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Grower Insights with Adam McVeigh
Location: Darling Downs, Australia
Acres: 1,700 dryland & irrigated
Crops: Cotton, corn, sorghum, barley & wheat
Irrigation: Converted from flood to pivot
Converting from flood to pivot irrigation.
Multi-generational grower Adam McVeigh, a respected leader and advocate in his community, recently earned the title of Darling Downs (Australia) Cotton Grower of the Year because of his innovations around the farm and commitment to water and energy improvements.
McVeigh grows cotton, corn, sorghum, barley, wheat and occasionally mungbeans or chickpeas on his 1729-acre (700-ha) dryland and irrigated farm in Darling Downs, a world-famous cropping area in Australia.
“I have been flood irrigating all my life and although we have achieved good results with flood, the benefits and flexibility that comes with overhead irrigators couldn't be overlooked.”
One of his properties has been completely flooded twice in the past four seasons, prompting him to rethink his reliance on a single annual irrigated summer crop.
As a result, McVeigh started growing winter grain (wheat or barley) and double cropping with a late-planted summer grain (sorghum or maize) around winter on the same center-pivot irrigated paddock.
How Adam increased efficiency.
The government was offering to pay 80% of the cost of an infrastructure upgrade that would include converting from flood irrigation to water-efficient Zimmatic® pivots from Lindsay in exchange for some of McVeigh’s water allocation.
To get the funds, McVeigh had to apply and prove that he would save water for growers downstream to use. “I showed that we could save 149,800 gallons/acre (1.4 million liters/ha), which is 20%.” McVeigh used the funding to purchase two Zimmatic corner arm center pivots, and one hose drag lateral. “The brand of irrigator came down to where I was going to get the best, most reliable service and backup.”
If it's remotely possible, Adam can do it.
“I already had a Valley® pivot, but made the switch to all Zimmatic pivots and FieldNET remote irrigation management,” said McVeigh. “I changed the Valley machine to a Zimmatic control panel. Rather than having different operating systems, it made sense to change it all over."
McVeigh’s furthest field is a two-hour drive from his home. To gain time, alert him to potential issues, and make data-driven decisions that guide his water usage, he placed his entire irrigation system on FieldNET.
“All of the machines are operated with FieldNET from my iPhone. I regularly start and stop the center pivots without seeing the machines. I have soil moisture probes linked to telemetry and also a Lindsay weather station with FieldNET that helps me to schedule irrigation and monitor rainfall so I can turn off the machines over the phone before they get bogged.” In addition to accessing his operation remotely, McVeigh relies on his trusted workers and the local Lindsay dealer.
Lindsay helps keep it all under control.
McVeigh's farming operation is supported by Broadacre Irrigation of Goondiwindi, Queensland. Dealer support is a primary reason why McVeigh made the conversion to Zimmatic. “It really came down to who was going to provide the big backup for me. We went with the Zimmatic pivot option and I’ve been happy with the equipment. It’s knowing that when you’ve got an issue, you can get on the phone and get a hold of somebody who really knows what they’re talking about. I have that confidence going forth with the the Lindsay dealer network.”
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