Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Center Pivot News Article

Online newspaper The Fence Post recently posted an article about the history of the center pivot.  The article illustrates the life of inventor Frank Zybach, the inventor of the first center pivot mechanized irrigation machine.

"Like tractors, center pivot irrigation is one of the staples of modern-day agriculture.  The Irrigation Association calls the center pivot irrigation system 'without a doubt the greatest advancement in agriculture since the McCormick reaper.'  The Scientific American says that center pivot is 'perhaps the most significant mechanical innovation in agriculture since the replacement of draft animals by the tractor.'"

To read the article in its entirety, please visit The Fence Post.

With the goal of conserving water, as well as various other resources, Valmont Irrigation is the worldwide leader in mechanized irrigation sales, service, quality, and technological expansion since its founding.  The Nebraska, USA-based company remains dedicated to providing novel solutions now and well into the future.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Circles for Rice | Weekly Update

United States

The rice under the center pivots continues to develop well.  Currently, the growth stages range from 2 leaf to 5 leaf (first tiller).  Most fields have received nitrogen, either dry Urea or 28% liquid.  Most growers are using the center pivots to apply the 28% liquid nitrogen; in most cases, the application includes sulfur.

In the past week, rainfall varied from approximately 1/2" to 2".

While soil moisture is excellent at 2" and deeper, most of the center pivots have been operating and applying between .15" and .30" per circle in order to maintain adequate moisture around the root systems. Below is an example of the soil moisture sensors for one field, which is in 4 leaf stage.  Please note that we are beginning to see the soil moisture sensor at 4" show some depletion (blue line).

As we scout closely for weeds, we observe that the herbicide applications are doing their job well.  The Circles for Rice team rates weed control as excellent overall.

We would love to hear from you!  Do you have questions about the progress of the Circles for Rice project?  Click on the Comments link below!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Top 10 Maintenance Tips | Series 5

9. Electrical Connections - Be sure to power down the equipment before checking any electrical connections.  Once the power is off, check for loose connections or loose cord grips in tower boxes.

10. Moving Parts - Steel moving on steel without proper lubrication can lead to unnecessary wear and tear on irrigation equipment.  Be sure to grease all moving parts, including the pivot point bearing, towable hubs, corner rollers, and legs.

That concludes our series on Top 10 Maintenance Tips!  To read the Top 10 Maintenance Tips in its entirety, please visit Valley Irrigation.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Circles for Rice | Weekly Update

Advanced field | four leaf stage
Even though some of the Circles for Rice fields have experienced very hard rains and flooding pre-emergence, the fields, which are located in Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee, are progressing well.

Per field scouting late last week, all fields are at least 80% emerged; the most advanced field is in the four leaf stage. As wind has been a concern in some fields, the farmers have been irrigating with the center pivots to help minimize wind erosion and damage to the young rice plants. Several growers have applied light applications of crop nutrient products to help push their crop along after the heavy rains.

Several of the earlier planted fields have already seen their second application of herbicides.  Though most growers are using are using a combination based around either Command or Prowl, herbicide combinations and applications have varied. Combinations depend upon soil type, what has already been applied, and perceived weed pressure.

As we continue to irrigate, we need to be careful not to exceed the soil's ability to take water, as shown in the video clip below. Most fields have very good soil moisture 2 inches and deeper, but, in the current root zone, some fields are approaching 25% depletion.

Questions about herbicides, soil qualities, or the project in general? Ask away!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Congratulations, Germani!

The Valley Circles for Rice team would like to congratulate our agronomist, Dr. Germani Concenco, on his marriage to his fiancĂ©e, Fernanda.  Germani and Fernanda will be wed on Saturday, May 15, in Brazil.

Germani and Fernanda, below you will our personal congratulatory messages to you!

"Germani is joining the club of serious men with his marriage this week!  We wish Fernanda and Germani all the best and are happy for this young and engaged couple!" ~ Bernhard Kiep

"Our prayers and blessings are with you and Fernanda on your special day." ~ Jake and Marlene LaRue  

"Germani and Fernanda, congratulations on your marriage.  I know you have been looking forward to this day for a long time.  I pray for a long, happy life together, filled with blessings and faith to help you through the difficult times we all eventually face." ~ your friend, Kelly Downing

"Germani, congratulations and best wishes!" ~ Jerry Gerdes

"Congratulations, Germani and Fernada!  I wish you all the best!" ~ Michelle "Stolte" Johnson 

"Congratulations, Germani!  I am very happy for the both of you.  I wish you a very happy and long marriage!  I expect to see photographs!" ~ Kelly Cackin

"I wish the both of you a lifetime of joy.  Congratulations, Germani!" ~ Martin Brack

Please help us in wishing Germani and Fernanda congratulations on their marriage!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Rice Blogs Becoming More Prevalent

The social media aspect of agriculture is continuously growing.  The existence of our blog helps to prove that!  As it turns out, the Circles for Rice blog isn't completely one-of-a-kind (in terms of blogging about rice), but we really didn't expect it to be.  People blog about whatever they want, including rice production.

Carroll Smith, editor of the publication Rice Farming, recently developed a blog about her personal, on-the-job experiences.  (  The blog is informal, yet still informational, which makes it a pleasure to follow.  Carroll recently wrote an article about the booming rice blogging world, which included information about both hers and others' blogs.

The article "Spreading the Word: Informal blogs bring rice perspective from field to screen" can be found here: (April 2010, Rice Farming).  It brings attention to the fact that communicating with others about a common interest, including ag-related topics, isn't just limited to face-to-face or over-the-phone interaction.  I'm not suggesting that you stop visiting your neighbors/friends/colleagues, just that we should all be aware of the evolving communication strategies that surround our cultures.

In response to this blog post, I encourage you all to click on that wonderful little "Comments" link and write something to us!  It could be comment about this or previous posts, or just general questions about our project.  The Circles for Rice team is eager to converse with you directly through this blog!

Until next time!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Top 10 Maintenance Tips | Series 4

7. Pivot Alignment & Pipe Flushing - Ensure the tower box microswitches are set properly.  Improper settings can cause pivot misalignment, which results in nuisance shutdowns.  Flushing your pipeline and cleaning your sand trap is essential, especially if you either have water quality problems or your irrigation water contains sand.

8. U-Joints - Evaluate the equipment for worn u-joint inserts and ensure driveshaft shields are in place for safety.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Circles for Rice | Weekly Update

Planting | April 30

Planting | April 30

Soil Moisture Monitor | Installed
So much for blogging about how dry it's been in Missouri and Arkansas...

The Circles for Rice fields received between 3.75" and 9"+ of rain last weekend.  Some fields were under water for three or four days.  Because of the amount of rain observed, some concern has been raised for the herbicides that were applied right before the storms.

The last Circles for Rice field was planted on April 30th.  Rice has emerged in five fields.

While soil moisture is generally excellent, we are closely watching it due to the heat and wind observed this week.  We feel this is necessary because of the moisture observed in the crop's current root zone.  Some growers will apply light applications of irrigation later this week to maintain good soil moisture in the root zone.

At most Circles for Rice sites, we have installed soil moisture monitors; we will continue installation early next week.

Do you have any questions about how the rice fields are doing in the midst of the torrential rain storms down South?  Let us know!

Have a great week!