Monday, March 31, 2014

Navigating the Data Frontier in Irrigated Agriculture | by Andy Smith

The use of data in farm management is a hot topic in all areas of agriculture these days. Precision ag tools are leading to strategies such as variable rate seeding, geo-referenced yield monitoring, and many platforms for machinery management. Each of these systems is capable of generating a great deal of data. 

Data science applied to irrigation is no exception. As technologies such as connected machines, soil moisture sensors, and variable rate irrigation are becoming more commonplace, the irrigation-specific data stream is expanding rapidly.

I am not sure who said it, but the quote comes to mind: "We are drowning in information, but starved for knowledge." Growers need tools that turn these endless streams of data into actionable information to help them take full advantage of opportunities to increase yield and optimize inputs.

At Valley®, we are actively participating in a variety of consortiums focused specifically on the ag data arena. We know that the appropriate application of this mix of technology can significantly improve productivity and curtail waste. We also know that the inappropriate application of such technology can be a waste of time and resources, as well as a source of great frustration.

Another quote from an unknown author comes to mind, "Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should." Technology is a great enabler, but it can be nothing more than a distraction. This brings to mind another quote I heard from the late Stephen Covey, "Technology must be your servant, not your master."

Recently, we rolled out BaseStation3™. BaseStation3 represents the most powerful, yet flexible, irrigation management platform ever developed. BaseStation3 turns data from a variety of agronomic sources into relevant, understandable information that will aid irrigation management decisions.

BaseStation3 will continue to evolve and add features, but make no mistake, BaseStation3 will not be a distraction. This platform is focused on managing irrigation. That means helping growers make irrigation decisions based upon timely, accurate, and relevant information from a variety of sources; then turning those decisions into irrigation applications through connected Valley machines.

It sounds simple, but it's easy to get distracted. At Valley, we are focused on the science of irrigation. As far as BaseStation3 goes, your servant awaits.

Andrew Smith
Director of Industry Relations

Andy has spent more than 27 years involved in the irrigation industry as a farmer, contractor, designer, salesman, and trade representative. At Valley, he manages strategic relationships for mechanized irrigation technology across a broad range of applications. Andy lives in northern Michigan with his wife, Kim, and his daughter, Madison, and enjoys a variety of outdoor activities.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Keeping Up with Valley Part I: Google Alerts | by Kelly Cox

 If you’re reading this blog, we know that you are a Valley® enthusiast! If not…well, we can change that around pretty fast. And, if you want to be, but don’t know where to start, we can help with that, too!

This blog post is the first in a how-to-find-Valley-in-the-digital-world-and-beyond series. In this post, I’ll walk you through one great way to get instant updates on Valley Irrigation and the Valley brand.

Subscribing to a FREE Google Alert about Valley will send the latest news about the company and brand to your email inbox. Setting up a Google Alert is easy – just follow these steps:

1. From your favorite web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer…Opera…), navigate to You’ll then see a box that looks like this:

2. In the box that says “Search Query,” type in “Valley Irrigation.” (without the period after the word “Irrigation”)

3. From there, choose the Result Type you would like to receive in your email inbox. Choose:

  • “Everything” to get alerts of every kind of media published online about Valley.
  • “News” to just receive press release and news article alerts.
  • “Blogs” if you would like to receive alerts when a new “Growing the Conversation” blog post is published, or even when Valley is mentioned in some other blog!
  • “Video” to receive alerts of a newly published Valley video on YouTube.
  • “Discussions” to keep up-to-date with forum threads that are either about or mention Valley.
  • “Books” when a new e-book is published about Valley…I recommend you don’t just choose this one - alerts will be seldom, at best.

4. Next, choose how often you would like to receive emails from our friend Google: as-it-happens, once a day, or once a week. I prefer the “once a day” setting, as I A) don’t want to be bombarded with emails and B) want to know the day of when something new is published and available for my perusal.

5. The last setting for you to choose is “How many,” which is asking you “What quality of results do you want us to send ya?” You have two settings from which to choose: receive “Only the best results” or receive “All results.” The “All results” setting is a bit subjective; as a marketing professional and overall digital media geek, I want to see anything that could be about our company and brand, even if it ends up being completely irrelevant (that’s what the Delete button was invented for). However, you may want to try your hand at the “Only the best results setting;” however, keep in mind that the “Only the best results” setting is probably being filtered by robots and not by a real human, so you may miss out on some of the Valley awesomeness.

6. Last but not least, enter your email address, so Google knows where to send your Valley alerts!

7. I lied in No. 6…the very last thing you need to do is hit the “CREATE ALERT” button. You can’t miss it.

So, a finished Google Alert, with the settings described above, should look like this:

In the “Search Query” field, you don’t just have to type in “Valley Irrigation” to get results from Valley. Other options include:
  • Valley
  • Irrigation
  • Valmont Irrigation
  • Valmont Industries
  • Center Pivot Irrigation
  • Precision Agriculture
  • Precision Irrigation
And, the best part about Google Alerts (other than the fact that it’s FREE and only takes about 10 seconds to set up) is that you can set up as many Google Alerts as you want – the sky is the limit!  

Try out Google Alerts for yourself. Take it for a spin, buy it dinner, and let us know about your experience with Valley-themed Google Alerts in the Comments box below!

Kelly Cox
Global Digital Marketing Manager

Kelly joined the Valley Irrigation Global Marketing Department in 2008. Her love of all things geek (steampunk furniture, anime, Doctor Who, and science fiction/fantasy literature, just to name a few) helped shape her appreciation for technology and the web. Kelly is a newlywed and new homeowner, where she shares her geekery with her husband. She considers herself a wine connoisseur (though, 3 buck Chuck is delicious!) and has a love of painting, dance, and singing.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Here’s to Agriculture – National Ag Day | by Brooke Stover

National Ag Day is about appreciating the role that agriculture plays in our world today. Agriculture provides us with food, jobs, and clothing – I, for one, am very thankful for all three of these. (Life would sure be weird without them.)

When it comes to the things we rely on to live, you can’t build something out of nothing. And agriculture requires many “somethings:” hard work, dedication, knowledge, and a whole lot of other stuff that could take days to list.
Animated gif button
I have witnessed the hard work that goes into agriculture, whether it happens in the field or in an office. Many behind-the-scenes jobs play a role in the production of our essentials. So I think it is important that organizations bring awareness to agriculture.

Tomorrow, March 25, the Agriculture Council of America hosts National Ag Day to remind us of the contributions agriculture makes to our daily lives.

There is a lot of recognition deserved by those who fuel our lives, so here’s to agriculture and the people behind the word. They deserve thanks for their commitment to supplying the world with food, jobs, and clothing.

Interesting facts from

Lettuce is a member of the sunflower family. (This one changed my life a little, just like when I found out tomatoes are a fruit.)

Michigan and New Jersey produce 66 percent of all the blueberries in the United States, followed by North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington. (As I write this, I am hoping Michigan also produces the most success in the March Madness tournament this year – that may save my bracket.)

Pasta made its way to the New World through the English who found it while traveling through Italy. The English made pasta by cooking it for about a half an hour and then smothering it with cream sauce and cheese. This was the beginning of macaroni and cheese! (Thanks for carbs, founders of the new world.)

Each American farmer feeds more than 144 people. (This one is just awesome!)

Brooke Stover
Global Marketing Coordinator

Brooke has been with the Valley Irrigation Global Marketing department since 2011. She spends her free time taking pottery classes; though she thoroughly enjoys this, most of her stuff is a bit lopsided. Brooke also loves to read and listen to Frank Sinatra. She enjoys traveling and has been to 19 countries with the goal to make it to six more in the next two years!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Missing the Olympics? Get Your Fix From This Sochi Supplier | by Dan Duncan

Construction of D-Lift Booster Pump Station
The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, is the third Olympic event in which Torrent has provided its expertise in the niche market of snowmaking with high-power, large-capacity pump stations. 

The process for Sochi began in 2008 when Torrent traveled to the future site of the Olympic Games in Russia to aid in the beginning of the discovery, design, and engineering phase for the pumping stations. The Torrent pump stations supplied the water for the snowmaking guns.

There were a number of challenges the Torrent team faced as it worked to deliver the optimum pumping stations to meet the unique requirements of the Russian climate, environment, and altitude. The goal was to get a sufficient amount of water up a significantly high vertical rise of approximately three-fourths of a mile (about 1,000 meters) and do so in a way that would supply the adequate amount of water to be crystalized into snow at the correct pressure ratings.
Construction of Olympic Lake Pump Station

The primary pumping system adjacent to the storage lakes had 14 600 horsepower vertical pumps in it. The water left the primary pump house at a pressure of 1,000 PSI. This water passed through two additional booster pump stations as it traveled to the summit of the mountain. Each of these pump stations were in constant communication with one another, and could be operated locally, from remote locations, or from the central control room at the resort. 

Each Olympic project requires several years of planning, organization, and communication. The weather was quite warm at the most recent games, but the snowmaking system produced enough snow prior to the games to ensure the success of the events.  

Head over to the Torrent Facebook page to see videos and news stories about the Sochi pumps.

Dan Duncan
Torrent Engineering & Equipment

Dan is a guest writer for the Growing the Conversation blog by Valley. He is a mechanical engineer educated at Purdue and based in Indiana. He has a history in the automotive, heavy equipment, and water pump markets. Dan’s primary focus is raw water pumping systems for the agricultural, oil and gas, and mining industries.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Valley Visits Poland for AGROTECH | by Cristina Morozov

Poland’s largest agricultural trade show - the 21st International Fair of Agricultural Techniques or AGROTECH - opened its doors March 7- 9 in Kielce. This important business-sector event hosted 600 exhibitors from around the world, displaying the newest agricultural equipment. 

In the course of the three days of exhibition, more than 58,000 visitors analyzed the displayed equipment and benefited fro
m competent advice offered by professionals in the field.

Lukomet, a Valley® Irrigation dealer in Poland, participated in this year’s AGROTECH exhibition. The show gave Lukomet an excellent opportunity to develop further business relations with peers, as well as educate and expand the knowledge of farmers with respect to irrigation solutions. 

Participation in agricultural exhibitions that have such a large audience is an excellent way for Valley to promote its message of implementing sustainable irrigation equipment. 

AGROTECH also is a great networking event for professionals, as well as for companies in the agricultural industry. Extensive product lines such as Agricultural Machinery and Tools, Cultivated Plant Seeds, Feed Additives Devices, and Irrigation Equipment were presented during the show. 

If you missed this year’s exhibition, make sure to mark your calendar for next year’s event, which will take place March 27-29, 2015, in Kielce, Poland.

Cristina Morozov
Valley Irrigation Intern

Cristina joined the Valley Irrigation Global Marketing Department in January. Originally from Moldova, Cristina earned a bachelor’s degree in management and economics from the Otto-von-Guericke University in Magdeburg, Germany; and a bachelor’s degree in finance from the Academy of Economic Studies in Moldova. She is working toward her Master of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. in her free time she enjoys travelling, reading, dancing, and trying to learn to play tennis.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Looking for the Farm Mom of the Year | by Shannon Peterson

Mom – she holds a special place in your heart. And, a special place on the farm. Often the farm mom’s deeds go unheralded. It’s time to change all that.

Nominate your favorite farm mom for the America’s Farmers Mom of the Year contest and she could win $10,000!

Prepare a brief essay about how she contributes to her family, farm, community, and agriculture. Then click here to nominate her. The deadline is March 31.

So what does a farm mom contribute? A recent Twitter contest from Americas Farmers provided some fun insight:

  • #FarmMom good cook, drives a big green tractor!
  • Sleeping on the couch to be near my 9 year old son who is sleeping on the other couch to be near his 9 day old bottle goat.
  • A #farmmom is a mom that can drive a tractor all day and popcorn and boardgames at night.
  • A #farmmom is often in competition with the "other woman", #mothernature, but knows that's ok bc there are others to feed.
  • ‏A #farmmom cares for the land like she cares for her kids-she wants the best future for both.
  • #farmmom 
    • Filthy clothes
    • Lengthy hours
    • Seeds to sow
    • Hurried showers
    • Lessons learned
    • Values taught
    • Kisses earned
    • Joy sublime!
Head over to Twitter #farmmom to read more.

* * *

Meanwhile, the AgChat Foundation is sponsoring the Social Media Farmer of the Year Award.

This award will recognize a farmer that has “incorporated social media, digital media, and Internet strategies to achieve business objectives including growing revenue, sharing information for more effective farming practices, and overall elevating the industry.”

Farmers can nominate themselves or a colleague at here. The deadline for nominations is March 31.

Shannon Peterson
Marketing Content Editor

Shannon joined Valley Irrigation in 2013. She enjoys traveling with her family, particularly to national parks, and she occasionally writes about her travels for tourism magazines. Shannon also likes reading, trying new restaurants, seeing movies, and watching Husker football and Creighton basketball. However, she and her husband spend most of their free time chauffeuring their teenage son to activities and chasing their baby daughter.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Commitment to Excellence – Certified Irrigation Designer | by Jerry Gerdes

Valley Service School in Dubai,
United Arab Emirates
Well, the winter season is almost over. Valley® sales people have been busy this winter attending trade shows and meeting growers from all across the country. It always impresses me to see large numbers of farmers at trade shows and seminars eager to learn about new products and new technologies that can improve their farming operations.

Valley dealer personnel have also been attending many Valley-sponsored events; sales meetings, design schools, and service schools, this winter to get the latest information on Valley products and how to apply those products to meet their customer’s needs.

Over the past several years, a number of Valley dealer salespeople have earned the status of Certified Irrigation Designer (CID) through the Irrigation Association’s Certification Program. This certification is earned by passing a series of three exams that cover design topics such as pumps, pipelines, crop water use, and sprinklers.

Becoming certified is a commitment to improving one’s knowledge of irrigation topics and the ability to provide the best service possible when designing a center pivot or linear machine for customers. 

World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA
All Valley dealers that have reached the status of Performance Premier Dealer have at least one salesperson on staff who has earned CID status.

In January 2014, I began serving on the Irrigation Association Certification Board. I look forward to the challenge of continuing the excellence of the certification programs. I am certified as a CID and I encourage anyone within the Irrigation industry that is not certified to give it a look. 

Click here for more information about the certification process.

Becoming certified is a great accomplishment and a great way to show your commitment to the irrigation industry.

Jerry Gerdes
Product Manager - Water Application

Jerry, Nebraska-based Water Application Product Manager, contributes years of experience from his time working for a sprinkler manufacturer prior to joining Valley Irrigation. Currently working with different sprinkler manufacturers, Jerry develops the recommendations for the optimum water application package for a grower's operation.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lean Agriculture, Food Losses, and Waste – Setting the Standards | by Cristina Morozov

Stable economic times are excellent for setting standards and directions for development. Agriculture is a vital part of any given economy, and constantly improving agriculture is essential to promoting self-sufficient food production in economies across the world. 

Understanding the causes and minimizing the effects of food waste are crucial to reducing poverty and malnutrition on a global level. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) takes a proactive approach toward improving agriculture and reducing inefficiencies associated with the production of food.

This year, from March 29 to April 4, the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest, Romania, will be hosting the 29th FAO European Regional Conference. The major topic of the conference will be food losses and waste in Europe and Central Asia. The scope of the conference is to understand and address major problems associated with food loss and waste. 

Designing appropriate agricultural policies will shape a more efficient food-production process, as well as leaner food waste management techniques. Right now, although global levels of food surplus are skyrocketing, the inefficient world supply chains, over consumption, waste, and loss of food are leaving behind an impressive amount of starving people.
A CropMobster collecting leftover crops
from farmers' fields to avoid food waste.
(Photo by Gary Cedar)

Food wastage is divided into two categories: food loss due to agricultural production, harvest, and processing; and food waste due to distribution and retail issues, restaurants and catering, and, lastly, domestic consumption. Encouraging efficient agricultural production and management processes are key activities for successfully facing the constantly growing global demand for food and water.

Lean agriculture practices are fundamental to Valley® and this blog. We would love to hear your thoughts on efficient agriculture processes, as well as food losses and waste management. Hit the comment button below and share your experiences with us!

To register for the conference, go to:

Want to learn more? The USDA recently released a report noting that the United States wasted about 31 percent, or 133 billion pounds of its food supply in 2010. Read more...

Cristina Morozov
Valley Irrigation Intern

Cristina joined the Valley Irrigation Global Marketing Department in January. Originally from Moldova, Cristina earned a bachelor’s degree in management and economics from the Otto-von-Guericke University in Magdeburg, Germany; and a bachelor’s degree in finance from the Academy of Economic Studies in Moldova. She is working toward her Master of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. in her free time she enjoys travelling, reading, dancing, and trying to learn to play tennis.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Thinking Outside the Circle, Part 2 | by John Kastl

Many growers want to know how to make their operations more efficient. Last week, we talked about using Valley® Benders and DropSpan™ to increase productivity. Today, we’re going to examine what Valley corner options can do for you.

Many growers are increasing their productivity by irrigating the corners of their fields. On a square, quarter-section field you can irrigate as many as 23 additional acres with a corner machine, and on rectangular fields you can pick up significantly more.

Corners operate automatically and can be guided with either a buried wire or GPS. Also, if you chemigate or fertigate, you can cover the entire field. No extra equipment needed to apply these chemicals to the corners of the field.

Valley Precision Corner

Valley offers two corners. The Valley VFlex Corner™ is designed to be flexible. It offers a variety of options, such as a fixed or swiveling water transfer hose, single or dual steering gearboxes for difficult terrain, two corner arm lengths for different size fields, and – coming soon – a longer corner arm, an “inverted” option, and electronic sequencing. All these choices allow you to customize the machine to fit your field, crop, and farming practices.

The Valley Precision Corner® comes standard with a fixed joint, constant-movement VFD drives, electronic sequencing, and a built-in chemigate mode – the high tech features growers demand for industry-leading water uniformity.

So, as you can see, Valley offers a number of products that can improve your farming operation. The best part is you can mix and match these products on a single pivot to develop a truly customized machine that covers that odd-shaped field you didn’t think could be irrigated. So start “thinking outside the circle” and talk to your Valley Dealer today about how you can increase your irrigated acres.

Hear more about gaining extra acres in this radio interview from the National Farm Machinery Show: Download the .mp3 

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!