Making Life Better on the Farm
Friday, July 13th, 2012
Irrigation system leader Reinke Manufacturing Company is donating a new, highly efficient, center pivot irrigation system to Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition and the Darrell Williams Research Farm in Moultrie, the company announced during the Sunbelt Expo’s Field Day on Thursday.
“We are happy to, again, be able to announce our support and expand our relationship with such a great organization as Sunbelt Expo,” said Reinke President Chris Roth. “Such a highly-regarded organization, Sunbelt Expo is always on the forefront of the latest in agriculture. We look forward to our continuing work together on moving the industry forward in the Southeast.”
The investment is the fourth major contribution the company has made in the past few years to the expo’s research efforts, according to Sunbelt Expo Executive Director Chip Blalock.
“They are supporting us as a nonprofit in agriculture research to make life better on the farm. That’s the selfless part of what they do here,” Blalock said.
The company donated equipment in 2004 and 2007 to expand irrigation at the farm, but the investments in 2011 and this year allow the expo to replace aging equipment and to strengthen the research work done at the Darrell Williams Research Farm.
The farm is a preeminent research facility in the development of new plant hybrids and biotechnology products. The information gathered from the demonstration plots for seed developers and biotechnology companies is crucial as growers strive to meet increasing demand, according to Reinke.
The new center pivot system announced Thursday will replace an aging three-tower model currently located on the farm and will provide better reliability, water application uniformity and efficiency. The new equipment features the latest Reinke RPM Touch Screen Panel technology and will integrate with the existing computer-based telemetry system and Internet-based remote control package.
Reinke has invested more than $150,000 in Sunbelt Expo within the last year. In 2011, the company donated a new eight-tower center pivot irrigation system to the Darrell Williams Research Farm and announced plans for a 20-by-40-foot on-site facility to provide staff with more space and storage during the fall tradeshow and other large events. The facility is expected to be finished this fall.
Investing in the expo is good marketing for Reinke, which has its products and name exposed to the tens of thousands of visitors who come to the fall expo, including growers in southwest Georgia, which has seen a boom in irrigation over the past two decades.
“Twenty years ago, 25 percent was under irrigation, but it’s closer to 55 percent under irrigation now,” Blalock said.
As lots of economic factors make Southwest Georgia more attractive for farming, growers want the precision of modern irrigation systems.
“(The Reinke systems) just allow us to know that we can put out the right amount of water,” Blalock said.
When the irrigation system is up-to-date and precise, expo Farm Manager Michael Chafin can ensure that the research actually is measuring the intended factors; he can be sure that spotty irrigation isn’t impacting the crop yield.
And in that way, Reinke’s contributions aren’t meant to show the value of irrigation, which already is a given.
The donations are meant to remove irrigation as a variable to make the research as precise as possible.
“We recognize that we work in the agriculture industry,” said Mike Mills, Reinke’s territory manager for the Southeast. “And with the pressure on growers to produce more and more, we have to help them in all ways to be as efficient as possible.”
When irrigation is reliable, the university researchers and seed development companies can better gauge the results of studies at the farm.
“It takes irrigation out as a factor because the researcher knows that irrigation irregularity isn’t impacting the results,” Mills said.
Mills enjoys visiting the expo and seeing farmers gather to learn how to make their own operations even better.
“Biotechnology research is vital to these growers, and to do that, they need this equipment. We feel like we have to give back to the industry that uses our products,” Mills said.
“It’s more of a big picture approach: Let’s do a better job with agriculture,” he said.
The research farm and expo gives growers a chance to see how the latest varieties of cotton, soy beans, corn and peanuts might affect their bottom line, Blalock said.
“Anything we do on our research farm makes life better on the growers’ farms,” Blalock said. “And when something makes life better on the farms, it makes the growers more money.”