Zimmatic Blog

5 Benefits of using irrigation remote control

Apr 6, 2022

5 Benefits of using irrigation remote control

Or are you constantly trying to make sure that you use resources like water as optimally as possible when planning your next irrigation strategy? Automated, remote irrigation can lead to a 73% increase in the efficiency of a farmer’s irrigation operation when compared to manual irrigation, according to a study.

Technology has made it possible for growers to optimize the irrigation operation that they run on their fields. Using highly advanced software and state-of-the-art equipment, farmers now have the ability to irrigate their fields with the click of a button from anywhere in the world, eliminating the challenges that farmers face in terms of time, labour capacity and diligent planning.

Remote irrigation is a surefire way of using technology to assist farmers with the optimal management of their fields. Lindsay has compiled a list of the top 5 benefits of remote irrigation and how they can make an impact on a farmers’ yield and profitability.

1. Save time

Seeing as remote irrigation allows growers to monitor, control and manage their irrigation systems from a smartphone or laptop, they end up having to make less frequent trips to their fields. These fewer trips to the field translate into time that a farmer saves and can use effectively to complete other tasks or by spending some time with their family.

Remote irrigation software is intuitively designed to notify farmers of any errors with their equipment, so the need for regular physical inspections is kept to a minimum. Farmers thus have the freedom to stay in control of their irrigation operation and manage their pivots with virtually no interruption to their daily schedule. When they do need to make a trip to their pivots, they do so because it is essential and they know that the equipment requires their attention.

Automation is a key part of remote irrigation. This feature enables a pivot to be switched on or off automatically, based on a schedule that a farmer can load onto their remote irrigation software. Irrigation plans can also be generated by these programs so that a farmer can have scientifically calculated plans implemented on their fields with the click of a button. In this way, a farmer also ends up saving time as they no longer need to calculate what the irrigation strategy of the day should be by hand.

2. Store and keep a log of your irrigation data

Traditionally, a farmer would have no way of accurately storing his irrigation data. To try and do so would mean that the grower would need to manually keep track of the amount of water one irrigation cycle has used and measure the land they are irrigating by hand. Furthermore, if a farmer had gone to the extra labour of collecting these data fields, they would then need to manually fill it into a spreadsheet on a computer and store it on a local computer. Apart from the massive amount of effort it takes to collect and store irrigation data this way, human errors could also slip in and jeopardise the reliability of the data.

Remote irrigation, however, offers farmers a convenient and reliable alternative. It allows farmers to store irrigation plans and data in the cloud. A farmer thus has a log of the data from all the previous irrigation cycles their pivots completed, making it easy to go back in time to view and repeat certain strategies.

Of course, having a complete irrigation log also enables farmers to make better-informed decisions when it comes to their current or future harvests. Growers can analyse the historical data to see certain trends in their fields and plan accordingly. Seeing as this data is saved in the cloud, farmers can access it from anywhere using any smart device or laptop that has an internet connection.

The fact that remote irrigation software stores irrigation data is what enables the program to generate accurate irrigation plans and recommendations that a farmer can choose to implement.

3. Use resources sparingly

In certain parts of Europe the immense droughts are leading to crop failures and potential financial ruin for many growers. In fact, the World Economic Forum estimates that Europe could face severe droughts every second summer, which has devastating effects on agriculture.

Farmers in drought-stricken countries are currently faced with the seemingly impossible challenge of coming up with solutions on how to effectively manage the little water they have available. This means that every drop of water needs to be perfectly calculated and used in order for farmers to ensure that they produce successful yields now and in the future.

Remote irrigation offers a viable solution to growers by means of its capability to produce personalised irrigation recommendations and plans. The software takes the amount of available resources into account when it generates these suggestions. This way, farmers have peace of mind knowing that they can easily implement science-based irrigations strategies that make use of the little water that they have at their disposal as effectively as possible.

When using remote irrigation, a farmer can also cut save labour and time, seeing as the need for visual inspections and human intervention on pivots and other irrigation equipment is reduced significantly.

4. Improved communication with roleplayers on farm

Usually, a grower would have to plan a route to make regular checks on his irrigation equipment. Should an error occur today and a farmer is only scheduled to pay a physical visit to his pivot tomorrow, valuable time is wasted because there was no way that they could have known about the issue as soon as it happened. For instance, if water supply to a pivot has become interrupted, a farmer would traditionally not know about this fault until they physically visits the pivot in question or until one of their teams stumbles upon the issue and manages to get ahold of the farmer to report it. The pivot could have been out of operation for hours, leading to valuable irrigation time being wasted.

Seeing as remote irrigation software can pinpoint errors on irrigation equipment and notify a grower when human intervention is unavoidable, they can effectively apply their teams to address the issue. Farmers no longer need to spend time finding the fault and locating the exact piece of equipment that needs attention. In this way, farmers can communicate efficiently with the roleplayers working in their fields to streamline their irrigation operation.

5. Advanced features and capabilities

A grower would typically have to invest a lot of time and energy into compiling irrigation reports. As explained above, the collection of data when a grower has a manual irrigation system is tedious and leaves room for human errors to slip in. A farmer would also have to make time to plan his irrigation schedule. Each irrigation cycle needs to be calculated by hand and farmers have to make use of all sorts of mathematical equations in order to come up with the best possible strategy for a particular day.

Remote irrigation software features an intelligent design which allows for certain advanced capabilities like irrigation scheduling, intuitive custom recommendations and constant equipment monitoring. This removes the need for a grower to go about the time-consuming task of collecting data and having to spend hours on end working out what the best irrigation plan for the day should be.

Some of the other capabilities that remote irrigation has are that it can create real-time reports on irrigation progress which allow farmers to plan their harvest timelines more accurately. These programs are fully integrated systems, meaning that a farmer's online portal can be accessed from any device, whether that be a laptop or a smartphone using an app that can be downloaded from their app store.

The advanced design of these systems provide for a user-friendly experience. At the same time, the platforms are easy to use and minimal training is required for a grower to be able to reap the full benefits of remote irrigation.

Implementing remote irrigation on your farm

Lindsay offers remote irrigation through our award-winning FieldNET platform.

FieldNET puts a grower in total control of their irrigation operation. With this software, a farmer can manage his equipment, get real-time updates on the status of his pivots and execute irrigation plans that FieldNET calculates based on the conditions of each unique field. FieldNET can be accessed through an app that can be installed on most smartphones and via a state-of-the-art web portal from a laptop or computer. What’s more, is that FieldNET is designed to work on any brand of pivot.