Here is how it works.

A water budget is set up for each crop and field before the season begins. Knowing the water allocation from each source and the historical crop needs for the various crops, a plan is developed to ensure sufficient water availability for the coming year.

An irrigation supervisor, equipped with a smart phone, collects the necessary water data - ditch and pump water - and updates the ‘water bank’ in real time for a manager to review.

Everyone has quick and easy access to irrigation historical events, along with a summary of how much was applied and how much water is left in the ‘bank’ to complete each field.

“The entire system is dynamic and complex,” said Michael. “We adjust it according to the weather, but for the most part we know in advance whether we will be able to harvest our crops without coming up short of water.”

The tool allows Newton to monitor water usage in real time and deal with any possible shortfalls before getting into a bind.

“It is simple but also has a lot of flexibility that allows us to manage our business the way we like to operate and not the other way around,” Michael said.

LandView provided a field data collection tool. Since the application runs in a computer ‘cloud,’ the growers can quickly ensure that everyone is correctly recording data and does not get behind.

“This year we planted 550 fewer acres of cotton due to our analysis of maximizing our planted acres given our limited water availability,” said Paul Newton. “We are confident this is the right amount to lay fallow.”

What would happen if only 300 acres were kept fallow or if 750 acres were set aside?

“At the end of the season, fields could suffer from the shortfall and we could possibly lose the crop, or we would have had leftover water that could have generated more yield,” Paul said. “This would cost us a lot of money either way.”

John Newton is convinced that information technology makes the family more profitable.

“Water is a unique crop input - unlike nutrients, seed, or pesticide,” Newton said. “It is a limited resource where we can’t just go out and purchase more.”

Newton added, “Effectively managing our water to maximize our production means we have a shot at staying in business for a few more generations to come.”


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