When it comes to watering corn and soybeans Centre Point Irrigations Systems are the tool of choice for many Indiana farmer’s.
But what is being called a copper theft epidemic is taking them out of action. Thieves strip the wires out of the irrigation system and take them to scrap yards for cash.
Bloomington based agricultural company, Net Irrigate has come up with a device that notifies farmers via email, text and phone message if someone is meddling with their equipment. Edward De Salle is the company’s general manager.
“These fields are in extremely rural areas and there typically aren’t street lights there isn’t anybody around in the middle of the night when they are frequently hit,” says DeSalle. “So it is real easy for a thief to go out there and spend 45 minutes stripping the wire off one of these systems and not be seen at all.”
De Salle says if thieves hit a farmer’s irrigation system during the peak of the growing season it can cost them to lose their entire crop. De Salle’s company is working to expand the device to other industries prone to copper theft.
Last year, copper thefts topped $1 billion.