Zimmatic Blog

Switching to a Center Pivot? Adding an Irrigation Scheduling Tool? EQIP May Help.

Jan 5, 2022

Switching to a Center Pivot? Adding an Irrigation Scheduling Tool? EQIP May Help.

A well-designed center pivot system applies the correct amount of water to crops and soil at precisely the right time, particularly when used in conjunction with irrigation scheduling technology.

Lindsay FieldNET Sales Specialist Quinn Charling says switching to center pivot technology results in greater water efficiency, yield enhancement, cost savings, reliability and precision – and offers growers greater peace of mind.

“Converting flood irrigation to center pivot irrigation will help improve your farm,” Charling says. “You’ll use water more efficiently since flood irrigation results in quite a bit of water not being used as intended. By contrast, 90% of the water in center pivot technology is used as intended. The water savings associated with converting to center pivot technology can further be increased by incorporating some degree of automation, which is simple with a tool like FieldNET Advisor.”

The EQIP Program Can Help Cover Costs

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial and technical assistance to growers to help, among other things, conserve ground and surface water, reduce soil erosion, and increase soil health.  The USDA’s recognized irrigation practice standards call out the conservation benefits of switching from flood-based irrigation to center pivot irrigation, as well as adding a cloud-based remote telemetry irrigation scheduling tool to your new or existing pivot system.

The program is voluntary and can be applied to at a local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office. Through EQIP, NRCS provides growers financial resources and consulting on how to improve conservation and sustainability in their operations. The levels of assistance for various irrigation equipment or practices vary by state, so it is important that growers interested in exploring EQIP funding reach out to their local NRCS office.

Additional benefits of participating in EQIP include:

  • Reduced contamination from agricultural sources.
  • More efficient use of nutrients.
  • Increased soil health.

Charling says the cost-sharing aspect of the program can help growers who are thinking of implementing center pivot irrigation and/or a remote irrigation scheduling tool.

“My biggest piece of advice for growers is to go in and talk with your local NRCS office. Walk through what you want to do and they will help you figure out the best way to access cost-share dollars to help you get there.”

Supercharge Efficiency with FieldNET

Every Zimmatic center pivot has FieldNET hardwired into it, and the first year’s cellular-based subscription is included cost-free.

“FieldNET includes remote telemetry, which allows growers to control pivots and start and shut off wells remotely,” says Charling. “The benefit is greater control over your systems in less time. It just takes efficiency to the next level and makes your entire operation more efficient.”

Nearly all FieldNET subscriptions include FieldNET with WaterTrend, a feature that provides a 7-day water outlook based on field-specific forecasted rainfall amounts, crop growth stage and crop water usage information, adds Charling. Growers can see trends in how their crops are using water, enabling them to make better, data-driven decisions on when and how much irrigation is needed.

At any time, growers can take their irrigation management to the next level and upgrade to FieldNET Advisor to receive daily, automated irrigation recommendations – including the ability to account for multiple crop types and planting dates, incorporate satellite imagery, further customize the irrigation parameters, and receive continuously updated variable-rate irrigation prescriptions.

“If you’ve been thinking about changing your operations to include center pivot irrigation or remote irrigation scheduling, now could be the perfect time,” says Charling.

Visit your local NRCS office today to find out what cost-sharing resources may be available to you.

Advocating for Growers and Sustainability

On September 15, 2021, legislation was introduced to Congress under the Precision Agriculture Loan (PAL) Act. This is a bipartisan effort to expand accessibility of tools to boost production and reduce inputs.  The PAL Act would establish the Precision Agriculture Loan program within USDA’s Farm Service Agency and would offer low-cost and long-term loans to agriculture producers who want to adopt precision agriculture technologies.

Lindsay supports this initiative and others that helps farmers leverage cutting-edge and sustainable technologies to improve productivity while also taking care of their land and precious resources.

“Lindsay supports further investment to support our rural farmers who rely on connected technology to improve efficiency and productivity. Water is a precious resource, and we should take every opportunity to implement the tools needed to improve data reliability in rural areas, supporting increased yields and water conservation,” said Randy Wood, Lindsay Corporation’s President and CEO. 

The World Economic Forum estimates that if just a quarter of the world’s farms adopted precision agricultural practices, farm yields globally could increase by 15%. Greenhouse gas emissions and water use would decrease by 10% and 20%, respectively. Lindsay is committed to using our resources and voice to advance legislation at all levels and advocate for programs like EQIP to help growers thrive and advance sustainability. Stay tuned for updates as they develop.