Top Three Benefits of Using Control Panels with Your Pivots
Apr 20, 2020
For generations, the traditional approach to farming has been the status quo. Farmers would have to rely only on inspections to know what is going on in their fields and operating pivots was a process that required all hands on deck, which consumed a lot of time. Is there a way to modernise this age-old practise? Indeed, there is and the solution comes in the form of smart pivot control panels.
Control panels have always been used on pivots. New smart control panels are, however, revolutionising the way in which pivot irrigation is done. These devices can drastically reduce water consumption and lead to savings in time and labour.
In fact, a recent study found that when using certain control panels as part of an integrated irrigation operation, farms can improve their irrigation optimisation by almost 22%. Case studies have also shown that farms using smart control panels also see, on average, a 15-20% saving in water use, seeing as they provide access to in-field data that can be used to create even more strategic irrigation plans. By ensuring better yields, more profit is, of course, generated too.
Based on our analysis on the facts, adding a smart control panel to your operation ought to be essential. We base this conclusion on three main benefits they offer: (1) They put a grower in full control of their pivots, (2) Tracking the status of pivots and gathering irrigation data is quick and easy, and (3) they can ‘upgrade’ an older pivot, thereby renewing a farmer’s initial investment.
They give you full control of your pivots - Typically, making changes to the speed, direction and irrigation mode of a pivot is a very manual task. Usually involving a small team of workers who would need to be mobilised to adjust the operation of the pivot in question. This process is labour intensive and time-consuming. The pivot has to be started and switched off by hand, meaning that a grower will need to mobilise his workforce at least twice a day to tend to one pivot.
Smart control panels remove the need for this kind of physical human intervention to start basic processes on a pivot. By using one of these panels, farmers can automate the starting and shutting down of a pivot at set times. There is thus no need to manually go to the equipment to do this, freeing up time and lessening the already high load on labour. Control panels also allow a farmer to easily change the direction, speed and
irrigation mode of a pivot with the click of a button. So when a farmer does visit his equipment and see that a change needs to be made, he can do it by himself in a matter of seconds.
Control panels can also be controlled remotely from a mobile phone or smartphone. So even if a grower is not physically able to tend to his fields, he can still ensure that his operation runs smoothly with the click of a button.
Growers are able to track the status of their pivots, remotely - Another common problem that farmers face is that they do not know if their pivots have incurred a problem until they pay a physical visit to the field and perform an inspection. We recognise that farmers enjoy and must visit their fields, but having an idea of what is going on in them even when not physically there avoids nasty surprises. If a pivot has been out of operation due to some or other fault, a farmer might have lost hours worth of valuable irrigation and would have had no way of knowing until he got there.
Smart control panels offer a solution. Thanks to state-of-the-art technology, these control panels constantly monitor a pivot’s operation and progress when it is completing a cycle. If it encounters a problem along the way, it will immediately notify the grower wirelessly via text message. This will also only happen if the problem requires human intervention - if it is something that the panel can solve on its own, it will do so to ensure that no time is lost while irrigating.
By using a control panel, a farmer will be able to know exactly when to go to his field to tend to issues that require his expertise. In this way, very little to almost no irrigation time is lost. In turn, this leads to better yields and increased profits.
Newer control panels are also capable of creating irrigation reports on demand that show data from each irrigation cycle that it has completed in a certain time period. This data can be highly valuable to a farmer so that he can improve his irrigation operation even further when planning his next cycle.
Add smart features to any pivot, no matter age or brand - Certain high quality control panel’s, like the Zimmatic control panel range, can be retrofitted to any brand of pivot, no matter its age. A pivot that has been serving a farmer for years can thus be ‘upgraded’ at a low cost by simply adding a new piece of technology to it, thereby renewing the value of the investment into the farm.
Smart features that control panels offer are abilities like irrigation scheduling. With this capability, a farmer can set a schedule that the panel follows on when and how to irrigate the field a pivot is on. With this feature, a field requires even less attention from the farmer, because the irrigation process is further automated.
Panels can also be integrated with advanced irrigation monitoring and recommendation systems. Zimmatic panels, for instance, can work with FieldNET-advisor, an award-winning platform that collects data from equipment in a farmer’s fields, like from his panels, to generate irrigation plans. These plans can be implemented remotely, thanks to a panel's wireless functionality.
New control panels on the market
While there are few newer control panels on the market, Zimmatic has been perfecting and improving its panels for years. They are proud to announce a brand new set of control panels. These next generation panels are already setting the latest industry-standard in the irrigation field. The new panels showcase breakthrough technology and unparalleled ease of use. They were designed with one goal in mind: to optimise your farm’s irrigation operation.
The new panels are available in three models, the 500C, 700C and the 712C, meaning that there is an ideal option for every grower. Each panel boasts over-the-air serviceability and is FieldNET-ready.
For more information on our new control panels, visit our website by clicking here. On our website, you can also locate your nearest dealer to order your panel. Alternatively, call Lindsay Africa on 021 986 8900.