Mon., April 16, 2012 2:59pm (EDT)

Farmers Catching Metal Thieves
By Josephine Bennett
Updated: 2 years ago

ALBANY, Ga.  —  
Center pivot irrigating crops in South Georgia (image courtesy UGA)
Center pivot irrigating crops in South Georgia (image courtesy UGA)
Georgia farmers have a new defense against metal thieves. They’re arming their irrigation equipment with alarms.

Center pivots, used to water crops in remote places are a prime target for copper thieves. Now, irrigation alarms invented by Central Monitoring Alarm company in Albany are protecting more than 200 center pivots in Georgia, Alabama and Minnesota.

Crisp County farmer Hal McKay says the devices helped police catch a man known as “Pivot Picking Pat” accused of stealing copper wire on McKay’s farm.

“If you have to order the span wire and you’re looking at another 5-7 days before you get your pivot going you can definitely lose a good portion of your yield on your crop. That’s where it’s going to cost you.”

Alarms cost $250 while repairs to damage done by thieves can cost thousands. Farmers are notified via text or email when equipment is tampered with.