Giant leaps in irrigation technology in the past 40 years have kept irrigation supply companies on their toes. Those who cannot adapt to nature of this changeable industry quickly find themselves out of business, but for those who rise to the challenge, like New-Way Irrigation, the sky really is the limit as to how far they can go.
Founded in Taber in the late 1970s, New-Way Irrigation now has branches in Taber, Lethbridge, Brooks, Bow Island, Strathmore and Outlook, Saskatchewan.
“We mainly supply agricultural irrigation centre pivot equipment to growers,” explains New-Way sales manager Colin Friesen. “We do everything from design, supply of equipment, service, parts— basically everything and anything to do with agricultural irrigation.
“I think one of our biggest keys is service,” he says. “It is one thing to sell a product, but another thing to stand behind and be able to repair it if something goes wrong. For the guys out there to be able to rely on you, your service team has to be out there in 24 hours or less should something go wrong.”
While great customer service is a major component of the company’s success, veteran New-Way sales representative Bryan Smith says adaptation to changing marketplace conditions has been paramount.
“This generation of farmers is really technologically savvy,” states Smith. “They are grabbing onto these technologies better than some of the previous generations did. And they fully understand it. Whether it be their tractors, their fertilizer applications, etc., everything now is going through a variable rate system. Precision ag. is what it has come down to.”
“We have GPS guidance for the corner systems,” confirms Friesen, “GPS guidance for lateral machines. We have the ability to control irrigation equipment with the touch of the keypad on our smart phones, or from a laptop computer. This new technology also has the ability to alert you and send you a text message if something goes wrong.
“So you know instantly, without having to spend all that time driving around your fields and checking them, you get an instant message to your phone saying, ‘Something is wrong; come out and fix me.’”
“There are now pump stations with variable speed drives,” adds Smith, “and they are getting to be fully automated now; so you can tie them into your phone and monitor your pressure, power usage and different things like that.
“If you are running a system off a large pump station, you can get more information on your phone now… Soil moisture probes are another product people are catching on to. Those are automatic sensors out in the field that monitor your soil moisture.”
“Irrigators are often thinking about technology they want far before it’s being produced,” agrees Friesen. “That’s what we are finding; especially with the younger ones taking over.”
It may pose a unique challenge for New-Way Irrigation to keep up with all the demands for the latest irrigation technology, but Friesen says his company is fully committed to training its service and sales staff to meet the needs of its customers, no matter their soil conditions, topography, local weather features or crop preferences.
“A lot of guys are looking to that technology to make their farms more efficient, and our advanced product lines have definitely given us an edge…They’re asking questions about stuff which may not even be in concept stage yet, but they are looking for those kinds of solutions. So as a business, you have to be with the curve, or ahead of it.”
New-Way Irrigation designs, sells, installs and services new and used irrigation systems. It carries all the top brands such as Zimmatic, Nelson, Senninger and Cornell. For more information visit their website at newwayirrigation.com.