Successful Precision VRI
Written By: Kylen Hunt
I recently traveled to an ag conference in St. Louis, and as the plane was preparing to depart- it dawned on me how similar the irrigation season is to an airplane flight. I believe you will agree with the comparison.
Both plane flights and Precision Irrigation follow three important processes: destination, take-off, and landing.
First is destination preparation. It is important to determine where you are going and trust in the people and equipment that will get you there. You wouldn’t get on a plane before figuring out where you are going first. Yet, in irrigation we often get the season off-the-ground before figuring out exactly “where we want to go” with our planting goals. The importance of knowing our end goal and the means of how we will get there are as equally important as knowing our destination before hopping on a plane. What should we expect our irrigation to accomplish? What equipment is needed to achieve a specific goal or objective? Who will need to be involved to ensure the success of any specific system? All these questions should be addressed if we are going to reach a successful destination with irrigation management.
Next is the take-off. A plane requires a lot of force and energy to lift off the ground. It’s a process that starts off fairly slow, but must ultimately reach incredible speed in a short time to fully take off. While the amount of energy is reduced after that point, it still must be sustained for ultimate success. The same holds true with Precision Irrigation. Once the goals and destination have been clearly identified, energy and time are required to get the system up and going. Just as humans are not designed to fly, but require aerial devices to do so, precision irrigation is not natural so it requires specific equipment to accomplish the goal. If you have a great team to assist you, then getting the system off the ground is fairly painless to the passenger. Once the system is up and running, energy is still required but not nearly as much as in the beginning during takeoff. This is the process though that is vital to you getting to your goal.
Now for the really important piece. The landing. It does no good if you get to your destination, but crash at the very end! At that point we would have to consider the whole flight a failure. So how do we end well? It all starts at the beginning and requires a good flight crew. Just imagine a pilot who gets the plane up but has no knowledge of the destination or the landing procedures. We have to trust the flight team to take us to our destination and bring us in with a smooth landing. In irrigation, this “landing” is the end of the season. It requires great recommendations to make sure we conserve our resources at the end so that we finish with dryer profiles. This enhances the harvest operations by allowing producers to get in the fields quicker with less compaction. It also allows for quicker field access in the event of fall rains. Just imagine how much sooner you can get into the fields if your profile is empty and you receive a couple inches of rain to refill that profile? This approach will also allow you to better conserve any nutrients that are available after the growing season concludes. Now, think about soil health. If we can harvest with less compactions and we can create a healthy environment for the biology systems in the soil, what will that mean to next Spring’s planting conditions?
It’s at this time, you need to review the data.
- Were we as profitable as possible with our program?
- Did we get to our destination by utilizing the least amount of energy possible and conserving as many resources as possible?
- Did we record every detail of the season so we can identify any profit loss opportunities?
- What changes will we make in the coming seasons to improve the results?
This is all important with finishing well.
While this is simply a comparison between plane flights and a successful irrigation program, I hope you are able to see the comparison and the importance of preparation, implementation, and analyzation to achieve great results and greater profits.
To learn more about how CropMetrics can help you have a successful year, contact us, we’re here to help.