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.