When Brandon and Rick Christiansen of Plainview began to adopt telemetry automation to their center pivots, they were initially skeptical of the systems on the market because of reliability and affordability issues. That all changed when they found Field-Wise technology in their own backyard at Ewing. Now, after years of partnering with the company, the Christiansens serve as a test farm for new FieldWise innovations, providing feedback to the company to help it serve farmers better. “We were founded on the idea of doing something together as a family to help growers manage their fields,” says Brian Klawinski, who serves as FieldWise business manager.
“For us, starting FieldWise was more about working with family than making money.” The first year the company operated, it focused on devices installed and wired on the end tower of the center pivots. By its second year, FieldWise had added more precise controls to its offering, including GPS end-gun control and monitoring on center pivots, variable-rate irrigation speed monitoring and control, and an auxiliary control for other applications, explains Klawinski. “Each device also has the ability to provide collision detection and a stall alert,” he says.
Producers can run water use and operating reports on each pivot for scheduling and maintenance. Their troubleshooting capabilities can detect not only bad stall timers, but also microswitches, contactors and even low voltage. “The devices were first installed on the end tower of the pivot system,” says Jared Kruntorad, company sales manager. “It was installed by mounting on the end tower of the center pivot and wiring into the last tower box. Now, we also use magnetically installed devices for computer panel control units.”
More than just convenience
“This isn’t just a convenience thing,” says Brandon Christiansen. “It really pays for itself. I have had instances where a pivot had broken down. I went to the field to fix it and thought I had everything running again as I drove away. I got an alert on my phone saying that things were not running correctly, so I went back to repair it again. “It really saves on fuel and time checking pivots,” Christiansen explains. “I usually check everything in the field in the mornings, but at night I won’t check every pivot. I just get on my computer or my phone and monitor all of them to make sure everything is running correctly. I know that they are because I hadn’t gotten any alerts on my phone.”
According to Christiansen, the stall timer alert has been crucial. He recounts several instances when a pivot would stall at 8 p.m. and send him an alert to fix it. “If I hadn’t received the alert, the pivot would have been stalled in the same spot and run all night,” wasting water and energy, and oversoaking a single spot in the field, he says. “Brian constantly monitors the pivots remotely,” Christiansen says. “If something comes up, he’ll call me before I can even notice it.”
“This isn’t just a convenience thing,” says Brandon Christiansen. “It really pays for itself.”
With a current working area across Nebraska and in at least four other neighboring states, FieldWise is now adding new dimensions to its services, including moisture probes and weather stations to keep everything together on a single portal. “There won’t be a separate website for probes, pivot monitors and for trackers,” says company co-founder Ken Kruntorad. “Each customer will be able to access everything from one convenient source, giving the grower the tools necessary to make informed decisions as a main goal.” “We were able to take our device and apply it to other applications such as grain bin fan and dryer monitoring, engine monitoring and even vehicle tracking,” Jared says. “Managing multiple applications with a single device gives the end user more value for the investment.”
Learn more about the FieldWise equipment and systems by calling 402-860-7092. Contact Christiansen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article by: CURT ARENS