FarmHQ’s Smart Irrigation Tech: Saving Water and Easing Minds

In an era where agricultural efficiency is paramount, FarmHQ’s cutting-edge irrigation technology is revolutionizing how farmers manage their water resources. This innovation from the US-based company promises significant savings on labor, water, fuel, and electricity, while also preventing crop damage. However, according to CEO and co-founder David Wallace, the benefits extend beyond the tangible. “But if you’re talking to growers, they will often also mention peace of mind, stress reduction,” Wallace emphasizes.

David and his brother, Connor Wallace, have developed a system that controls water flow and shares real-time irrigation data through a cell phone dashboard. This allows growers to synchronize all their irrigation equipment online, thus saving time, reducing stress, and lowering costs. “I sometimes call it the internet of irrigation,” David explains. “That’s really what we are building.”

FarmHQ’s technology is particularly focused on larger farms, where connectivity and monitoring present significant challenges. “Our smallest farm is about 150 acres, and we’ve got farms that are pushing 10,000 acres,” David says. “But we do not do work for vineyards or any farm that has a permanently installed drip irrigation solution.”

The system operates on cellular technology and includes a GPS chip, enabling it to function in remote locations where traditional communication methods fail. “We have devices operating in Mexico in pretty remote locations, where you can’t send a message on your phone. But our devices operate there pretty well,” David notes. The technology provides constant updates on location, speed, pressure, and flow rate, as well as advanced metrics like estimated completion time and application rate. This allows farmers to monitor and control their irrigation equipment remotely, even setting timers and schedules for efficient watering plans.

FarmHQ’s technology is designed for annual field crops irrigated with mobile equipment like hose reels, linear movers, or center pivots. It provides real-time information on how fast a sprinkler is moving through the field, eliminating the need for farmers to check their irrigation systems manually, even in the middle of the night. “They’re not worrying if their irrigation is working,” David says. “They don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to go and check on it.”

Cost reduction is a significant advantage of the FarmHQ system. “Monitoring an irrigation system for a large farming operation costs a lot of money. It is kind of a hidden cost,” David explains. “So, if you’re able to eliminate all that drive time, the labor, the fuel and wear and tear on your trucks, it adds up to many times more than the cost of the system.” Additionally, water savings and crop damage prevention can amount to substantial financial benefits, particularly for high-value crops.

Last year, FarmHQ’s devices helped save approximately 365 million gallons of water on farms covering roughly 40,000 acres. The company has seen its farm accounts triple year-over-year, with revenue increasing fourfold. The number of agricultural irrigation dealers selling FarmHQ products and services has also quadrupled, and 95% of customers are renewing their contracts. “This year, we have well over 100,000 acres under management,” David says. “I expect that figure is going to scale pretty much linearly as we expand.”

Currently active in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Australia, FarmHQ is eyeing further expansion into Europe, with Italy, Spain, and Greece at the top of their list. The basic system costs $1,449 in the US, with an annual fee ranging from $220 to $360. Farmers can install the system themselves, often without any tools. “It can be very simple,” David points out. “Installation on electric pumps or center pivots is a little bit more involved.”

David Wallace’s journey back to agriculture was driven by a desire to solve the frustrating challenges he experienced growing up on his family’s potato farm in Washington’s Skagit Valley. “We were constantly driving around to see what our irrigation systems were doing,” he recalls. Now, with FarmHQ, he and his team are offering a solution that promises not only to save resources but also to provide invaluable peace of mind for farmers worldwide.

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