Israel-based CropX and the Nebraska-based Reinke have announced recently a strategic partnership, in which Reinke will offer growers across the US a new solution that incorporates CropX’s smart irrigation scheduling platform into Reinke irrigation systems. The agreement between the two companies also includes an investment in CropX by Reinke. CropX eyes the US Agriculture market. Earlier this year it acquired the agricultural analytic company CropMetrics, also based in Nebraska.
Reinke is one of the leading manufacturers of center pivot irrigation systems in the US, and is operating in roughly 40 countries. The most commonly used irrigation method among growers in the US is central pivotal irrigation, in which the irrigation system is situated in the center of the crop and sprinkles the water in a circular motion. This way, the sprinkler is able to cover a very large circular area of several hundred acres. These systems are cheaper than deploying drip irrigation and require less maintenance and manpower.
Speaking to TechTime, CropX CEO Tomer Tzach points out the main disadvantage of pivotal irrigation systems. “These systems cover large areas, but they shower the water uniformly throughout the radius, like rain. Agricultural areas are not always homogeneous, and uniform irrigation may result in a waste of water”.
CropX has developed a platform that includes sensors that are embedded in the soil and measure the degree of moisture in the soil. The sensors are able to analyze the type of soil and transmit the data to a smart control system, which gives the farmer accurate information on the irrigation status at each point in the cultivated area, and schedule the irrigation and fertilization plans in a more efficient and data-driven manner. The platform also takes into account information from external sources such as weather forecasts, maps and aerial photos.
Through the partnership, growers using both systems will have access to CropX’s enhanced irrigation data-driven prescriptions that they can incorporate into their Reinke irrigation control system. “Our technology makes these irrigation systems smarter. The integration will make it possible to plan the use of the system based on the agronomic information obtained from our sensors and in accordance with the weather and forecast data.”
This partnership introduces Reinke to the world of digital agriculture, which has been growing rapidly in recent years. “It’s important for them to expand from a manufacturer of equipment to a company that provides an added value to farmers in the field of digital agriculture. CropX will provide the digital layer to their solutions.”