Smart technology is serious business in the world of water – changing agriculture and landscape management to sophisticated, high tech industries. This switch to high technology is a concerted effort to simultaneously conserve natural resources and increase profit margins through reduced input costs. As areas are facing dwindling water supplies, and even drought conditions, technology takes on an integral role in cropland and landscape irrigation to help secure this tenuous resource. Smart irrigation systems take a multi-faceted approach by monitoring soil conditions, weather, evaporation rates, and plant water use to determine and adjust a watering schedule. The use of smart controllers enables irrigation systems to apply just the amount of water needed, exactly when it is needed to save water and money. Here are 10 companies helping to drive smart irrigation forward.
An industry leader in soil moisture monitoring, Hortau developed one of the first web-based irrigation systems on the market and continues to stand at the forefront of new technology.
Their proprietary wireless monitoring systems measure soil tension to determine the precise amount of water to apply to crops and transmit real-time data with their simple, cloud-based software.
Founded by an agronomist and an agricultural engineer – both with degrees in soil physics – the company understands what growers need and continues to share research findings with growers by holding regular irrigation management seminars to make sure farmers are getting the most out of water resources and maximizing crop outputs.
A leader in smart irrigation systems, HydroPoint has become the first choice for property managers and landscape professionals.
The California company understands the importance of reducing water usage in a time where it’s no longer economically, legally, or socially sustainable to waste water through irrigation.
In 2015 alone, their platform technology collected and analyzed weather data, detected leaks, and continuously monitored system usage to save subscribers over 15 million gallons of water, with a resulting cost reduction of $137M.
The creative talent behind products such as Fit Bit, GoPro, and Roku, is also involved in the development of Arable’s professional grade crop and weather sensor.
This professional grade sensor is solar powered and incredibly rugged to withstand harsh field conditions. The Arable Mark – which looks like the head of a drum or a translucent Frisbee – contains sensing technology that includes a six-band spectrometer, 4-way net radiometer, and an acoustic rain gauge.
Growers are using the hardware and cloud-based software to figure out harvest timing, and determine potential yields of crops in a concerted effort to reduce food waste within volatile, perishable commodities.
Implementing a drastic change in mindset, Tule looks at water losses in the field instead of available water in the root zone to advise timing of irrigation schedules.
It’s the only technology on the market that can measure actual evapotranspiration – the process of evaporation from plant and soil surfaces and from within plant tissues – from the field by the use of hardware installed above the plant canopy.
They were named one of the Top 10 New Products at the 2016 World Ag Expo, recognizing their innovative smart irrigation technology.
Robotics, cloud computing, and connected services come together in this innovative company to transform the way sprinkler systems function.
Emerging from a prototype built of old R/C airplane parts, the Droplet sprinkler revolutionizes how homeowners irrigate lawns and gardens.
A state of the art robotic sprinkler system leverages real-time weather station data and comprehensive biological plant information to disperse the proper amount of water, exactly where it needs to be applied. No more watering the fence, the driveway or the kids’ swing set!
Founded in a place where water scarcity is commonplace, CropX comes from TelAviv, Israel and currently serves farmers worldwide with its cloud-based software solutions.
Wireless soil sensors measure soil moisture, temperature, and electrical conductivity, sending the collected data to the cloud where it can be accessed from any mobile or fixed device.
CropX is pushing to create a do-it-yourself system that can be quickly installed and used by any farmer. Simple installation can be done by the farmer without special equipment; simple software interface tells when and how much to irrigate based on field measurements.
Claiming to save up to 75% on water, and 40% on fertilizer, Tevatronic, has put 30 years of agriculture experience to use in creating a 3D irrigation controller.
Their system is fully capable of deciding when and how much to irrigate, executing decisions without human intervention and reducing water stress on crops.
Autonomous irrigation transfers control of the water requirements to the plant itself, by sensing plant and soil water status simultaneously.
The science involves measuring a single parameter, the stress level of the plant as pressure – but is undeniably successful in reducing water usage. In areas such as Israel, that are experiencing water scarcity, this is much needed technology.
There is no modeling, or estimating soil moisture with AquaSpy, only real-time data for every 4” of soil measuring water, nutrients, and temperature.
More than a sensor that tells farmers the soil moisture, this California based company shows farmers at what depth their roots are foraging, whether or not there is water and nourishment at that depth, and how much that root system absorbs for optimal growth.
Assuring that water and nutrients are in the active root zone when plants attempt to absorb these essential components results in yield increases of 10-40%. Optimizing crop yields entails much more than knowing how much water is in the soil profile; optimizing crop yields means knowing where the roots are, and how much water is available there. AquaSpy helps to do just that.
This water technology startup is going well beyond “just soil moisture sensors”, according to co-Founder Brandon Finch. Smart Farm Systems is turning farms into proprietary, wide area networks with an easy to use system interface.
Farmers can manage irrigation pumps, monitor weather stations, measure water levels, and create maintenance schedules within their state of the art monitoring and control systems.
What sets them apart from other smart irrigation companies is the RF wireless technology that enables remote field monitoring and well pump control, no cell tower needed!
Sometimes less is more and the fairly new startup, Pow Wow Energy, is proving just that to farmers. It provides SaaS solutions for increasing water use efficiency on-farm without the addition of any new hardware.
Their Irrigation Advisor™ simplifies irrigation scheduling by merging data from the cloud (weather, aerial images) with farm records detailing nutrient applications, and on-site sensors sending farmers with simple text messages to farmers instead of files of data.
Awarded $2.3M from the California Energy Commission to fund two-years of large-scale implementation, Pow Wow Energy is partnering with University of California and Central Valley farmers to deliver water efficiency programs to agriculture.