Thursday, May 2, 2013

Valley Irrigation Around the World | by John Kastl

I recently returned from a product tour of New Zealand and Australia. It was great to get out of the office and experience this region of the world, but, I must say, it's great to be back!

It was very dry in both New Zealand and Australia - there really are some great opportunities for supplemental center pivot and linear irrigation in this area of the world. It's so dry in New Zealand that water restrictions have been implemented in some areas on the south island. The drought is also not good for irrigation water sources, as a great deal of it is dependent on rainfall that the country hasn't seen a lot of recently. Christchurch is still recovering from the severe earthquake they experienced in 2011. In a couple of spots, we saw where the road had shifted sideways by almost 8 feet. The road that once was straight now has a couple of curves!
Cows under center pivot

But, on to happier topics! I learned quite a bit about irrigation in New Zealand and Australia, as well as how center pivot and linear irrigation is used today. In New Zealand, center pivots are used to irrigate pasture for dairies. The cows really love standing under the sprinklers on hot days (pictured at right). There is also some cropping, but mostly for silage to feed the cows. 

Australia does have a few dairies like New Zealand, but they mostly irrigate crops, such as cotton, rapeseed, sorghum, corn, sunflowers, and sugarcane.

We paid a visit to our dealers and some of their customers during the trip. After some great discussion, we learned about opportunities for center pivot and linear irrigation, as well as advancements in technology, that we can help out with to make their lives better!

Along with the Sydney Harbour Bridge (pictured on the right), we took time to visit the Sydney Opera House, the Outback, and the Australia Maritime Museum.

Myself and Jim Summers (Valley Engineer)
Sydney Harbour Bridge
As most people do when they visit this part of the world, we saw kangaroos and emus. One of the gals in the Valley Marketing Department asked me if kangaroos were as common in residential areas as squirrels are here in the United States, but I'd equate them more to the presence of deer - and, let me tell you, if a kangaroo runs into your car, plan on taking a trip to your local body shop or car dealer.

Thanks to everyone who met with us during our trip, especially Wayne, Martin, and John of Valmont Irrigation Australia. Hopefully, we were able to answer some of your questions, and we definitely learned a lot!

More pictures from our trip can be viewed from the Valley Irrigation Facebook Page - click here to check them out!

As they say in Australia, "Cheers, mate!"

John Kastl
Product Manager - Equipment

John joined the Valley Irrigation Engineering Department in 2000 after having spent 11 years at General Electric Aircraft Engines. Today, he manages the equipment products for Valley (center pivots, corners, and gearbox, to name a few), helping develop the next generation of Valley Irrigation machines. John enjoys photography, home renovation, and travel. On his third birthday, John watched the first moon landing!