Field day for new irrigation equipment -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Field day for new irrigation equipment

August 23, 2005

Sumter County - University of Georgia scientists are showing farmers new technology to help conserve water and improve crop yields.

Common irrigation systems are being retrofitted with computer systems to put water where and it's needed.

The V.R.I. irrigation system uses computer map, electronic sensors in the field to detect moisture, and software to control where, when, and how much water the nozzles in the pivot will spray.

Farmer Ches Goodin said, "The spots it doesn't need as much water, I can cut it down, and I'm able to get in and spray and all when I need to, instead of being wet all over."

The University of Georgia hosted a field day demonstration of the V.R.I. system working at Crisp Farms in Sumter County.  Goodin says it's saving him water and money.

"The main thing is not being scared of the computer and technology. It' pretty easy to operate," says Goodin.

Crisp Farms owner Jenny Crisp says the equipment's conservation of water is important to everyone.

Crisp said "It's going to make for better crops. It's going to make for better life in the state for everybody."

The V.R.I. system costs about $15,000 per pivot to install, and the bottom line is whether more farmers will use it.

There are grants from the Agriculture Department that will pay for up to 75 percent of the cost of the V.R.I. irrigation system. The University of Georgia is helping award those grants.


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