While automation spans across our irrigation system business as well as our fertigation business (HYE-V), the long-term objective is to separate these two. Automation is a component that allows for remote access to various functions in our install base. Simply put, this “feature” is sold, utilized and serviced very differently within the two business units that we currently employ.
AUTOMATION FOR IRRIGATION VS. HYE-V:
1). Irrigation automation is currently a process whereby a KAM or PCA/CCA sells to the grower. This sale is treated as a product sale, as such, it is invoiced and credited to the selling party for compensation. The services (repairs, replacements and troubleshooting) of installed equipment are also invoiced. Most of which is accomplishing a simple on/off functionality.
2). Fertigation automation is a component of our existing fertigation equipment (pumps in a box), which does not constitute a sale, rather it is capitalized, owned and operated by GAR Bennett (GB) and the throughput of fertilizer inputs are what generates the invoice. In this particular instance, our equipment, services and programs are all wrapped up in one fertilizer delivery at a price, billed by the ton.
Currently, we have less than a handful of Irrigation Automation Field Technicians. They along with a few other technical staff, support all the existing and recently sold irrigation automation projects as well as the currently installed HYE-V systems at the Trinitas sites. The immediate need is to reinforce the field technician role with 2-3 additional techs as well as a field manager who will run all projects from start to finish. Ultimately, there will be dedicated field support for each, Irrigation System Automation and Fertigation System Automation.
Automating fertilizer inputs within a targeted customer base provides cross-selling opportunities for GB PCAs/CCAs to add value and creates opportunities for KAMs to sell automation to legacy irrigation systems. Ultimately, GB will provide irrigation scheduling for larger family and corporate owned farming operations across the valley.