Darrell Cordova, who farms in rolling hills near Denair, Calif., said the pivot system he uses has taken the place of a crew of three men who had spent three hours twice daily moving pipe to irrigate.

“Now I go out and push a button,” he said, adding that his pivot works on clay, sandy and sandy loam soil and can be programmed to do chemigation and fertilization, including spraying for weeds on Roundup Ready corn.

Cordova said he changed the spray nozzles to better suit his crops, and that the overhead system “washes your mites off.”

Scott Schmidt, a neighbor of Diener’s explained that he traveled with him a few years ago to Washington state to check out systems there.

He said most setbacks in applying the system in California, for him, have been “self-inflicted wounds” as he learned infiltration rates and how plants were responding.

Schmidt has seven pivots he can operate remotely from a cell phone. He gets text messages when a system starts or stops. The field day concluded as darkness fell and Schmidt showed one of his pivots at work over a field of Pima cotton not far from the Five Points research center.