Zimmatic centre pivots have proven vital in driving the success of farms. An efficient irrigation system can benefit the farmer through ease of use and better water management. This is exactly what Tobias Musariri from Zimbabwe experienced.

Tobias farms on Kwasamaita Farm, 10 km outside Chegutu, about 100 km from Harare.

“This is a second-generation farm. It was founded by my late father, Tobias Musariri senior, in 1979, after retiring from the motoring industry. I continued with the farm when he passed away in 2012,” Tobias says. “When he initially purchased the land, there was absolutely nothing on the farm, except for one little building that was made of asbestos, but that was it. So, we built it from the ground up.”

Clearing the land took them a couple of years.

“We sunk some boreholes and started using a system with aluminium pipes for irrigation. Initially, we put 20 hectares under irrigation,” he elaborates. Today, the successful farm cultivates 100 hectares of seed production for local seed houses, as well as 400 hectares of commercial maize. In total, there is 500 hectares under pivot irrigation.

“We provide seed to SeedCo, and grain which goes to the local Grain Marketing Board under commercial and government programmes. We used to specialise in the 727 cultivar, but now we also grow the 719 which takes longer to mature,” Tobias says. Other seed crops include barley and wheat.

The farm’s main source of water is the Mfure dam, and boreholes.

Steps towards better irrigation with Zimmatic by Lindsay

Back when Tobias and his family used the aluminium pipe sprayers, they had to move them every four to six hours, depending on the crop. “We must have done that for about 25 years,” he recalls. “As we expanded our fields, we relied on this form of irrigation, because that was what we could afford at the time. But if you do not attach the rubbers correctly, it will not irrigate properly. We would get in trouble for over irrigating certain areas and wasting electricity and water.”

Later, at the turn of the century, they discovered the benefits of centre pivots. At that point they were cultivating just over 100 hectares. “We bought a second-hand Zimmatic pivot from a friend. When we first put it up, it gave us some problems, but it was such an amazing change. There was no need to wake up in the early hours anymore,” he recalls.

By 2012, we had 120 hectares under irrigation. “As our operation grew, we found pivots to be the most efficient. It changed the concept of farming for us, and it has increased our yields per hectare.”

Zimmatic centre pivot success with Lindsay technology

Currently, there are twelve pivots on the farm.

“We have started changing our control panels to the 700 series. A part of this process is setting them up on FieldNET to ensure all our pivots can be remotely controlled and monitored,” Tobias explains. “Technology has greatly influenced our irrigation decisions. Our pivots are all communicating with us, and we are in the process of linking them up to a central farming system.”

This means that Tobias’ children who are studying abroad can even keep an eye on the pivots from where they are. “Even when they are not around, they can use the Zimmatic technology to get a glimpse of what is happening on the farm.”

Everything irrigation related is taken care of by Zimmatic. There are three pump stations that service the 500 hectares of irrigated fields.

Tobias praises the success he has found with Zimmatic. “We can now confidently say our yields have doubled and our labour requirement has been cut down. Previously there were twelve labourers handling the irrigation, but now we have two who move around on their motorbikes.

“Before we upscale even more, we want to improve our yields. There are other products that we are bringing onto the farm such as potatoes and citrus, and Waterwright, our Zimmatic dealer, is walking us through it,” Tobias says. “Our plans involve using Zimmatic pivots for some of those crops as well.”

With this technology running smoothly on his farm, Tobias also has a student programme that educates students about the FieldNET technology. “Usually, we get top students from seven or eight universities across the country. They are very smart, tech savvy, and excellent with statistics. This shows how, in general, technology has made people’s lives easier, because helpful technology is something they easily understand,” he says.

Service from Lindsay that drive success

During the years of expanding the farming operation, the Musariri family’s path crossed with Mr Graham Wright. “He is an amazing man who was keen to help us get his brand of pivots: Zimmatic by Lindsay,” Tobias states. Graham Wright is the Managing Director of WaterWright, the irrigation distributor and Zimmatic Dealer in Harare. “Mr Graham continuously visits our farm to advise us on the best decisions and to make suggestions. With his help and the advancing technology, he always keeps us one step ahead. It is this technology that will continue to make us more efficient and reduce labour costs.”

Tobias explains that the dealership is very hands-on, and he can call them with a concern no matter what time of the night or day it is. “We are a happy farm thanks to our Zimmatic products. I continue to tell my dealer he needs to give me a Zimmatic sign so I can put it on my farm because I am so proud of the service and products,” he boasts.

“In our experience, the brand of machine makes a difference because it is not just about the machine, it is the long-term relationship you build with the brand supplier and the quality of service.”

This is not just in the purchase stage, but also afterwards.

“I would recommend Zimmatic pivots to other farmers because it is more than just a product; you also receive guidance on the various opportunities you could be maximising on your farm. You are also advised on how to best use the Zimmatic equipment, which is a plus. With advancements in technology, I think as a farmer you want to try and stay on top of new trends that will really be efficient and allow you to scale up.

“We have a very good relationship with our dealer, we quarrel a lot but we always get to the bottom of what we need to do,” he smiles. “We tease each other like that.”

To find your closest Zimmatic dealer or request a quote, visit www.lindsay.com. Talk to Tanya Brits on +27(0)21-986-8900 or send an e-mail to tanya.brits@lindsayafrica.co.za today to learn more about the benefits of Zimmatic centre pivot technology.