An inventor who helped advance irrigational technology across the globe, Paul Zimmerer, died late last week at the age of 94.
In the early 1950s, working out of his blacksmith shop in Lindsay, NE, Zimmerer began changing the landscape of Nebraska agriculture with a series of innovative irrigation products — such as the Big Red Towline — that allowed growers the ability to irrigate tall corn with less labor.
In 1968 his sons, Art and Bernie, helped him develop one of the first electric center pivots that made its first circle on a cornfield in Newman Grove, NE, a short distance from his farm machinery business in Lindsay. That first Zimmatic (coined from the family name) pivot still runs in Newman Grove today.
Zimmerer’s center pivot system was unique because of the “uni-knuckle” joint that was designed to irrigate rough terrain, since the original water-drive pivots were only capable of irrigating relatively flat fields. The Zimmatic’s enclosed worm gearboxes remain the standard drive mechanism still used on today’s electric center pivots.
This development was a major step in propelling the name of Lindsay Corp. and the Zimmatic center pivots as a leader and a major supplier of irrigation equipment with systems operating in over 80 countries worldwide. Today, more than 25,000 miles of Zimmatic center pivots have been built at the original plant site founded by Paul Zimmerer.
“Paul was a man who worked hard, cared for his customers, and had an inquisitive mind — all of which were key to the success he achieved,” says Rick Parod, Lindsay Corp. president and CEO.