One of the most important investments a farmer will ever make is a centre pivot irrigation system. Despite the initial outlay, the cost-benefit ratio is extremely favourable in the long term, particularly in areas like Botswana where natural precipitation can be irregular or scarce.

The truth of this statement is aptly proven by a dedicated mother and her son’s farming operation in Botswana.

Farming runs in the Van der Merwe family

Born, bred and raised in an agricultural family, Cynthia van der Merwe and her son Frederick farm together in Botswana outside a small village called Machaneng, close to the South African border. Their farming venture is known as Request Tuli Fresh.

Frederick explains: “We acquired the land in 2012, and a lot of work had to be done to get the farm where it is today. We had to de-bush the whole farm to enable us to grow vegetables. We mainly produce potatoes and butternuts for some of the big supermarkets and smaller shops in Botswana.”

He adds: “Farming is not for the faint-hearted and without perseverance you will never get anywhere. Despite all the challenges, there is nothing I would rather do than farming.

“One of the biggest challenges for us in Botswana is the availability of spare parts for our farming equipment, and that is the reason why you have to choose your equipment and brand wisely in order to farm profitably,” he explains.

The Komet twister sprinklers on Frederick’s 30 ha pivot ensure that every droplet is placed consistently on the soil.

Senter 360, the preferred choice for Request Tuli Fresh

Frederick says: “I visited several farmers before I made an informed decision regarding the irrigation system that I wanted to use on our farm, and Senter 360 stood out above most of all the pivots that I saw. In 2015 we installed our first Senter 360 pivot.” Altogether they have 200 ha under irrigation, 174 ha irrigated with centre pivots. They have ten Senter 360 pivots in total; nine 16 ha pivots and they recently installed a 30 ha pivot as well. “We plan to acquire two more 30 ha Senter 360 pivots in the near future,” he elaborates. The main goal for irrigation is to provide plants with the proper quantity of water at the best time.

“Our Senter 360 centre pivots enable us to water our crops during the times when it is needed most. They also enable us to supply our vegetables at the right time and right season to our end users,” Frederick explains.

“The one thing that stands out the most to me about Senter 360’s centre pivots is the way they are manufactured and built. They are built to last in Africa conditions. The pivots are sturdy, robust and wind resistant. “A Senter 360 has a balanced pipe structure and in my opinion the pivots carry their weight much better than other competitors. The quality of their galvanising is also a plus point to me,” he states.

“On the very first pivot that we installed in 2015, nothing has ever been replaced since then; the pivot is still exactly the way it was, and it has many hours on the clock. The maintenance on the pivots is minimal. Another important benefit is the fact that Senter 360 pivots have their own unique patented, specialised pivot tyres. We do not struggle with flat or perished tyres over time,” Frederick says.

He adds: “The return on investment with the pivots on the farm is absolutely worth it.”

Komet twister sprinklers As vital as the mechanised system itself is the need for the right sprinklers for your centre pivot. “The Senter 360 pivots that I have, are equipped with Komet twister sprinklers, which makes a huge difference in terms of the consistency of droplet size and reduced soil compaction which ensures maximum uniformity of water application,” Frederick explains. He adds:

“The design of the Komet sprinklers is not only beneficial for irrigation purposes, but also for the application of fertiliser, where the fertiliser is applied consistently on all the crops.” Ideally, therefore, a centre pivot sprinkler should emit droplets that are large enough to withstand wind drift, misting and evaporation, but small enough to avoid surface sealing, compaction and erosion on tighter soils. This is exactly what Komet sprinklers achieve.

Frederick van der Merwe, farmer in the Machaneng district of Botswana, with one of his ten Senter 360 centre pivots.

Variable rate irrigation on different sectors

Frederick highlights: “Senter 360 pivots come standard with variable rate irrigation for different sectors and precipitation adjustment, which means that you can manage and monitor your water rate and application from your control panel. It also enables you to calculate how long it will take for the pivot to irrigate a 180- or 360-degree circle.”

“It is easy to use, and it is a feature of the pivot that I really like!” he adds.

Senter 360 at your service

“Senter 360 is not only cost-effective with parts readily available, but whenever I pick up the phone to contact them regarding any problems or questions, they are always available to help and assist, and you immediately get your answers from them.

“I will definitely recommend Senter 360’s pivots to other African farmers. Not only is their service exceptional, but their pivots are also built to last, especially here in African conditions. We can farm and irrigate our crops with ease of mind, knowing that our pivots won’t let us down,” he concludes.

For more information on Senter 360’s pivots, contact them on (+27)18-469-1331, or send an e-mail message to Alternatively call Theuns Dreyer directly on (+27)82-564-5955.