Since its inception, the company has been awarded more than 450 patents worldwide, the first being for the original horizontal action impact drive sprinkler in 1935, designated a historic landmark in 1990 by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers.
Rain Bird was the first company to install an irrigation system on a golf course and is the only company able to deliver a fully-integrated solution from reservoir to rotor. What makes Rain Bird different is a sole focus on irrigation and commitment to ‘The Intelligent Use of Water™, the planet’s most precious natural resource, through products, partnerships, leadership and education.
Do you have any new or recent developments that you can tell us about?
The Rain Bird® IC System™ has revolutionised how turf professionals manage irrigation. It eliminates the most common challenges of traditional systems, and with less wire and fewer components, there’s less to buy, install, maintain and troubleshoot.
+CENTRAL CONTROL - Cirrus Central Control continuously monitors and optimises system performance, saving time and water. With real-time feedback, course managers have total control, can troubleshoot in minutes for complete peace of mind. All Rain Bird technologies are simple to operate and clubs say having IC is equivalent to having an extra member of staff.
+IC CONNECT™ - IC CONNECT extends the reach and effectiveness of an irrigation system by integrating, automating and interacting with various sensors and field equipment. It manages integrated control sensor inputs to collect information from the course from components such as rain cans, flow sensors and lake level sensors, and also centralises the on/off functionality of non-irrigation products such as lighting, greens fans, fountains and water features.
+ICI+ - Integrated Control Interface Plus (ICI+), makes it possible to install Rain Bird satellites and the IC System on the same wire path. As a result, courses can enjoy the benefits of an Integrated Control System™ (IC System) and companion IC CONNECT™ devices without undergoing major renovation, can renovate or expand existing satellite system in phases, at a lower cost and with less disruption to the golf course. This is a game changer; ideal for Rain Bird courses that want to update to the latest IC System technology but don’t currently have the time or budget to completely overhaul their irrigation systems.
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Rain Bird products and spare parts are widely available in all European countries.
What are the biggest changes you have seen in the irrigation industry over the last 10 years?
There is increasing awareness about water conservation and sustainability. Weather patterns and expert long-term predictions suggest that the golf industry must proactively plan for the future and take urgent action. The trend over the last 2-3 years has definitely been to see the four seasons diminishing, moving quickly from winter to summer, losing traditional spring and autumn weather. Clubs cannot risk relying on rainfall to provide all the water a golf course needs so having an efficient, future proof system will become more important for managing irrigation in ever-changing weather conditions.
When every drop counts, Rain Bird is actively helping clubs proactively tackle water management and drive down the cost of ownership over the 30-year lifespan of an irrigation system and gain the best value from their irrigation system day to day and in the long-term. Rain Bird offers robust products that deliver best in class uniformity in water distribution and reliability and systems with the flexibility to adapt to future course or system changes. With Rain Bird as an irrigation partner, savings in power, labour, consumables and water deliver short and long-term ROI.
What are the most common irrigation mistakes that you see and what advice would you have for Golf Course Architects?
Historically, we’ve seen golf course managers and greenkeeping staff overwater. Rain Bird irrigation systems and technologies are designed to cleverly limit volume so that water is only applied when and where it’s needed.
Sustainable irrigation is all about efficiency and payback. For brand new courses or for course redesign and renovation projects, an increased focus on increased irrigation efficiency and moving towards zero water wastage is worth serious consideration, bringing benefits for golfers, for club business and for the environment.
Easy to use, intuitive irrigation systems, data-driven decision making and good practice reduce over-watering and improve efficiencies so that water, energy, technology and labour resources are used in the most efficient way.
Using moisture measurement tools impacts the agronomy of the course in terms of reducing turf stress and diseases, improving growing in and reducing the application of chemicals and nutrient leaching. Training in system features and technologies such as Rain Bird’s Cycle & Soak and Rain Watch help clubs to minimise unnecessary water consumption and reduce hand-watering by as much as 40%.
Systems must also have longevity designed in, with an ability to be kept current by adding new hardware components or updating control system software.
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