Case study: raindancer sector adjustment
Anyone that is familiar with the irrigation business knows what that means: There are many reasons why the pressure on the water cannons may suddenly drop and why the farmer only notices that it has not been running a few hours later. Another challenge that farmers have to face is being at the sprinkler at the end of the process to move it to the next lane. An individual irrigation cycle usually lasts several hours. However farmers often arrive at the sprinkler too early or too late and waste their valuable time as they then have to wait for it to finish. Sometimes, the irrigation system may accidentally tip over for whatever reason. This accident causes an enormous amount of damage and loss which, in a best case scenario, can be remedied with a tractor and front loader.
When faced with this challenge, Heiner Hundeling turned to NEXT Farming who offered the perfect solution with the raindancer. The interface with the NEXT Farming Field Card Index made it possible to import the fields directly into the raindancer portal with just a few clicks. This made it much easier to get started with the new software.
Now Heiner Hundeling can see exactly where his sprinklers are all the time, with what pressure and how many metres per second they irrigate. If the pressure does not move within the specified range, the raindancer portal automatically sends an SMS to him and his team. In addition, the raindancer also has a tilt sensor. A warning SMS is also sent to pre-defined mobile phones as soon as a sprinkler carriage tips over. The person using the raindancer can also opt to be informed about the exact time that the sled arrives at the sprinkler carriage. These convenient functions alone are what made Heiner Hundeling want to invest around € 1300 in this technology.
„Being able to keep an eye on my sprinkler at all times helps me to sleep better at night.”
The raindancer can do much more: Heiner Hundeling’s fields lie directly next to the River Hase. As such, many of his field boundaries are not straight and in the past he has worried that he has been unable to irrigate his headlands evenly like the rest of the field. This is exactly why NEXT Farming now offers automatic sector adjustment with the raindancer. This automatically adjusts the sector to the shape of the field boundary. This means that the sprinkler can be moved right up to the field boundary. The sector adjustment also makes sure that the sprinkler does not irrigate outside of the field boundary. Not only is this function practical for the headlands, but it also prevents the unwanted irrigation of landscape features, streets or residential areas.
The special “Irrigation in front of the hose reel” option ensures that the sprinkler switches to 360° irrigation a specific number of metres before reaching the target. This way, both the area in front of the hose reel and the headlands are evenly irrigated. If the hose reel is controlled via a GSM modem with a configurable feed speed, then the raindancer can also adjust the speed to the sector to be irrigated. This guarantees an even irrigation even with variable sectors. This function has not yet been used on Mr Hundeling’s farm, as his hose reel control system does not yet have this function.
However, he plans to expand his irrigation system in this direction as he already uses TF Basic Maps (satellite maps) from NEXT Farming for soil sampling and for site-specific fertilisation and maize sowing. “I’m not too far from using section-specific irrigation on my farm now,” says Hundeling. He thinks that his almost € 3000 investment in sector adjustment will pay off quickly as his fields will now be irrigated evenly.
„What’s more, the water now reaches every corner of my fields!”