Moultrie Observer

Local News

July 12, 2012

High-tech irrigation monitors weather, warns against thieves

MOULTRIE — Talk about high tech. Have you seen any of the latest innovations in farm irrigation? We’re talking about units that monitor the weather and warn farmers against theft of their property.

For the second year in a row, a Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition sponsor announced the donation of a new irrigation unit during the annual Field Day tour.

Mike Mills, district manager for Deshler, Neb.-based Reinke Manufacturing Co., said that the new center-pivot irrigation unit puts the total invested by the company in Moultrie at $150,000.

“We’re going to be replacing an aging center pivot with a new machine,” he said.

Like the unit donated last year, the new unit will include efficiency features, including the ability to monitor weather conditions and customize water applications. For example, it can be programmed to shut down during rain storms to conserve water.

It also features an end gun that can be programmed not to water non-crop areas.

Mills said that the company also is addressing a concern throughout much of the country — the theft of copper wire that costs farmers thousands of dollars. Irrigation units can be customized with alarms that alert either the farmer or law enforcement to potential thefts.

Reinke, formed in 1954, is one of the longest consecutive exhibitors at Expo, and has been coming to Moultrie each October for more than 30 years, Mills said.

About 400 people attended Thursday’s event, said Chip Blalock, Expo executive director. Field Day brings in farmers, agribusiness people, agriculture teachers and county extension agents.

This year there were 42 stations, where company representatives and researchers discussed new seed varieties and other technology.

“That’s a significant increase,” Blalock said. “Last year we had about 34.”

That growth was good and bad, as the tour took significantly longer this year, he said.

“We’ve got so many stops it really strings out the morning,” he said. “We’ve got to find a way to streamline that.

“The good thing is farmers can come in and gather information ant take it back to their farms and hopefully improve their bottom lines.”


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