A feast for the eye are the lush green crops beside the main road to the North. One of the farms that provides this sight for travellers is F&R Farming of Frans and Reint Dykema. They do it with irrigation from the irrigation market leader, Agrico.
The Dykemas are irrigation farmers alongside the Pienaarsrivier in the Warmbad district. Under the name F&R Farming they mostly produce maize, wheat and soya beans with 1 600 hectares under irrigation.
“Our father began farming here forty years ago with nothing. He had no pivots or cultivated fields on the farm. It was only bush. Since 2007, me and my brother, Reint, started taking over the reins. Today we are known as F&R Farming where we manage the crop farming together,” Frans said.
“We recently expanded and diversified with blackberries and gooseberries,” Frans added.
Without water and efficient irrigation systems, our farming operation cannot thrive.
We harvest two crops a year, and if your fertiliser and water are not applied timely and accurately, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise at the end of the season.
In 2020 the brothers took hands with Agrico to start a new project on the farm.
“Over the years we have used several pivot companies, but with this project we decided to move to Agrico,” said Frans.
Part of the crops, around 182 hectares, is currently under LEPA irrigation.
“At first, I was sceptical about all these long pipes and innovations, but as the team from Agrico Brits and Nylstroom moved forward with the project, I was pleasantly surprised.
“The first time I entered the new pump station, there was no noise as before. It almost felt unreal.
“The power saving compared to the other pivots is huge. We save 40% power with the LEPA system.
Frans explains the advantages of LEPA irrigation for their farm:
Most important is lower power consumption. Close on the heels of this advantage is reduced water consumption due to the large drops and less evaporation, then less maintenance and wear and tear on the pumps due to the low speed and low pressure of the system.
Frans also experience that the pivot does not get stuck easily. This means less downtime and more irrigation time. They also apply liquid fertiliser through the new LEPA system.
“Another advantage of Agrico’s irrigation system is the web control system connected to the LEPA system,” says Frans.
If one pivot finishes earlier than another on the same pipeline, then the water is automatically shut off.
The speed of the pump motor and pivot can be controlled and regulated from the online control system.
You can also control your water pressure and speed with a simple programme that you write for the pivot.
“From a management perspective it makes life so much easier. I can manage and monitor everything from anywhere in the world,” says Tyler Hillbrook, Farm Manager of F&R Farming.
“We have no complaints on the service we get from Agrico. It is so nice to know that what we need is available and that the representatives are always there to help and support wherever they can.
From day one, the Agrico team was dedicated to help us with the planning, design, erection and after-sales service.
You never have to wait. They know that an irrigation farmer does not like to wait, neither can he afford it,” Frans added.
LEPA – low energy precision application
A LEPA package places the water closer to the soil surface to drastically reduce evaporation and water loss through wind.
Because LEPA sprinklers work at low pressure, they also save electricity.