. This has led to losses in both terms of production - crops can't grow in a bog - and unnecessary water loss. Now, a group of current and former Massey students are changing that. Research by a Massey PhD student has helped a Manawatu company, Precision Irrigation, lanuch its variable rate irrigation system, which will provide farmers with the ability to precisely target their water use. Part of the system was devised by Dr Carolyn Hedley at the Centre for Precision Agriculture in the Institue of Natural Resources. Her reaserch coincided with development work being carried out by two former Massey graduates Stuart Bradbury and George Ricketts. Their company, Precision Irrigation, has developed the system that can deliver variable applications of water under a centre pivot irrigator. The system incorporates more sophisticated control of the irrigator through a simple-to-use interface that can utilise the scientific knowledge created through the PhD research. Water application is matched to the exact requirements of the soil. The system creates a detailed map of the soil that indicates the soil's ability to absorb and hold water for plant use. These maps often show that soil is variable so uniform application may be wasteful in many areas, while being insufficient in others. Hedley says that the soil's available water holding cpacity is derived from an electro-magnetic surveying method. Centre Associate Professor Ian Yule says centre pivots have become the main method of irrigation because they are much easier to manage than other systems, but they are terribly inflexible. "You are very limited if you want to grow different crops under the same irrigator, simply avoid irrigation on non-productive areas under it, or respond to variations in water demand," he says. "What Precision Irrigation has done is produce a system that overcomes all these difficulties; add Carolyn's work to this and we now have a system that can match water application to variable soils." Bradbury says, "Interest is growing, we've had feedback from farmers who have installed the system, one farmer saying it has saved him $50,000 in potential lost crop in just one season... Another dairy farmer, who installed a system worth $30,000 says he's saving about $10,000 a year." Case studies indicate that not only does the system lower water use, it reduces drainage and has the potential to reduce leaching from agricultural land. "Variable rate irrigation can reduce a farm's water, nutrient and carbon footprints," Yule says. "It's a win - win, creating better financial outcomes while improving our environmental performance."