Smart Irrigation Month Q&A: Prospera Technologies

In this series spanning July, read about how the irrigation industry’s companies, providers, manufacturers and individuals use smart irrigation practices to save water.
In this Smart Irrigation Month Q&A, Prospera Technologies' Steel Maloney breaks down the company's smart irrigation involvement and future.

Smart irrigation is only made possible due to the companies, providers, manufacturers and individuals that push the envelope daily when it comes to efficient water use. To celebrate this year’s Smart Irrigation Month sponsored by HydroPoint, Irrigation Today magazine sought to highlight these sustainability champions through a series of Q&As spanning through July.

Steel Maloney, vice president of global technology sales for Prospera Technologies, Tel Aviv, Israel, and Valley Irrigation, Valley, Nebraska, breaks down Prospera’s unique smart irrigation involvement, what it means to them as a company and how they’ll push for an even better future of irrigation.

Prospera Technologies

Steel Maloney, vice president of global technology sales for Prospera Technologies and Valley Irrigation

What does smart irrigation look like to Prospera?

In order to solve one of humanity’s most fundamental challenges of feeding the world, Prospera builds technology to empower growers with information to help them make smarter decisions to maximize their yields. One of the most important decisions is when, where and how much to irrigate. Many services out there offer satellite images of fields; Prospera goes much further by taking the extra steps of analyzing all the images with sophisticated machine-learning programs and alerting growers with actionable insights directly to their mobile devices. That way, growers don’t waste time manually sifting through lots of images — we’ve already identified potential problems and quantified the impacted area before any severe damage occurs.

How does Prospera promote smart irrigation?

As a Valmont company, Prospera works closely with over 500 global Valley dealers, several hundred AgSense dealers and growers around the world to assist them on the latest technologies to help save water and maximize crop health.

This year’s Smart Irrigation Month theme is “Proud of our past. Focused on the future.” What makes you proud of smart irrigation’s past, and how are you focusing on smart irrigation’s future?

We are incredibly proud of the great work Valley has done to create the mechanized irrigation industry — improving and promoting efficient irrigation practices for the past 75 years. Through Valmont Industries’ acquisition of Prospera in May 2021, our company is now focused on developing advanced technology to improve irrigation practices further. This includes applying AI to satellite images to detect irrigation issues in real time as well as on-pivot sensors that can detect crop emergence and stand count, weed pressure and anomalies (such as disease and pests).

What are the best ways you’ve learned to encourage clients or customers to use smart irrigation practices?

Prospera actively encourages existing Valley and AgSense dealers and growers to try entry-level technology services like Irrigation Insights. We know that once growers start using the service, they’ll recognize the benefits of using technology to save resources. Technology adoption is a journey and starting with hardware-free service allows the lowest point of entry. Growers add more technology such as irrigation scheduling, Icon controls, as they feel confident and comfortable. Valley 365 allows growers to monitor and control all aspects of their irrigation management in a single platform remotely.

What’s something other growers or ag irrigation companies might not know about smart irrigation that you believe they should know?

Smart irrigation is about much more than getting field images. For example, applying AI to process satellite images can actually detect a clogged nozzle days before the human eye. Another important piece is using technology to diagnose and alert growers to pivot problems, like low tire pressure or alignment issues. On-pivot sensors capture anomalies to improve yield.

What makes you a champion of promoting smart irrigation? Is there something new or different you’d like to try in order to improve smart irrigation?

Smart irrigation is in our DNA. Our team is composed of agronomists, soil scientists, hydrologists, ag engineers and technologists working together to find holistic solutions for specific farm challenges. We’re dedicated to making solutions that are appropriate for the soil, crop and climate for each of our customers. We are focused on expanding the role of AI partnered with on-pivot high resolution imagery and sensors to provide grower assistance on a global scale to improve crop yields for all types of growers. In a way, we want to shorten the learning curve to high yield and quality production. We look forward to educating all growers about the promise and role of technology in smart irrigation.

Read other Smart Irrigation Month Q&As.

Do you have a Smart Irrigation Month story to share? Let us know what smart irrigation means to you and your company!

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