Monday, February 24, 2014

Thinking Outside the Circle, Part 1 | by John Kastl

Many growers today are asking how they can become more efficient within their operation. With lower crop prices this year, that question is more important than ever. As many of you know, center pivot irrigation is a great way to increase your yields and ensure a good crop year in and year out, without depending on Mother Nature to provide the right amount of moisture at the right times. But for growers already taking advantage of center pivot irrigation, are there additional ways to become more efficient?

Fortunately, Valley® offers a number of products growers can use to irrigate additional acres on fields they already own. Today, let’s take a look at the Bender30™, Bender160™, and DropSpan™ to see how they can help you increase the productivity of your operation.

Valley Bender products allow a center pivot to “bend” at any drive unit on the pivot, allowing the machine to wrap around in-field obstacles. For example, if you have a feed yard or farmstead in the middle of the field, a Bender will allow your center pivot to wrap around the obstacle and irrigate those acres behind the obstacle.

Valley Benders include an exclusive Speed-Up Timer. This is important because your sprinkler package is designed to provide maximum uniformity in non-bending or “straight machine” mode. When the machine is bending, the bending spans are covering less area, increasing water application depth. The Speed-Up timer minimizes this effect by increasing the speed of the machine while it’s bending. Some growers prefer to shut off the sprinklers on the stopped spans. Your dealer can design a custom shutoff package for the Bender on your machine.

Of course, Valley Benders operate automatically so you don’t have to spend time monitoring your machine’s operation.

The Valley Bender30 can bend the machine up to 30 degrees in either or both directions, allowing you to pick up as many as 6 acres per side. The Bender30 is simply a special tower box that can be easily retrofitted onto any Valley 8000 or 7000 series drive unit. It’s also available on PolySpan® machines, so even if you have corrosive water, you can take advantage of the benefits.

The Valley Bender160 allows your machine up to 160 degrees in either or both directions for up to 32 additional acres per side. Unlike others, the Bender160 uses a toothed belt during bending to constantly monitor the bending angle. This ensures the machine doesn’t over-bend. It also allows you to control your end gun during bending with two end gun cams built into the Bender160 tower box.

Maybe you have a rectangular field, a small area at the edge of the field you just can’t reach with an end gun, or just some grain bins near the edge of the field. The Valley DropSpan offers an excellent solution for those situations. 

The DropSpan is designed to “drop off” one or more spans from the end of the machine, allowing you to irrigate behind obstacles at the edge of the field. While you do have to manually drop the spans, the process only takes 15 minutes and doesn’t require any special tools or equipment. The DropSpan is designed to automatically re-align with the dropped spans, making it very easy to re-attach them.

Read "Thinking Outside the Circle, Part 2to find out what Valley Corner options can do for you.

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!

1 comment:

  1. Really great post. The Bender30 and Bender160 look great. I had heard about this at an agricultural show, but your explanation really helped.