Thursday, October 30, 2014

Apple Season in Nebraska | by Kelly Cox

Last year, we gave you a snapshot of a classic agritourism stop in Nebraska – Vala’s Pumpkin Patch. This year, we’d like to give you another pin in your agriculture map with a quick tour of Nebraska apple season. 
AppleJack Festival
© Nebraska City AppleJack Festival
For the past two months, Nebraskans state-wide have been celebrating the apple harvest, beginning with the annual AppleJack Festival

Each September, Nebraska City opens its streets and orchards to nearly 80,000 people to kick off the harvest. This massive three-day event includes a parade, carnival, craft fairs, live music, and, of course, APPLES. And I’m not just talking about freshly-picked apples; anything you can think of that is made from apples is available to sample and take home. 

Throughout the rest of the apple harvest season, the orchards remain open for anyone to experience, including a “u-pick” service and farmers’ markets. 

For the first time in my 28 years of being a Nebraskan, I went through the orchards and picked a peck of apples. I was absolutely AMAZED at how absolutely beautiful and expansive the orchards truly are! Many of the orchards have several kinds of apples available to pick, so you can mix and match what you take home.

There is also fun for the whole family at the Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure® (or “Treeventure,” as I keep calling it). Along with apple picking, you and your family can learn about nature, take a guided tour of the Arbor Day Farm, and climb a massive 50-foot treehouse!

So, if you find yourself in Nebraska in early fall, be sure to plan a day to visit the orchards in and around Nebraska City. 

Click here for a full list of open orchards.

U-Pick Apple Service

Kelly Cox
Global Digital Marketing Manager

Kelly is a native of Omaha, NE, and has degrees in English and Web Development. She joined the Valley Irrigation Global Marketing Department in 2008 where she shares her love of web and all things digital marketing with her colleagues and the Valley dealer network. Outside of her life at Valley, Kelly enjoys reading, singing, and spending time with her family.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Another Great Year for Rice | by Kelly Downing

Rice harvest seems to have wrapped up in most of Missouri and Arkansas, and we again worked with some producers who wanted to grow rice under their center pivots. In 2014, three growers in three different states cooperated with us to again demonstrate the viability of this practice.

One of our past cooperators Dennis Robison grew rice again under his pivot near Nealyville, Mo. (South of Poplar Bluff). This was Dennis’ third rice crop under pivot, using a two-year rotation (rice-soybeans). Once again, he had excellent results. His yield under the pivot was 170 bushels/acre, equivalent to other yields in flooded fields nearby. Cool weather in July seemed to stunt yields across his farm, and his Rice Tec 745 under pivot performed just about the same as it did elsewhere.

Campbell Coxe , another past cooperator, grew rice again under a pivot near Society Hill, S.C. Campbell was again happy with his results—he got 125 bushes/acre, which was very satisfactory for the unique heirloom aromatic variety he grows, Carolina Gold. Campbell is vertically integrated; he grows, mills, processes and sells his rice to the retail market. You can check out his website here.

A third cooperator John Taylor tried pivot rice for the first time near Hughes, Ark. This was a trial for him, as he begins to get into rice production. His Roy J yielded 182 bushels/acre, and he was very pleased. Taylor is encouraged that the system can work and that this gives him another tool to use as he increases rice acreage in future years.

Based on his pivot operating hours, it looks like he used less than 24” of irrigation, which seems like a reasonable number. I don’t have weather records for his field, and I know this seemed like a wet year in his area. However, based on the soil type for his field, I think this was a very good result. 

Below is a photo of Taylor’s rice at the end of July. You can see that the stand looks good and the weed pressure is manageable.

In general, I think we had another good year with pivot rice. As we move forward, the reduction in corn and soybean prices may lead to more interest in increasing rice acres. This practice certainly puts another arrow in farmers’ quivers as they manage rotation, weed control and marketing issues in their operations.

Also, remember that the USDA RMA approved pivot irrigation as an irrigation management system. Crop insurance for this practice should be available to producers in Missouri, Arkansas and Texas beginning in the 2016 crop year. This should make the decision easier for those who want to try a promising new management idea while limiting their financial risk.

I thank you for your interest in this topic and your attention to these posts. Continue to work safely through the remainder of the harvest season, and stay in touch!

Kelly Downing
International Ag Project Specialist

Kelly, a Nebraska-based Irrigation Specialist, spent 10 years working on soil and water research projects for a major agricultural university, involving a variety of crops. His work focused on irrigation management, but also included other topics. Since joining Valley Irrigation, he has worked in the service, product management, product reliability, and sales. Kelly now focuses on developing projects in irrigation field management and providing recommendations for the Circles for Rice project. Kelly has traveled to several countries providing technical support, such as soil moisture monitoring and irrigation management training.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dedicated Student Raising Money to Buy Pivot for his College | by Shannon Peterson

Some people have a gift – sometimes they don’t even realize it.

Kevin Hawman, a sophomore at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Ore., is one of those people. The 19-year-old is studying ag business and crop production at BMCC, but he is doing so much more.
After a miserable February day spent repairing old wheel line sprinklers on the school’s student farm, Kevin was frustrated with the old irrigation equipment. But rather than complain – as many college students would – Kevin decided to take action.

He launched a fund-raising campaign, so he could buy a new Valley® center pivot and a Valley for his school. This is no band-trip fundraiser. Kevin needed $25,000 for the pivot and $65,000 for the linear – after a $30,000 discount from Valley. But he wasn’t daunted by the price.

“I really want to give back,” said Hawman, who grew up on his family farm in Hermiston, Ore. “I’ve been at BMCC for a year and it’s so great. I just wanted to give back to the school.”

Some of that generosity may be in his genes. Twenty years ago, his father, Mike Hawman – a BMCC alumnus, donated a pivot to the school. Mike helped his son develop a list of potential donors.

So far, Kevin has raised $33,000. Two weeks ago he ordered a two-tower Valley pivot that will be delivered soon.

He still needs about $57,000 to purchase the five-tower linear, but he is determined to reach his goal.

I asked Kevin, ‘why Valley pivots?’

“Because of my background,” Kevin said. “My dad has had a great relationship with Valley and I grew up with Valley pivots. I just wanted to get the best and I wanted to get Valley.”

Kevin Hawman – not just a generous heart, but a good head on his shoulders!

Want to help Kevin out? Contact him at

Shannon Peterson
Marketing Content Editor

Shannon joined Valley Irrigation in 2013. She writes and edits materials about irrigation equipment. Shannon enjoys traveling with her family, particularly to national parks, and she occasionally writes about her travels for tourism magazines. She also likes trying new restaurants, seeing movies, and watching Husker football and Creighton basketball. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Top Five Recommended Fall Maintenance Tips

The growing season doesn't end with harvest. Taking care of your irrigation equipment now will prevent costly repairs and downtime next year. Give your center pivot a checkup so it will be ready to roll when planting season arrives.

To help you with post-harvest maintenance, Valley® offers its Top Five maintenance tips:

1. Wheel Tracks - Be sure to fill deep wheel tracks during the off-season to reduce stress on irrigation, tillage, and harvest equipment. To help prevent future tracking, consider changing to a different type of tire, adding floatation, or modifying the sprinkler package to reduce water application to the wheel tracks.

2. Drive Train - To maximize the life of your drive train and keep it operating trouble-free, drain water from the wheel gearbox and center drive, and make sure the gear lubricant is at the appropriate level.

3. Pipe Flushing - Flushing your pipeline and cleaning your sand trap is essential, especially if you either have water quality problems or your irrigation water contains sand.

4. Moving Parts - Steel moving on steel without proper lubrication can lead to unnecessary wear and tear on irrigation equipment. Be sure to grease all moving parts, including the pivot point bearing, towable hubs, corner rollers, and legs.

5. Schedule Your Preventive Maintenance Check Our Valley dealers offer winterization programs for all brands of pivots. From inspections and tire pressure checks to sprinkler package replacement, your dealer will ensure your irrigation equipment is in top condition and prepared for winter.

For more preventive maintenance tips, visit our website.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Valley University Wins National Recognition | by Kelly Schultze

In August, we announced that the Valley® University team was named as a finalist in the Chief Learning Officer® 2014 Learning in Practice awards. We are proud to announce that at the recent Chief Learning Officer Symposium, the Valley University team received an award for Global Learning. Other winners in the in our category included Western Union and the U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Institute.

We are excited to receive industry recognition for our efforts to expand and improve the training we provide our stakeholders. And, although we are pleased, we are in no way satisfied. Going forward we will continue to create courses that will serve both our international and domestic dealership networks, as well as expand our internal employee development opportunities.

Here are some reflections from our team:

“I think back to when I was first hired and how we started with literally nothing, and I can’t help but be proud of where we’re at today. Our team has put in a lot of hard work to get to this point, and it has been rewarding to see how actively our dealers are utilizing the system. I’m extremely grateful that Chief Learning Officer magazine has recognized our efforts, and I know that the Valley U team is committed to meeting and exceeding expectations moving forward!” - Billy Grenfell, Sr. E-Learning Instructional Designer

“Building Valley University from the ground up, including the architecture, set up, and launch of a global Learning Management System has been such an exciting and rewarding experience in itself. To be able to reach and educate people all over the world with valuable content in their own language is an amazing thing and something we take a lot of pride in. It is awesome to look back two years ago and see how far we have come, and this award from Chief Learning Officer magazine reaffirms we are headed in the right direction.” – Jenna Olmer, Sr. E-Learning Instructional Designer

“The award and recognition are great for Valley Irrigation and Valmont® Industries. I am proud to be part of an organization that has received industry-leading reviews, and we will continue to work hard so that this won’t be the last award we are recognized for. Our team is full of driven and devoted individuals that are continually pushing the limits of our learning system. Congratulations to everyone in the Valley Irrigation and Valmont family for painstakingly contributing the content and reviewing the courses with us. Let’s keep the momentum going forward.” – Dan Gage, E-Learning Instructional Designer

“Receiving this award has been exciting and encouraging. We at Valmont are definitely on the right path to enhancing the company’s training around the world, and it’s a very rewarding feeling to be involved in something that helps to develop people’s expertise and careers while improving our business results and shareholder value. I’m excited to continue working with the skilled and knowledgeable people in our organization to creatively, through cutting-edge technology and media-rich content, produce training courses and materials that will further assist our internal and external learners.” – Kelly Schultze, E-Learning Instructional Designer

“This award is a huge honor and further validation that our work has a positive effect on the lives and career development of our dealerships and our Valley Irrigation and Valmont team members.” – Tyler Bertsch, Training and Development Specialist

“This independent, industry-leading validation that we are moving the needle with global training and development is a good indicator we are doing the right things here at Valley Irrigation and Valmont Industries. Our leadership’s commitment to excellence, innovation, human talent development, and continuous improvement is further proven by the Valmont Welcome and Learning Center, a state-of-the-art $14.5 million facility serving Valmont learning and innovation. We at Valley University are pleased to serve in the continuous improvement process to which we all aspire.” – Patrick Angel, Director, Global Learning

The Valley Univeristy team, from left, Kelly Schultze, Tyler Bertsch, Billy Grenfell, Jenna Olmer, Patrick Angel, Dan Gage and recent intern Paige Jones.

Kelly Schultze
E-Learning Instructional Designer

Kelly joined Valley Irrigation in early 2014 as an E-Learning Instructional Designer. When she isn’t at work, she is typically creating replica costumes and props from films, comics, and television shows. Kelly also enjoys learning languages and is conversational in French and Korean. She loves to travel, and has lived abroad while studying in South Africa and South Korea.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Stop and See Us at Sunbelt | by Shannon Peterson

We’re getting ready to wrap up the fall trade show season. Today, the Valley® team is putting the finishing touches on our Sunbelt Ag Expo booth in Moultrie, Ga. We’re hoping for a little less rain than we had at Farm Progress and Husker Harvest.

We’ll be spotlighting BaseStation3™, so stop by our booth, A-4-169, and find out how it can make your life easier! 

Also at the Valley booth, you can learn more about farm solutions from AgSense® and Valley Water Management, and check out Valley products from pivots to PolySpan®.

Looking for a little fun with your farm show?Take time to see the Peterson Farm Brothers (no relation), who will be performing their farm-themed parodies of popular songs twice a day at Sunbelt. If you aren’t familiar with the Petersons, check them out on YouTube. I dare you not to chuckle.  

Speaking of farm shows, you’ve probably attended many through the years. Do you ever wonder what it’s like on the other side? As an exhibitor? 

We put together this little time-lapse video at Husker Harvest Days and thought this would be a good time to share it. Enjoy!

Shannon Peterson
Marketing Content Editor

Shannon joined Valley Irrigation in 2013. She writes and edits materials about irrigation equipment. Shannon enjoys traveling with her family, particularly to national parks, and she occasionally writes about her travels for tourism magazines. She also likes trying new restaurants, seeing movies, and watching Husker football and Creighton basketball. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Love of Fall Harvest | by Jill Zwiener

It seems if you ask anyone in the farming/agriculture industry what their favorite part of the year is, most of the time you will hear “fall harvest.” There is something extra special about turning the calendar to October when harvest is in full swing.

It starts with walking out in the morning, a slight fog hangs in the air as you take in that first breath that is a little cooler than the months before. As everyone starts to gather in the field to begin harvesting, you feel a sense of excitement. The entire team is working together to get the year’s crop brought in.

The sights, the sounds, and the smells of harvest are so special. The sound of the combine shelling the corn. The aroma of the corn drying while a slight dust floats through the air. As the sun starts to set after a long day, the lights of the equipment and grain systems come on.

The mercury starts to drop and you reach for that light jacket to keep warm as you watch everyone coming in from the field. You shut down the equipment for the day and that's when you not only realize your love for fall harvest, but the love you have for taking care of the family farm. If you are lucky, you might even experience the joy of sharing this with your own children, knowing this might turn into their love as well and keep the cycle of family farming going.

The only thing that can make it better is catching a big, orange harvest moon coming up over the horizon on your drive home, knowing that in only a few short hours you get to start the process all over again. 

Happy fall harvest to everyone in the agriculture community! Take care and be safe this year!

Jill Zwiener
Brand Manager

Jill joined the Valley Irrigation team in 2011. She loves country music, fountain soda, food, college football, and the ski slopes of Colorado. She enjoys using photography to freeze the precious bits of time with her family into pictures that she can cherish for years.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Finding Food Solutions for Expanding Population | by Shannon Peterson

Sometimes we get so caught up in building center pivots and talking about irrigation that we lose sight of the bigger picture: the role farming plays in feeding the world.

The issue of 
food scarcity will come into sharp focus at an upcoming event. The Aid and International Development Forum (AIDF) Food Security Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, will unite government officials, United Nations agencies, ag businesses and other entities in an examination of an imminent food security crisis.

The AIDF says the two-day summit will provoke robust debate and frank information sharing that will to lead to innovative ways to tackle food insecurity in Asia and the Pacific.

Rising demand, scarce resources and increased volatility are putting new pressures on sustainable and self-sufficient food production, according to the AIDF. More than 700 million people in Asia and the Pacific live in abject poverty (defined as living on less than $1.25 each day). Something needs to be done. Soon.

Valley will participate in two panel discussions:

“Innovations and Trends for Increasing Agricultural Productivity and their Practical Application” will examine new technologies for overcoming the challenges of producing more food, conserving more resources and addressing the needs of farmer livelihood.

“Sustainable Agriculture in Asia-Pacific: Trends, Challenges and Innovations” will focus on the expanding world population and increasing concerns about resource scarcity, land availability and biodiversity conservation. The panelists will discuss the need for change and solutions for sustainable agricultural production.

It’s essential that – despite the chaos within our own lives – we remember those less fortunate and consider how we can make the world a better place. I’m proud that Valley recognizes its role as not only a leader in irrigation, but a leader in solving global issues.

Shannon Peterson
Marketing Content Editor

Shannon joined Valley Irrigation in 2013. She writes and edits materials about irrigation equipment. Shannon enjoys traveling with her family, particularly to national parks, and she occasionally writes about her travels for tourism magazines. She also likes trying new restaurants, seeing movies, and watching Husker football and Creighton basketball. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Still the Best Value - the Valley Difference

Here are the top five reasons Valley® continues to be the best value.

1. Strongest, Most Durable Spans
Tests supervised by an independent professional engineer confirm the overall span design of a Valley is more efficient and stronger than all competitive manufacturers. The durability of a Valley makes it the best investment for your operation.

2. Made in the USA Gearbox
Only Valley has its own staff of gearbox design and manufacturing engineers to monitor product quality. All other manufacturers purchase a less expensive gearbox from China that does not provide the long life you can expect from the Made in the USA Valley gearbox.

3. Balanced Design for Long-Term Life
Custom-designed pipes and trussing engineered for each span length ensure a smooth crown and truss shape resulting in uniform component loads throughout the span for long-term life. Other manufacturers' use of universal pipes and trussing force the components together, resulting in non-uniform span shapes and uneven component loads. 

4. Advanced Technologies
Only Valley offers BaseStation3, which allows growers to monitor and control their center pivots from any location using a computer, smartphone or tablet. Advanced technologies from Valley improve your quality of life. No more missed family dinners or little league baseball games. You can’t put a dollar amount on having peace of mind while spending time with family.

5. World’s Leading Dealer Network
Responsive, factory-trained technicians that you can count on for support after the sale, when you and your crops need it most.