Sep 3, 2020
Arizona’s Duncan Family Farms invests in high-tech irrigation

Goodyear, Arizona-based Duncan Family Farms, a family-owned grower of more than 7,000 acres of certified organic produce, recently announced the installation of a highly effective, controllable and transportable treatment system for irrigation water.

Duncan Family Farms on Kuntze Cloud Connect. Photos: Kuntze
Duncan Family Farms on Kuntze Cloud Connect. Photos: Kuntze

The installation, including five systems on organic baby tender leaf crops in Oregon, represents the first agricultural use of water treatment systems from Germany’s Kuntze Instruments, a global supplier of industrial water treatment and process control equipment, according to a news release.

“We take the health of our soil, along with the safety of our employees and products, very seriously,” said Jeremy Vanderzyl, Duncan Family Farms Director of Technical Services. “We were looking for the best solution to safely meet the recently adopted Leafy Greens Marketing Association (LGMA) sanitation requirements for irrigation water, and Kuntze presented impressive technology that could positively impact our growing operations and the entire fresh produce industry.”

Duncan Family Farms’ new water treatment system includes sensors for real-time monitoring and management of chlorine, pH levels and temperature in surface-sourced irrigation water. The application of chlorine is automatically adjusted to maintain the optimum levels for water treatment. This prevents the over-application of chlorine which is often seen in manual applications, reducing chlorine use and related costs, while protecting the rich organic soil and employees from hazardous chlorine exposure. The system is connected to Kuntze’s Cloud Connect service, providing Duncan with real-time information, alerts and control to remotely manage their system from any Wi-Fi connected device.

“Our Cloud Connect data tool and industrial process control systems are perfectly suited for agriculture irrigation water sanitization application providing 24/7 key information for efficient operation,” said Andrew Barker, President at Kuntze USA. “Once a field is harvested, the compact, self-contained units can be easily moved to another field, saving the capital costs of a permanent installation.”

“Once we understood Duncan’s needs for a portable, cost effective solution for irrigation water treatment, we were able (to) adapt Kuntze’s existing technology into a compact, integrated package utilizing Axiall’s Tablet Chlorination Equipment that can withstand the rigors of a farm operation while maintaining chemistry levels to strict tolerances,” said TG Bles, General Manager of Industrial Service & Supply. “We now have a great solution for any farm operation that needs to sanitize their irrigation water before harvest.”

Duncan is a leader in large-scale organic innovation. Their experiment of on-site composting has become one of the largest privately-owned composting operations in the Southwest United States, accepting green waste from several local municipalities, landscapers, dairies, and ranches.

“Irrigation treatment is still a young concept with much of the research and development laden upon the grower. Ensuring crops are safe for consumers, and without harming the soil, is such an important issue to the industry and we are committed to sharing our experiences and sources with other growers,” Vanderzyl said in the news release.


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