Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Variable Rate Irrigation to be Highlighted at Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, GA

VRI Speed Control
VRI Zone Control
Variable Rate Irrigation will be a featured product at the 2011 Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, GA.

"Drought and overall dry conditions have been the story of this crop season throughout the Southeast and beyond," states Southeast AgNet Radio Network.  "With that in mind, Chip Blalock of the Sunbelt Ag Expo says attendees to the 34th annual event coming up October 18-20, 2011, will have the opportunity to learn more about the benefits of variable rate irrigation."

To listen to the entire podcast from Southeast AgNet Radio Network, please click here.

Valley Irrigation will be showcasing Valley Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) at the expo. Valley VRI offers the ultimate precision irrigation. With a combination of hardware and software, Valley VRI allows the grower to adjust the desired amount of water in a particular sector (VRI Speed Control) or management zone (VRI Zone Control). Ideal for fields with multiple soil types and varying topography, irrigation application with VRI can be programed to match specific field conditions.

To learn more about Valley VRI, stop by lot A-4 at the Sunbelt Ag Expo, where a VRI expert will be to answer any of your questions.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

End of Season Irrigation Decisions

In North America, we are finally winding down from summer into fall. In western Iowa and eastern Nebraska, the weather is cooling enough that it actually feels like football season! The summer was, as usual, filled with lots of extreme and odd weather events in various locations. However, there was also a sense of “same old, same old” to it. We all know that summer will be hot, and at some point(s) there is a significant potential for crop stress due to water shortage. Even in this area, you did not have to drive very far from a flooded Missouri River Valley to see significant drought problems.

At this time of the season, many farmers have stopped irrigating; others are still running. The question is, when should we stop? The balance to strike is to make sure the crop has enough water available to finish its development and maximize yield, but still leave plenty of room in the soil to store any off-season precipitation that comes from winter snow and rain.

The University of Nebraska has an excellent extension publication, Neb Guide G1871, titled “Predicting the Last Irrigation of the Season”. It focuses on conditions typical to Nebraska, but the strategy is consistent with any crop growing area. You assess the current growth stage of the crop, estimate the time (and amount of water) needed to finish its development, and subtract the available water in the root zone. This difference is the additional water needed from rain and/or irrigation to finish the crop.

For example (in Nebraska), with a corn crop past full dent (3/4 milk line), full maturity is approximately 7 days away. Water use to reach maturity is approximately 1.0”. If your crop is in this condition, and you have at least an inch of available water in the root zone, no problem. However, if your corn crop is barely at full dent (1/2 milk line), there are still about 13 days to maturity, with a water use expected to be 2.25”. If you have already been backing off irrigation and the soil is bone dry, it might be wise to consider a little irrigation. In soybeans, once the leaves start to yellow, there are about 10 days left to maturity, and the crop will need about 1.9” of water.

Of course, different areas of a field could be in different conditions, due to soil, crop, and topographic factors. Having the ability to use precision management techniques may be useful. While we all want to maximize yield, we also shouldn’t underestimate the value of having good, dry conditions heading into harvest. Compaction, rutting, and machinery problems will be lower if we don’t incur the extra costs of watering too much at the end of the season.

Have a great, safe and profitable harvest!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Delta Center Field Day

The University of Missouri Delta Research Center will host a field day on September 2, 2011. The field day will include information on variable rate irrigation, among other research initiatives. For more information, please read this press release.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Water Application | UP3

For many growers, it is necessary to change their sprinkler package flow rate during the irrigation season. In areas like the Texas Panhandle, declining water tables throughout the irrigation season reduces the pivot operating pressure. Lowering the machine flow rate will typically increase the machine pressure, maintaining the proper operating pressure for the sprinklers. Fields with heavy soils can benefit by using lower machine flow rates early in the season to reduce sprinkler package application intensity. As the crop canopy develops and crop water requirements increase later in the season, the sprinkler nozzles can be changed to increase the machine flow rate.

Center pivot irrigation sprinklers use nozzles (fixed orifices) to precisely set the water flow rate at each sprinkler location along the length of a center pivot. As the sprinkler locations move farther away from the center point, the water flow rate increases due to the larger area covered by positions farther from the center point. For example, the last sprinkler on a 1,300’ center pivot covers an area that is over 28 times larger than a sprinkler at 50’ from the center point.

Sprinkler manufacturers offer 45 different nozzle sizes to meet the flow rate requirements on center pivot machines. The nozzle diameter range begins with the smallest at 0.0625” (8/128”) and increments in 0.0078” (1/128”) up to the largest at 0.4063” (52/128”). When describing the nozzle orifice diameter it is common to use the nozzle numerator. For Valley and Nelson® sprinkler brands, a #15 nozzle refers to a 15/128” nozzle orifice diameter. Senninger sprinklers use 64ths to describe their nozzle orifice diameters. A #7 nozzle is equivalent to 7/64”. The Senninger® brand also uses “half sizes” to describe the full range of nozzles. A #7.5 refers to a 7.5/64” (15/128”) orifice diameter. Sprinkler manufacturers also use various colors and shapes to make nozzle identification easy and quick for sprinkler package assembly and field modifications.

Earlier this year, Senninger Irrigation released a new sprinkler product line, UP3 (Universal Pivot Products Platform). A feature of this sprinkler series is an easy clean, easy change nozzle design.

To remove the nozzle you pinch and pull.

Place and press until you hear a click to reinstall the nozzle.

The nozzle is installed from the side of the sprinkler, eliminating sprinkler disassembly.

Dual Nozzle Holder
Dual Nozzle Holder
Nelson Irrigation offers a dual and triple nozzle holder for their 3000 series pivot sprinklers. The dual nozzle holder holds two nozzles, one nozzle within the sprinkler and one nozzle held outside of the sprinkler. To change the nozzle, the sprinkler is disassembled and the nozzle holder is switched around changing the sprinkler to a different flow rate.

Triple Nozzle Holder
Triple Nozzle Holder
The triple nozzle holder can have 3 different nozzle sizes. One nozzle is in the sprinkler while two nozzles are held outside of the sprinkler.

For more information on the UP3 product line, or other water application packages offered by Valley Irrigation, please contact the Valley Water Application Group:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

2011 North American Manure Expo | Stop By Today!

Cole Fredrick of the Valley Variable Rate Irrigation team will be at the 2011 North American Manure Expo today, July 20th!  Stop by the Valley Irrigation booth #92S to chat with Cole and learn about Variable Rate Irrigation!

Dates: July 20, 2011
Times: 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Location: Northeast Community College Ag Complex | 2301 East Benjamin Avenue | Norfolk, NE
Admission Price: FREE

This year's show theme is "Professionalism in Manure Management." Along with our VRI representative will be presence from Cascade Earth Science (CES) to answer questions on wastewater management.

Tony Gum (Valley Irrigation Territory Manager) will be giving a presentation on center pivots used for manure distribution at 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

We will be Tweeting all day on the Expo!  Follow us @ValleyPivots

Friday, July 8, 2011

Join Us! Circles for Rice Field Day | July 12, 2011 | Eagle Lake, TX

Field Day is Open to the Public...Join Us!

Date: Tuesday, July 12th
Times: Registration at the field @ 8:30 a.m. | Presentations @ 9:15 a.m. | Lunch @ 11:30 a.m.

Field Location: 1/2 mile west of FM950 and FM2614 | GPS: Lat 29 28' 18.71" Long 96 21'44.06"

Lunch Location: RiceTec Eagle Lake Facility | 3055 Hwy 3013, Eagle Lake, TX, USA | GPS: Lat 29 32' 19.49" Long 96 19' 26.01"

For more information, visit

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Circles for Rice Field Day | July 12, 2011 | Eagle Lake, TX

RSVP Today! Valley Irrigation Rice Production under Center Pivots Field Day!

Date: Tuesday, July 12th
Where: Eagle Lake, TX
Times: Registration @ 8:30 a.m. | Presentations @ 9:15 a.m. | Lunch @ 11:30 a.m.
RSVP: or or 800-825-6688 ext. 3042

Lunch will be provided after the field day presentations. This field day is open to the public.

Field Location: Kevin Hoffman's field | 1/2 mile west of the intersection of FM950 and FM2614 | near Eagle Lake, TX | GPS Lat 29 28' 18.71" Long 96 21' 44.06"

Lunch Location: Lunch Location: RiceTec Eagle Lake Facility | 3055 Hwy 3013 | Eagle Lake, TX | GPS Lat 29 32' 19.49" Long 96 19' 26.01"

Presentation topics will include:
  • Water & Energy Savings
  • Rice Seed Characteristics
  • Chemigation/Fertigation & Water Application
  • Irrigation Management
  • Irrigation Equipment & Controls
  • Crop Expectations
  • Past Results of Project

Circles for Rice Field Day | July 12, 2011 | Eagle Lake, TX

RSVP Today! Valley Irrigation Rice Production under Center Pivots Field Day!

Date: Tuesday, July 12th
Where: Eagle Lake, TX
Times: Registration @ 8:30 a.m. | Presentations @ 9:15 a.m. | Lunch @ 11:30 a.m.
RSVP: or or 800-825-6688 ext. 3042

Lunch will be provided after the field day presentations. This field day is open to the public.

Field Location: Kevin Hoffman's field | 1/2 mile west of the intersection of FM950 and FM2614 | near Eagle Lake, TX | GPS Lat 29 28' 18.71" Long 96 21' 44.06"

Lunch Location: Lunch Location: RiceTec Eagle Lake Facility | 3055 Hwy 3013 | Eagle Lake, TX | GPS Lat 29 32' 19.49" Long 96 19' 26.01"

Presentation topics will include:
  • Water & Energy Savings
  • Rice Seed Characteristics
  • Chemigation/Fertigation & Water Application
  • Irrigation Management
  • Irrigation Equipment & Controls
  • Crop Expectations
  • Past Results of Project

Circles for Rice Update | by Jake LaRue

South Carolina
This year, everyone seems to have the weeds under control here in the U.S. The rice under the center pivot in Texas is in the boot stage and we are adjusting the irrigation schedule as soon the rice will be in the highest use growth stage – early heading. In Missouri, fertilizer is being applied; with the rains, the grower has not had to irrigate as aggressively as last year. The rice in South Carolina is looking good and irrigation applications of 0.30" every other day has been keeping up well with the crop's demand, based on field observations and soil moisture sensors. We will soon be moving up the application depth on this field, but still maintain a two-day rotation.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Circles for Rice Field Day | July 12, 2011 | Eagle Lake, TX

Valley Irrigation Circles for Rice Field Day Announcement

Date: Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Location: Eagle Lake, Texas, USA
Time: Registration @ 8:30 a.m.
RSVP: or or 800-825-668 ext. 3042

Lunch will be provided following the field day presentations.  This field day is open to the public.

Field Location: Kevin Hoffman's field | 1/2 mile west of the intersection of FM950 and FM2614 | near Eagle Lake, TX | GPS  Lat 29 28' 18.71"  Long 96 21' 44.06"

Lunch Location: RiceTec Eagle Lake Facility | 3055 Hwy 3013 | Eagle Lake, TX | GPS  Lat 29 32' 19.49"  Long 96 19' 26.01"

Presentation topics will include:
  • Water & Energy Savings
  • Rice Seed Characteristics
  • Chemigation/Fertigation & Water Application
  • Irrigation Management
  • Irrigation Equipment & Controls
  • Crop Expectations
  • Past Results of Project

RSVP to receive a special gift at the field day!  We look forward to seeing you in Texas!

Circles for Rice Field Day | July 12, 2011 | Eagle Lake, TX

Valley Irrigation Circles for Rice Field Day Announcement

Date: Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Location: Eagle Lake, Texas, USA
Time: Registration @ 8:30 a.m.
RSVP: or or 800-825-668 ext. 3042

Lunch will be provided following the field day presentations.  This field day is open to the public.

Field Location: Kevin Hoffman's field | 1/2 mile west of the intersection of FM950 and FM2614 | near Eagle Lake, TX | GPS  Lat 29 28' 18.71"  Long 96 21' 44.06"

Lunch Location: RiceTec Eagle Lake Facility | 3055 Hwy 3013 | Eagle Lake, TX | GPS  Lat 29 32' 19.49"  Long 96 19' 26.01"

Presentation topics will include:
  • Water & Energy Savings
  • Rice Seed Characteristics
  • Chemigation/Fertigation & Water Application
  • Irrigation Management
  • Irrigation Equipment & Controls
  • Crop Expectations
  • Past Results of Project

RSVP to receive a special gift at the field day!  We look forward to seeing you in Texas!

Valley VRI Activities

Valley Irrigation has defined a team dedicated to the Variable Rate Irrigation products. This team focuses on several avenues: setting up VRI project fields, uploading prescriptions, making sure that growers and Valley Dealers are on the same page, visiting fields with Zone Control, making sure everything is running, and performing validation tests, among other tasks.

Each week, we will blog about the VRI team’s efforts and their current activities.

Start-up continues for both VRI Speed Control and VRI Zone Control. Past weeks' activities by the VRI team have focused on:

VRI Zone Control validation test
  • Validation of performance on VRI Zone Control
    • Tests use a grid of cans set in an arc to measure the application depths as the pivot zone passes over the cans
    • VRI Zone prescription is written to change the percent depth
  • Start-up of a Valley corner with VRI Zone Control for off/on control as the center pivot and corner pass over a ditch
  • Meetings with Valley Dealers to answer questions
  • Meeting with a USDA-ARS research group on their findings and experience with VRI
  • Meetings with Valley Dealers and customers considering VRI
    • One grower has four crops under the same pivot and is looking for an easier way to change application depths; right now, he reprograms the control panel all of the time

Center pivot moving into rice crop
In the picture on the right, you can see the center pivot moving out of the soybeans into the rice crop.  After some discussion, the grower thinks the Valley VRI Speed Control is what he needs.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Circles for Rice Update | by Jake LaRue

The rice around the United States is developing well, stages varying from early tillering to late tillering. As we move into tillering, now is the time to begin the application of nitrogen. The most cost-effective and efficient way is to apply liquid products through the center pivot, such as 28-0-0-5 or 32-0-0. Now is the time to push the nitrogen, applying 25 lbs to 30 lbs of actual N per week for the next four weeks.

Weed control continues to be critical as growers now need to ensure strong tillering to close the canopy and shade out weeds. Recently, one grower applied Newpath and Permit. Scouting needs to be done to confirm if there is a weed problem and to determine the right product for the right weed.

Watering needs to continue at least every other day to wet the root zone. Application depths for those in early tillering should be in the 0.25 inch to 0.35 inch range, and later tillering 0.35 inch to 0.50 inch, if the soil can infiltrate the amount applied every other to every third day.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Water Application | VRI

Sprinkler applicator products used on center pivots are classified into two categories: fixed sprays and rotating sprays. Both types are designed to operate at low pressures to minimize pumping costs. Fixed sprays work best on medium to light soils. Rotating sprays have the largest wetted diameter of all low-pressure sprinklers and work best on heavy type soils or fields with slopes to prevent runoff. Mounting sprinklers below the machine trussing structure is common to reduce water losses due to evaporation and wind drift. Both types of sprays can be used with Valley VRI products.

High water application efficiencies and water distribution uniformity are common place with center pivot sprinkler packages. This allows growers to maximize their crop yields while using less water. To further improve water use, growers are looking to manage their water application based on soil types. A field with soil types varying from sand to clay is a challenge for irrigation management. Apply water based on the sandy type soil and risk over watering the heavy clay soils or apply water based on the clay soils and risk under watering the sandy soils.

The Valley VRI products make it possible to manage each soil type individually. With VRI Speed Control, the machine speed is adjusted to change the water application depth. Using VRI Zone Control, a solenoid actuated hydraulic valve controls sprinkler run time to adjust the application depth. The sprinkler run time is changed by cycling the sprinkler valves on and off. To reduce the sprinkler zone application depth by 50%, the sprinkler valves will cycle the sprinklers so they are running 50% of the time and off 50% of the time.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Circles for Rice Update | by Jake LaRue

This week, I visited the Circles for Rice field near Eagle Lake, Texas, USA, and noted a couple points we all need to be aware of when working with the heavier soils, especially those that may crack.

In the photo below, note how the rice is well into tillering, grass is dying and soil is cracking. These cracks can break the small lateral roots and limit tillering. In this case, the pivot is just coming around and the area will receive 0.30 in (7.5 mm). The soil surface is dry, but the depletions are less than 10% if you dig down about 4 in (12.7 cm).

cracked soil
Cracked soil | Eagle Lake, TX, USA

The picture below illustrates how the rice roots tend to spread more laterally than vertically; the above-ground portion is 9 in (23 cm).

rice root
Rice root | Eagle Lake, TX, USA

The image below is the soil moisture data for this area of the field. The blue line indicates a sensor at 3 in (7.5 cm), red at 6 in (15 cm) and black at 9 in (23 cm). The higher the line appears on the graph, the drier the field is.

soil moisture report
Soil moisture report | Eagle Lake, TX, USA
Watch for weeds, as the best time to kill them is when they are small!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Circles for Rice Update | by Jake LaRue

Texas rice 2011
2011 | Texas
United States
The rice field in Texas is progressing ahead of the others. 2011 marks the second year our cooperator in Texas has planted rice under his Valley center pivot; the crop is off to a great start and is well into tillering.

A grower in Missouri is also in his second year of producing rice under his Valley center pivot, and he just finished planting last week. Unfortunately for the other Delta region growers that were to cooperate with us this growing season, they may not be able to plant due to the time of year, flooding and back water.

The South Carolina rice is about 75% emerged and is off to a good start.  

The rice under the center pivot is about 10% emerged and is showing some signs of weed pressure. A plan is in place for weed control.  As the weeds are small, early emergence is a critical time to control weeds and to promote rapid growth of the rice, which may require light, frequent applications of irrigation (0.25 in [.64 cm] or less).

Discussion Box Challenge
How is your growing season going?  Share your story!

Contact Us

Monday, May 16, 2011

2011 Circles for Rice Update | by Jake LaRue

So far this year, rice production in some areas of the United States has been a challenge.

In Texas, the rice is tillering and requiring frequent irrigation due to an abnormally dry year.

In the Delta region, fields that were to be planted with rice under center pivots are still underwater; in the northern areas, time is running out.  We will keep you updated on the situation.

We have a rice field under a center pivot in South Carolina; the field has been planted but has not yet emerged.

We also have two fields in China with rice under center pivots; they, too, have been planted but have not yet emerged.

Discussion Box Challenge
Are you a grower in the Delta region of the United States?  Are you experiencing over saturated fields due to the rain and storms?  Share your story!

Contact Us

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What is Valley VRI?

This spring, Valley Irrigation is focused on the introduction of the Valley Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) product line and services offered by CropMetrics™.

VRI is a combination of hardware, software, and control features that provides ultimate precision irrigation to growers. Ideal for fields with multiple soil types and varying topography, irrigation application with VRI can be programmed to match specific field conditions.  VRI is available for center pivots.

Two applications of VRI are available:
  1. VRI Speed Control | Adjust application depth in up to 180 individual sectors in a field
  2. VRI Zone Control | Adjust the application depth in up to 5,400 different management zones in a field

In order to use VRI Speed Control or VRI Zone Control, a VRI prescription must be uploaded to the center pivot’s control panel or TrackerLT.

CropMetrics is a company that specializes in data management and writing VRI prescriptions for Valley VRI Speed Control and VRI Zone Control. For more information on CropMetrics, please visit

For general VRI inquiries, please contact us at or +1-402-359-6062.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Rice Harvest in Brazil | by Kelly Downing

We have received yield information from most of the farms in Brazil, and this week I finally found the time to tabulate the data. We are still waiting for some data, primarily from the research plots. This is a brief update to let you know how things went.

At Fazenda Agua Grande in Sao Paulo, the final yield was 6.52 mt/Ha. This field had some issues with weed infestation; it also experienced some herbicide damage from the previous tomato crop. The growers are optimistic about the future of this technology on their farm, and intend to continue working with it to improve their results.

Fazenda Lagoa, also in Sao Paulo, had planted three different varieties: BRS Querencia, BRS Taim and LAC 202. The BRS Querencia produced 4.5 mt/Ha; the BRS Taim produced 5.1 mt/Ha and the IAC 202 produced 4.02 mt/Ha. This field suffered several setbacks during the growing season, including several days of very cold weather in December and severe weed pressure from broadleaf plants that were difficult to control due to the surrounding soybean fields.

Fazenda Lagoa Bonita in Sao Paulo also had some severe hardship. After battling a tremendous infestation of volunteer wheat and other weeds, and struggling with an inadequate water supply during critical growth stages, the field produced 2.62 mt/Ha of rice. However, the field manager is confident that they learned enough to be successful in the future with this technology.

The Alvarez farm, in Sao Borja, produced 8.5 mt/Ha, which pleased them, and the growers are enthusiastic about continuing their work in this area. They grew Irga 417 on a large pivot (126 Ha) and hosted a well-attended field day in January.

When we receive the data from the research plots in Pelotas and Bage, we will be sure to share it. Until then, I look forward to working with producers and our new representative, Felipe Peres de Oliveira, to support and assist Brazilian rice growers interested in moving forward with growing rice under center pivots this summer.

Contact Us
Contact a member of the Circles for Rice team at .

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Welcome to the Precision Irrigation Blog by Valley Irrigation!

Welcome to the Precision Irrigation blog by Valley Irrigation! We will be keeping you up-to-date on various aspects of precision irrigation, including Valley Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) and crop management practices.

Comments are more than welcome, and we encourage discussion.

Though we will be publishing all posts under the name "Valley Irrigation," several authors will be contributing to this blog:
  • Jake LaRue | Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) Product Manager, Valley Irrigation
  • Cole Fredrick | VRI Specialist, Valley Irrigation
  • Justin Loeffler | VRI Specialist, Valley Irrigation
  • Jerry Gerdes | Water Application Product Manager, Valley Irrigation
  • Kelly Downing | Ag Project Specialist, Valley Irrigation
  • Martin Brack | Jr. Irrigation Application Engineer, Valley Irrigation
  • Nick Emanuel | CropMetrics™

For general VRI inquiries, please contact us at or +1-402-359-6062.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Circles for Rice Update | by Jake LaRue

In the United States, the following growers (by location) have currently agreed to collaborate with us this growing season:
  • Texas - 1 field
  • South Carolina - 1 field
  • Missouri - 3 to 5 fields
  • Arkansas - 2 to 3 fields

Unlike the 2010 growing season, the rice fields under center pivots is off to a slow start due to excessive rain in the boot heel of Missouri and Northeast Arkansas. If it stops raining, it will probably be another two weeks before some growers can plant. The rice in Texas was planted about two weeks ago and is beginning to emerge. The South Carolina planting will be done in the next two weeks, weather permitting. All we can do at this time is be patiently wait for the soil conditions to improve.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sprinkler Spacing and Water Application Uniformity | by Jerry Gerdes

Sprinkler packages designed with proper sprinkler spacing will maintain a high uniformity of water application throughout the field. A number of factors determine the sprinkler spacing. These include sprinkler wetted diameter, operating pressure, ground height, and crop type.

A “rule of thumb” used for correct sprinkler spacing is the water pattern overlap between two adjoining sprinklers must be a minimum of 150% of the sprinkler spacing. A sprinkler placed at a low ground clearance (ex: 36”) to minimize evaporation and wind drift losses for a low-growing crop, such as rice, may require a closer sprinkler spacing compared to the same sprinkler at a higher ground clearance (ex: 108”). If a low ground clearance sprinkler package for rice is also used for a tall crop, such as field corn, the sprinkler spacing must be no more than 60” regardless of the sprinkler model. The tall crop canopy interference will greatly reduce the wetted diameter of any sprinkler model requiring a close spacing.

Valmont Irrigation offers two coupler spacing options for its span pipe:
  1. The standard spacing of 108” works well for applications where the sprinkler ground clearance is at the trussing level or higher.

  2. An optional coupler spacing of 30” is used for applications where the sprinklers are low to the ground and/or within the crop canopy.

Discussion Box Challenge

If you are a center pivot/linear user, what challenges have you experienced with uniformity?

Contact Us

To contact us directly, email

Monday, April 11, 2011

Valley Dealer Durham Pump Open House | by Kelly Cackin

Durham Pump truck
Valley Dealer Durham Pump Inc. hosted an Open House on April 8th, and the event was a success!  About 20 vendors were there to represent Durham Pump.  The afternoon was warm and proved to be a great day for walking around and looking at the Valley center pivot.  Our own Jake LaRue held a seminar about producing rice with center pivots and linears.

Valley Irrigation booth
Congratulations to Durham Pump Inc. for their successful Open House! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Join the Celebration! Valley Dealer Open House This Friday! | by Kelly Cackin

Just a reminder that the Durham Pump Inc. (Valley Dealer) will be hosting an Open House this Friday, April 8th!

What: Durham Pump Inc. Open House
When: Friday, April 8, 2011
Where: 2313 Durham Dayton Hwy | Durham, CA, USA | 95938
Time: Valley General Seminar @ 11 am | Circles for Rice Seminar @ 1 pm
Contact : Dustin Bates | 1-530-891-4821 |

We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Circles for Rice Update | by Jake LaRue

In the United States, planting rice under center pivots has begun. Planting is active in Texas, and growers in Missouri and Arkansas with light textured soils (weather permitting) will begin planting this week and next.

Some growers are still considering if rice fits their crop plans for this year. All recognize that rice prices are depressed, but some growers may still produce more return with a rice crop than soybeans or other crops due to soil types, water availability and other reasons.

As you begin the 2011 rice under center pivot crop, be sure:
  • You have a plan
  • You follow the plan
  • You have contingencies if the plan needs adjustment

Considerations for the following also need to be included in the plan:
  • Seed selection for high yield potential with excellent disease resistance
  • Weed control
  • Fertility
  • Irrigation
  • Disease control

Discussion Box Challenge

Are you planting rice under a center pivot or linear? Or are you planting rice at all this year? If you answered "yes" to either question, discuss with us any potential issues you may see in your production plan.

Contact Us

To contact us directly, please email the Circles for Rice team at

Monday, March 28, 2011

Valley Dealer Open House | by Kelly Cackin

New Valley Dealer, Durham Pump Inc., will be hosting an Open House event next month!  Join them in the celebration!

What: Durham Pump Inc. Open House
When: Friday, April 8, 2011
Where: 2313 Durham Dayton Hwy | Durham, CA, USA | 95938
Time: Valley General Seminar @ 11 am | Circles for Rice Seminar @ 1 pm
RSVP and Contact: Dustin Bates | 1-530-891-4821 |

Please RSVP by Tuesday, April 5, 2011.

We look forward to seeing you in California!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rice Q & A | by Jake LaRue

As we expand the areas in which we research and collaborate, we are continuously asked questions about rice production. Two such questions came to my attention this week while I was in California:
  1. “Does the Circles for Rice team have experience with medium-grain rice production?”

    Answer – Our involvement with medium-grain rice has been minimal so far, but we have observed a growing interest in producing this grain in several areas around the world.

  2. “Rice growers who flood their fields may increase their water application depth to help the rice crop maintain higher temperatures in the crop canopy. When you irrigate with center pivots and linears, less water is applied at one time, which means that lower temperatures may be maintained in the crop canopy. Because of this, will growers who irrigate their rice with center pivots or linears have potentially lower rice yields?”

    Answer – We have not yet had the opportunity to prove or disprove the theory on a commercial scale.

Discussion Box Challenge
Do you have similar questions or concerns about irrigating rice with center pivots and linears?  Or do you have comments/more questions about the about questions?  Contact us either directly or via Discussion Box below.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Storm Damage in Valley, NE | by Kelly Cackin

Hail in Valley, NE | Looks like snow!
Broken window on vehicle | Unfortunately, this is my vehicle...

We had an unexpected, tornadic storm come through Tuesday afternoon.  Most of us in Valley, NE, USA, are grateful for auto insurance!

The storm went from a light rain to heavy winds and large hail in the time it takes to pop a bag of popcorn.  For about 10 minutes, we all huddled in the tornado shelters, biting our nails and worrying about our loved ones and property! Though we didn't have any tornadoes in Valley, this same storm produced an EF1 tornado in western Iowa later in the day.

In Valley, at least 60 MPH winds were reported; hail diameters measured between 3/4" to over 1" (ping-pong ball to golf ball least).

Most, if not all, vehicles in Valley sustained a lot of damage, including broken windows and mirrors, broken bumpers and fenders, and many, many, many dents.  Some vehicles are not drivable, while most are close to totaled. 

Because it IS that time of year again (ie: tornado season), make sure your tornado shelters are cleaned out and ready to use!  If yours are anything like mine, I've been storing my Christmas decorations and books in my shelter for the past 6 months...Also, make sure you have at least one flashlight and battery-operated radio that work.  Having several blankets on hand is also a good idea.  As someone who has pets and takes her pets into the tornado shelter with her (...), make sure that your pet carriers are ready to be used!  One last hint that my mother taught me many years ago - during tornado season, keep your jewelry (the stuff you don't wear everyday) and small items you would want to salvage in a spare messenger bag; this bag is easy to grab in case you need to take shelter.

Stay safe!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Valley Irrigation Now On YouTube and Twitter! | by Kelly Cackin

Some of you may have noticed the new buttons to the right of this post.  If you guessed that Valley Irrigation now has YouTube and Twitter accounts, you guessed right!  We're very excited to jump into the realm of social media!

As these accounts are still in their infancy, please visit the sites often for updates and new videos and Tweets!

Subscribe to our channel on YouTube - 

Follow us on Twitter - @ValleyPivots

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dry Wheel Track Options | by Jerry Gerdes

wheel tracks
Wheel tracks
Part-circle sprinkler
Options are available in sprinkler package designs that can help reduce the depth of center pivot wheel tracks. The wheel track depth is a function of the number of passes made across the field and the soil type. As the number of passes increase, the wheel tracks can get deeper, especially in heavy soils. Deep wheel tracks can lead to a drive unit getting stuck, yield losses due to downtime and costly repairs of the wheel track.

One option is to use part-circle sprinklers. With a 180 degree water pattern, the part-circle sprinkler is used in locations nearest the drive unit and positioned to spray the water away from the wheel track, reducing the moisture level in the soil of the wheel track area. Unbalanced forces from the 180 degree pattern require that a rigid drop material, such as galvanized drop pipes, be used to hold the part-circle sprinkler firmly in position. The number of part-circle sprinklers used around each drive unit is dependent on the sprinkler model (full-circle) water pattern diameter. The water pattern from the full-circle sprinkler should not reach the wheel track.

Part-circle sprinkler models are available in both fixed and rotating type sprinklers. It is recommended to use like sprinkler models for both part- and full-circle positions. For example, if a sprinkler package design is rotating sprinklers, the part-circle sprinkler should also be a rotating sprinkler model. Rotating sprinkler models available in part-circle are the Nelson® Rotator and Spinner. Fixed spray models are the Senninger® LDN® (Low Drift Nozzle) and Valley LEN (Low-Energy Nozzle) sprinkler.

A second option is boombacks. A boomback will move the sprinkler up to 15 feet (perpendicular) from the span pipeline, placing the sprinkler beyond the rear tire of the drive unit. The part-circle water pattern will be positioned opposite the direction of travel of the center pivot. Both drive unit tires are more likely to travel on dry soil in this type of installation. For part-circle center pivots or linears, double boombacks are available to place a part-circle sprinkler on each side of the span pipeline. Solenoid controlled sprinkler valves are available to run the part-circle sprinklers opposite the direction of travel when the machine changes direction, turning off the sprinklers in front of the machine.

Discussion Box Challenge

For those of you growing rice with a center pivot or linear this year, or have grown rice with a pivot/linear in the past, what have you done to combat wheel track issues?

Contact Us

Interested in growing rice with a center pivot or linear? Contact us directly!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

National Ag Day | by Kelly Cackin

Ag Day banner
Happy National Ag Day, everyone!

Every year, the United States celebrates National Ag Week.  One day during this week is designated as National Ag Day, and is celebrated in Washington, D.C., with coffees, meals and various events.  National Ag Day is committed to increasing public awareness about American agriculture.

The National Ag Day website is a must-see!  Included on the is a blog,various fun, educational resources, event planning ideas, contact information, and much more!

Here in Valley, Nebraska, USA, we were planning to make a cake to help celebrate National Ag Day, but we all kind of forgot to make it...BUT, we didn't forget about National Ag Day!

To find out more about National Ag Day and how you can help celebrate, visit .

Friday, March 11, 2011

Herbicide Issues Article | by Kelly Downing

I really like this article, from Delta Farm Press. It points out three key issues for all producers, which we should really consider as we prepare to go to the field.

First, herbicide resistance is a very important and ominous factor for all of agriculture. As Mr. Baldwin points out in the article, we should make it a foundational part of our operations to use practices to minimize or delay the onset of such resistance. This includes crop rotations, herbicide mode-of-action rotations, tank mixes and the inclusion of residual products. There do not appear to be too many new chemistries coming out in the near future, so we need to be good stewards and use what we have to the greatest effect and longevity.

Second, I think the new University of Arkansas “Flag the Technology” program is a good idea, one that deserves cooperation. It seems to be a simple, “low-tech,” low-cost way to effectively avoid application errors. In today’s high-tech ag climate, it is important to remember that we should use Best Management Practices (BMP); “best,” however, does not mean “most expensive” or “latest technology.” It is nice when it can mean something as simple as a flag.

Finally, the best advice he gives is the simplest: communicate. Sometimes we allow ourselves to get so busy that we forget the importance of simple things like the old “pickup meeting” with neighboring growers. When we stop talking, we start making assumptions about what others are doing and why. And, as one of my favorite maxims states: “Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups!” So, let’s not forget the importance of talking with our neighbors. It not only helps avoid problems, it just makes life better.

Discussion Box Challenge

What are your thoughts on the herbicide either mentioned or not in the article? What is your opinion of the new "Flag the Technology" program? Put your thoughts on in the Discussion Box!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Circles for Rice Update | by Jake LaRue

Another crop season is just around the corner in the Northern Hemisphere! Many of the Circles for Rice producers are finalizing their crop plans for their rice under center pivot fields, such as seed selection, weed control and irrigation plans.

This post includes some tips, recommendations and information to help you finalize your 2011 rice under center pivot plans.

Seed Selection | In areas where hybrid rice varieties are available, the Circles for Rice team has found the hybrids to be well worth the cost due to their increased early season vigor, excellent disease resistance and great yield potential.

Weed Control | When considering your weed control plan, take note that both the University of Missouri Delta Research Center in Portageville, MO, and the Circles for Rice team have found benefit with a split application of the pre-emergence herbicide to extend control. Apply about ½ of the normal pre-emergence rate and then plan to apply the second ½ early post-emergence.  If there is insufficient rainfall after applying the herbicide, plan to apply a light application of water (0.20 to 0.30 inches [5 to 8 mm]) with the center pivot to activate the herbicide.

Irrigation Plans | For an early season irrigation plan, and to get the rice crop to sprout,  it is recommended to plant into a moist seedbed rather than in dry soil. If the spring rainfall is insufficient, then pre-plant irrigation is recommended to establish a moist seedbed, which also may be part of the herbicide activation program. This is a distinct advantage of the center pivot – moisture control. You can apply what you want, when you want.

Discussion Box Challenge

For those readers in the Northern Hemisphere, are your planning to grow rice under a center pivot or linear this growing season?  How are your crop plans shaping up?  Have you come across any challenges and/or victories so far?  Post your stories and questions in the Discussion Box.

For those considering planting rice under a center pivot or linear, what concerns (if any) do you have?

Contact Us

Please do not hesitate to contact the Circles for Rice team at if you have questions or comments.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) Announcement! Mississippi

All information in this blog post is copyright of USDA NRCS.


Jackson, MS, February 8, 2011 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is taking applications for a 2011 statewide Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) to implement agricultural water enhancement activities on agricultural land for the purposes of conserving surface and ground water and improving water quality.

“AWEP has been available since FY2009. AWEP operates through program contracts with producers to plan and implement conservation practices in project areas established through partnership agreements,” stated Al Garner, Mississippi Acting State Conservationist for NRCS. “The goal of this state-wide program is for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to enter into partnership agreements with eligible entities that want to promote ground and surface water conservation or improve water quality on agricultural lands.”

Each fiscal year, NRCS may make AWEP financial and technical assistance available to eligible owners and operators of agricultural lands who participate in approved AWEP project areas. Within Mississippi, only producers located within the Tunica County AWEP Proposal Area and the Mississippi Delta AWEP Proposal Area are eligible for financial and technical assistance.

Applications for AWEP are taken continuously throughout the year. However, to be considered for Fiscal Year 2011 AWEP funding, producers need to have an application signed and on file at their local NRCS office by March 11, 2011.

The intent of AWEP is for the Federal government to leverage investment in natural resources conservation along with services and non-Federal resources of other eligible partners.


The Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Local Working Group or the Farm Service Agency determines eligible producers for the EQIP program. Any farmer engaged in livestock or crop production on eligible land may apply for EQIP. EQIP contracts may be for a tract, farm or multiple farms. Eligible land includes cropland; rangeland; pasture; private non-industrial forestland; and other farm or ranch lands, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.

For complete information, please visit

Valley Presence at Mid-South Farm & Gin Show | by Kelly Cackin

Beale Street | Memphis, TN

Last weekend, several Valmont Irrigation employees, including Michelle Stolte (Global Marketing Manager, co-leader of the Circles for Rice project) and Sid Cameron (Territory Manager, member of the Circles for Rice team), gave Valley presence at the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show in Memphis, TN.  Michelle had a bear of time getting down to Memphis (not due to winter weather, mind you...), but the show was worth it!

Due to the show's location, we felt the show was a good opportunity to explore the reception of producing rice with a center pivot or linear.  We feel the project gaining momentum in this region of the country! 

Always at the forefront of technology, we have started to utilize Apple iPads at the trade shows we attend.  With the device, we can show visitors product demonstrations, their closest Valley Dealer, and rice under pivot information/photos/presentations, among many other things.

Valley booth
We would like to extend a warm thank you to all of the Valley Dealers who participated.  Thank you for your hard work and outstanding presence! 

For more information on the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show, please visit their website.

Do you know of a trade show or convention that would be an excellent opportunity for Valmont Irrigation to explore rice under center pivots and linears?  Let us know in the Comments box below!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pressure Regulators | by Jerry Gerdes

Pressure Drop
Senninger® Pressure Drop
Pressure Regulator
Valley Pressure Regulator
Pressure Regulator
Nelson® Pressure Regulator

Pressure regulators are commonly used in sprinkler package designs. The regulator is installed just upstream of the sprinkler and its function is to maintain a constant water pressure into the sprinkler. The pipeline pressure within a center pivot or linear machine can vary for a number of reasons; friction loss, elevation changes within the field, sprinkler valves turning on and off on a corner span, or an end gun sprinkler turning on and off.

Pressure regulators are recommended for center pivot or linear machines where pressure fluctuations will cause a 10% or greater change in sprinkler flow. Using pressure regulators will maintain a uniform depth of water applied throughout the field. Sprinkler life and performance will also be maximized by selecting a regulator that will operate the sprinkler within its specified pressure range.

Regulators are available in pre-set pressure ratings. The most common ratings are 6, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 PSI. Maximum flow capacity for a pressure regulator will range from 15 to 20 GPM, depending on the regulator model. Pressure regulators require a minimum inlet pressure of 5 PSI plus the nominal pressure to produce the correct outlet pressure.

For more information, contact your local Valley Dealer.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Circles for Rice Update - Brazil | by Kelly Downing

Alvarez Field Day
Field Day | Alvarez
Alvarez Pivot
Center pivot on rice | Alvarez
Neumann Field Day
Field Day | Edwin Neumann, Renan Bueno, Ervin Neumann

Last week, I attended two rice field days hosted by Valmont and our cooperating growers in Brazil. After visiting fields in São Paolo state the previous week, we then went to Rio Grande do Sul state. I traveled with Dr. Jose Parfitt of the Embrapa Temperate Climate Research Center at Pelotas. We spent time at their research plots at Pelotas, Bage, and São Vincente. We also visited the Toniazzo and Alvarez farms near São Borja. Both fields looked great. They are fully headed, within a couple of weeks of harvest.

On Thursday, 20 January, we held a field day at the Alvarez farm. Adalberto Alvarez and his sons, Bernardo and Fernando, welcomed 150 people to view their great-looking rice field, listened to presentations by several professionals and shared a great barbeque lunch. It was a warm, sunny day and most people I saw seemed to enjoy themselves. Bernardo told me that, based on their success this year, they intend to expand the acreage of pivot rice in the future.

After a nice drive across Rio Grande do Sul, we flew back to São Paolo for a field day at Fazenda Agua Grande. Ervin Neumann and his son Edwin welcomed a much smaller, but equally enthusiastic, group of farmers to their rice field. The rice there is also close to harvest. One difference is that, unlike the cooperators in the South, the Neumann field includes two varieties, with the Querencia close to harvest; the Taim will probably take a little longer.

On Sunday, I left the warmth (32 degrees Celsius, 90 degrees Fahrenheit) and returned to the much more comfortable (0 degrees Celsius, 32 degrees Fahrenheit) High Plains of Nebraska. It is always a treat to visit Brazil; the people are beautiful, the scenery is fantastic and the food is always great. However, it was nice to get home, also. I have to admit, I did not notice any problems in Brazil trying to dig our vehicles out of snowdrifts or spinning out on the icy roads!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rice Status - Brazil | by Kelly Downing

Neumann farm
Edwin and Ervin Neumann, Ronney Silva (Valley employee), Renan Bueno (Valley trainee)

Flavio Leandro Medeira | Fazenda Lagoa
Lagoa Bonita
Adilson Rodriguez Machado | Fazenda Lagoa Bonita
Sergio Leme | Capuava

This week I was able to return to Brazil to revisit rice fields I first toured in November. This time, I began with the fields in Sao Paulo State: Fazenda Agua Grande, with Ervin Neumann and his son Edwin, Fazenda Lagoa with Field Manager Flavio Leandro Medeira, Capuava Farm with Sergio Leme and Fazenda Lagoa Bonita with manager Adilson Rodriguez Machado.

Most fields were planted in September, and are nearing harvest; the rice at Capuava was planted in late November (I had not seen this field on my last trip), so it is scheduled for harvest in March. This is a location where Mr. Leme is helping CATI conduct some on-farm variety trials, as well as a production area. The rice (all production areas) looks lush and full right now. However, the soil sensor readings were relatively dry, so it will be important for them to keep up irrigation. The other farms are somewhere between two and four weeks from harvest.

As the rice nears harvest, weeds remain a difficult obstacle in most fields. This will require diligence, effective plans and timely applications for future crops. Fazenda Lagoa also suffered through an unusual period of cold weather in mid-December, when the crop was at R4 growth stage, which caused a lot of damage. Fazenda Lagoa Bonita also has significant weed pressure, since they were unable to prevent or control a large infestation of volunteer wheat from the previous crop.

I always enjoy driving through Sao Paolo state-the highways generally follow the hilltops (and the hills are large-150 – 200 meters of elevation change), so we get to see the beautiful countryside spread out around us. It is obviously quite a different look from what we see in Nebraska, especially in January. On Sunday I flew to Porto Allegre and we drove to Pelotas. Avoiding large lizards in the road is another thing that is not a problem in Nebraska! This week we will have a field day at the Alavarez Farm in Sao Borja, then back to Sao Paulo state and the Neumann farm for their Field Day, as well as visits to other locations in Rio Grande do Sul.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sprinkler Models for Center Pivots and Linears | by Jerry Gerdes

There are two types of sprinkler models used for center pivot and linear equipment: fixed spray and rotating spray. Both sprinkler types have a wear plate mounted directly below the nozzle (orifice), which discharges the water and creates a 360°ree; water pattern. Fixed sprays have no moving parts because the wear plate is fixed. A rotating spray wear plate rotates either fast or slow, depending on the sprinkler model.

Water Patterns and Runoff

Rotating sprays produce a large wetted diameter (50' to 70') that creates a low-intensity water pattern; this is a major advantage of rotating sprays. This type of sprinkler works very well on medium to heavy soil types and reduces water runoff. Fixed sprays have a wetted diameter of 15' to 40'. This type of sprinkler works well on light soils where runoff may not be a big issue.

Plate Design

There are a variety of plate designs available to you that can very the droplet size of the water pattern; various designs are available for both rotating and fixed sprinkler types. By selecting a plate that produces smaller water droplets, you can also reduce the water pattern intensity. Smaller water droplets can easily lead to lower application efficiencies from evaporation and wind drift losses. Please note that climate conditions must be considered in the plate selection.

Fixed spray and rotating spray sprinklers are designed to operate at a low pressure in order to minimize energy (pumping) costs. Design operating pressure for fixed sprays is 6 to 30 PSI and pressure for rotating sprays is 10 to 30 PSI.