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"They do a so much more efficient job of watering. In 12 hours, it [a center pivot] can water 40 acres versus maybe not even a couple acres with the gravity system. And you can adjust the amount that you put on whether you want an inch applied at that time or if you want more or less. And you can water at any time whether it's pre-planting or if it's in mid-season of crops, it just allows for way more efficiency as well as timing… Being able to spread that water out over that larger area and being able to control the speed and the amount that's being applied – versus with the gravity you had so many gates opened and they ran off the end, and I mean that water went into the ditch.
     "You can time it with the amounts that you need and the amount that the crop needs at that time. Versus with the flood irrigation, you were putting on (you knew) way more at the top to get that water pushed out the end [of the row]. So that the whole field was watered. And so it was a little inefficient.
     [Question:] "With 100 pivots, how often do you have breakdowns?"
     "Every day. There's something every day."
     [Question:] "Really?"
     "Yeah. And it can range from being stuck, or (like I say) a flat tire on a pivot or gearboxes. And usually we try and check them in the mornings. Then we'll get together and we'll get up in certain teams and try and figure them out and get them pulled out. As well as, a lot of times, it requires the service department from the various companies to help us keep them going…
     "Some of the newer technology has come along. We can actually monitor the pivots from a computer as well as text messaging, and that helps. It'll call you if the pivot is down. We can't necessarily make any changes on it, but it will monitor it for us and tell us if it's running or not. And that helps kind of (like we say) kind of plan your day. You can go to the ones that are off first."
     [Question:] "So the phone call you had just a while ago might have been a pivot saying, 'I'm off.'"
     "It could have been, but it was – that would have been a text message that would have come through. But they do have the technology that it would call you and say that."
     [Question:] "I find that image just to be hilarious, to be honest with you. [Laughter.]"
     "It is. It was kind of a funny thing to start in on and then once you're around it you don't know why that technology wasn't there before… Yeah, it is kind of a strange thing. I get kidded about it sometimes. 'The pivots are calling you!' And sometimes they are."

Mark Kaliff – Efficiencies with Pivots

   

Excerpts from Mark & Valerie’s Interview:

Farms Growing Bigger
The Bust of the 80s
Government Subsidies
Women on the Farm
Rural Lifestyles Today
Mysteries in the Country
Growing Monocultures
Mining Groundwater
Farm Equipment Innovation
Tractor Technology
Conservation Tillage
Computers on the Farm