Monday, January 25, 2010

Rice Update for Valley Center Pivots and Linears

ANTHESIS courtesy of Agroecosystems Research Group

Brazil - early planted fields are in anthesis and in general weed control looks good.  In the production fields, Dr. Concenco reports no disease pressure, but there is some blast impacting different varieties in the plots.  The last planted field is in V4.  No fields are reporting any concerns with the wheel tracks under the center pivots.   The rains slowed toward the end of the week and three fields received between 8 to 9mm of irrigation late in the week.   Soil moisture content remains very high with dificients of less than 20% in all areas.  If there are no rains, all fields will be irrigating this week.

Last, but certainly not least, let me introduce the Circles for Rice team members helping with sales efforts.  While all Valmont Irrigation Territory Managers are helping with sales, we have a a group that help specifically as part of the Rice Team.

Olivier Andre based out of Spain and travels western Africa as the Territory Manager.  Olivier has many years of experience with irrigation and developing irrigation projects.  A number of countries in which he travels have interest in irrigating rice with center pivots and/or linears due to water shortages or infrastructure challenges.

Ray Batten, based out of Texas, is the Territory Manager for California and key accounts in the U.S.   Currently, Ray is spending time studying rice production in California to see how center pivots and/or linears can fit into that market, which has some serious water challenges.  Ray owned an irrigation dealership before joining Valmont.

Sid Cameron, based out of Georgia,USA, is the Territory Manager for the southeast United States; these states produce the most rice in the country.  Sid has a wealth of experience, including working for a Valley dealership for many years before joing Valmont.  Some areas of his territory are having areas where water is becoming limited.

Philipp Schmidt-Holzmann is the Territory Manager for a group of countries in the Middle East and is based out of the United Arab Emirates.  Philipp has worked with irrigation on three continents and has many years of experience developing irrigation projects.  All of the countries he works with are facing great concern about water supplies and maintaining current levels of crop production.

We welcome comments and questions.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Valley Team Rice Update

In Brazil, it has continued to be a growing season with much higher than average rainfall.  Rainfall across the rice under pivots has ranged between 586mm to 801mm since the crop was planted.  The most irrigation any pivot has applied is 100mm, mostly applied early in the season to germinate the crop.  Other fields have had between 36mm to 57mm applied so far this growing cycle.  All fields but one, which was planted late, are in the reproductive stage.  As reported a few weeks ago, fungicide was applied for blast and that is the only application to date.  With the heavy rains, it will be interesting to see how the crop finishes.  Several of the fields have experienced flooding in various parts.

To continue with the introductions to the Valley Circles for Rice Team, this week I would like to highlight the marketing team, which is all based out of Nebraska.  I will illustrate the sales personnel next week.

Sara Sims, Marketing Communications Manager, is responsible for coordinating not only the marketing efforts for rice in the United States and Canada but also the Valley product line.  Included in her work are press releases, marketing bulletins, brochures, and advertising, among other duties.  She also actively participates in many of the farm shows in the U.S.  In addition, Sara works to collect pictures of center pivots and linears irrigating a variety of crops.

Michelle Stolte, International Irrigation Marketing Materials Manager, leads the Go-to-Market team for rice and in many ways has responsibilities similar to Sara's, with the focus being on the international side of Valmont Irrigation.  Michelle supports the regional offices and dealers with press releases, marketing bulletins and brochures.  Michelle is active on the farm show circuit and some of you may have met her at the USA Rice Conference in December.

Kelly Cackin, International Marketing Coordinator, is focused on creating, updating, and maintaining much of the web material, along with helping to create and update marketing bulletins and brochures.  Kelly has started and developed most of the online tools being used.  In addition, among other items, Kelly proofs the rice blog and reviews most presentations for grammatical and design errors.  She also is responsible for the 2010 rice calendar and regional office online training.  Kelly will also assist in writing weekly blog posts, beginning in 2010.

 Have a great week; my next post will be up next week!  We welcome all questions and comments!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Welcome to the 2010 rice production season

I hope you have enjoyed the holiday season and have had a chance to relax and spend time with family and friends.  Now it is time to get back to work!

In Brazil, the rice under the center pivots continues to develop well.  The rains have continued and little irrigation with the center pivots has been required since early in the season to help germinate the crop.  Those using traditional flood irrigation must keep pumping water to maintain the flood over the field, while the growers using center pivots do not have to continue to pump and can take the benefit from the rainfall to maximize overall water use efficiency.  One goal we are looking at is to produce 1mt/ha of rice for each 100mm of total available water - effective rain and irrigation.

The Valley Rice Team continues to review potential rice projects and provide recommendations on irrigation equipment and production.

Who is the Valley Rice Team? 
Let me take a minute to introduce the technical part of the team to you.  Next week, I will introduce the members in sales and marketing.

Dr. Germani Concenco, Brazil-based Agronomist, has a number of years of experience in rice field and plot trials and  manages the Valmont Irrigation plot and field trials in Brazil.  He also advises a group of farmers with commercial rice fields under center pivots.  In addition to this, Dr. Concenco reviews project data from around the world and offers suggestions primarily related to variety selection, weed and disease control, and general production information.

Kelly Downing, Nebraska-based Irrigation Specialist, spent ten years with a university working on research projects for a variety of crops focused on irrigation management prior to joining Valmont Industries where he has worked in the fields of Service, Product Management, and Sales.  Kelly focuses on developing projects in irrigation field management and helping to develop recommendations on flowrates for the rice projects.  Kelly has spent time in several countries setting up soil moisture monitoring equipment and training in irrigation management techniques.

Jerry Gerdes, Nebraska-based Water Application Product Manager contributes years of experience from his time working sprinkler manufacturer prior to joining Valmont Industries.  Currently working with different sprinkler manufacturers, Jerry develops the recommendations for the optimum water application package for a grower's operation.

I am Jake LaRue, Nebraska-based Director of Product and Project Support, and I have spent time in a number of different countries designing, installing, and managing startup of irrigation projects for a variety of different crop production systems.  My focus for the rice project is on coordinating the activities of the Valley Rice Team, and research projects with different universities, field research trials, and commercial production projects.

Comments and questions are welcome!