In West Texas, it’s always about water.
“I have watched the water decrease over the 20 years I’ve been farming – and before that with my dad and granddad,” said grower Brent Hendon. “It’s incredibly important to make sure we have water available now and in the future.”
Located near Welch, Texas, Hendon’s farmland has been in his family since 1916. He and his father, Ronnie, share equipment but have separate operations that total nearly 8,000 acres. He currently runs 30 center pivots over 2,700 acres of cotton.
“Water efficiency is a priority,” Hendon said. “In order to maximize efficiency, we have reduced our irrigated acres to match the water available on both my farm and my dad’s operation. We also have the majority of our acres in minimum till wheat, so that we can control both soil erosion and slow runoff when it rains. This has actually increased the average yields across the whole field.”
Hendon also uses low energy sprinkler application (LESA) – placing highly efficient sprinklers with the correct nozzle package on each pivot so that he does not overuse his available water.
“I prefer LESA for its ease of use and water efficiency,” he said. “Even with that, I don’t always have enough water available to water a full circle efficiently. If the wells to a single pivot system have less than 3.5 gallons of water per acre available, I will only water a half circle in order to double the water available from that pivot system.”
For added efficiency, Hendon integrated FieldNET by Lindsay to his irrigation system.
“My time is spread pretty thin,” Hendon said. “I decided to invest in FieldNET, because I found that I was spending more of my time checking water than driving the tractor.”
With FieldNET, Hendon is able to remotely monitor and control his pivots from virtually anywhere via smartphone, tablet or computer. He also receives immediate, customizable text alerts if there’s a problem.
“FieldNET has really changed the way I use my time,” he said. “It saves me about 3 - 4 hours a day during watering season. I also know immediately when there is a problem, which keeps the pivots from sitting in one place watering for an extended period of time.”
Hendon added that FieldNET also helps him keep track of where and when he’s irrigating – increasing his water efficiency.
His smart irrigation practices and overall commitment to efficient cotton production practices earned him the 2017 High Cotton Award for the Southwest Region – annual awards which recognize top cotton producers in each major growing region.
“FieldNET has changed the way I farm, and I don’t know how anyone can operate without it,” he said. “I want to do everything possible to ensure there is still water available for my son and future generations.”