An electric and control customer of Horner APG utilizes Horner products to automate the cranberry growing process for clients across the Wisconsin area, revolutionizing the way cranberries are grown in the industry. Cranberry marshes have a long growing season, so often times they are faced with extreme temperatures. To combat the temperature difference, cranberry farmers irrigate the bogs when the temperature rises and flood the bogs in low temperature to keep soil moisture from freezing. Without process automation, keeping the cranberry bogs at a consistent moisture and temperature for growing throughout the season was a timely and inefficient task. Each marsh would have to be monitored individually, having someone in the field check each one individually. Then, pumps at each of the bogs would have to be activated manually depending on the temperatures, which meant late nights for farmers when it was colder and the bogs needed flooded.
The owner of the electric and control company inherited his first cranberry marsh unexpectedly; he already worked full-time in another industry. He insisted on making it successful, even though he had little time to invest on the marsh. He decided to turn to process automation with Horner products so that he could monitor the marshes and irrigate remotely.
The customer has used several different Horner products over the years to suit his client’s needs, from simpler XLe controllers to more robust XL7 controllers, SmartStix and SmartMod I/O. All of the products have met certain needs individually, but all of them move toward the same goals: to make the growing process easier and to save money and resources. On his bogs alone, the customer saves roughly 100 man hours a day, which includes driving time, checking the bogs individually, and manually operating diesel pumps. Compound that with fuel savings for transportation and on the 25 diesel pumps that are automated to pump water only when needed throughout the day and night, and the yearly savings get even better. And this is just one of the 40 marsh locations the customer has automated.
Cranberry marshes are only one example of how Horner products can be used to create an automated process to suit a variety of different needs. Other agricultural fields could benefit from the ease of use, control of harvest, resource and time savings, just as easily as the Cranberry marshes in Wisconsin have. Whether automating watering cycles based on time or monitoring moisture levels so that the process actively adapts to the weather as it changes, Horner Automation products are revolutionizing the agricultural process.