Valley Irrigation recently introduced its new X-Tec advanced DC drive motor, which uses FastPass technology and operates up to twice the speed of a standard, high-speed AC center drive motor. The motor design provides constant torque at any speed, providing growers with unmatched control and additional options to maximize crop yields.
The patented alignment technology and robust DC motor keep the pivot moving at a smooth, consistent pace, even over varied terrain.
"We are doing a lot of research on how to increase yield," says Galen Grimm, who farms in the hilly terrain of northeast Kansas. "The X-Tec plays into that because it provides totally uniform application and has the flexibility to run at different speeds for varying situations. The water application under that pivot is completely consistent, because it moves so smoothly."
The drive technology allows the Valley X-Tec to move at speeds as low as 1 rpm — just 1% of maximum motor speed — or ramp up to a fast 136 rpm, letting growers gain consistent application at any speed and take on the toughest terrain.
Benefits of speed
"While the power of the Valley X-Tec drive is attractive for running the pivot at lower speeds in difficult terrain, it's really the high-speed capabilities that appeal to many growers," explains Christopher Righter, Valley product manager. "It's ideal for crops that need to be cooled every day, or to maintain proper surface moisture during germination."
For example, crops such as carrots and potatoes are more susceptible to heat and sun. They require a daily cooling spray to remain healthy. Running a pivot over the crop at top speed provides the proper cooling for plant health.
Justin Wootan, a potato grower on Black Mesa Farms in Idaho, is an early adopter of technology that can help with the quality of his potatoes and improve his family farming operation. He started using a Valley X-Tec on his Valley pivots to keep up with his irrigation schedule.
"To get high-quality potatoes, we need a lot of water, and Valley X-Tec helps us keep up with that high demand," Wootan says. "We run our pivots all day during the hot season, and our pivot with Valley X-Tec technology lets our irrigation package match the water intake rates of the soil and evapotranspiration."
"We've found the high speed of Valley X-Tec is also very helpful to those growers with center pivots that are less than a full circle. As the pivot comes to the end of the watering cycle, it can quickly and immediately move back to the beginning of the cycle," says Righter. "That way, it doesn't start watering where it just finished a cycle. Instead, it goes back to the beginning of the cycle where it's driest."
Grimm installed a new Valley 8000 series pivot with a Valley X-Tec last spring. The pivot covers just over a half-circle of corn.
"I can have my pivot make two cooling passes in an afternoon when it's 105 degrees out," Grimm says. "At full speed, it only takes about an hour and a half each way. We can cool our crop with a quick rotation, send the pivot back to the starting point, and send it around again, all in one afternoon."
During germination, the Valley X-Tec speed allows the grower to provide frequent, light applications, which allow the plant to push through the soil more easily. Then, during early stage crop growth, maintaining soil moisture can prevent sand from blowing and damaging leaves while minimizing erosion.
With FastPass technology, growers have additional options for applying fertilizer through the pivot. Moving the pivot at a high speed also provides the option to fertilize through the leaves.
"The timing of foliar application can be tricky, and fertilizing through the pivot gives the grower more control," says Righter. "If the weather changes, the grower doesn't have to wait for an aerial applicator or get a sprayer ready to apply the fertilizer or protective crop chemicals. He can just set the pivot to fertigate as the timing is right."
The wide range of speeds available with Valley X-Tec technology makes variable-rate irrigation (VRI) a natural fit. Varying irrigation under one pivot allows for simpler split-crop management. Irrigators can also program their center pivot to run at faster speeds over low spots, preventing overwatering in areas that need little or no water, while slowing down over areas that require more water.
Source: Valley Irrigation