Healthier almond trees with Sensoterra soil moisture probes
Fredriks Farms, a 195-acre fruit and nut orchard located in the Ripon and Madera region of the Central Valley in California, introduced Sensoterra sensors to monitor soil health and capillary behavior of their trees.
Almond production is a major contributor to the California economy, projected to account for about 25% of the state’s agricultural exports - representing 80% of the total global supply; with the global market size of 6.1 billion USD in 2019 increasing to 8.1 billion USD by 2024. The increase in production means California growers must embrace technology for optimized irrigation. With almond production consuming 10% of the state's fresh water supply, and with dwindling groundwater levels, smarter irrigation practices have never been more needed.
Matt Murray, of Process Tech Ag, services orchards in the California Central Valley Region of Ripon and Madera (California, USA). He recently installed Sensoterra sensors across the Frederiks Farm, an almond orchard covering 88 acres, in order to monitor tree health, and optimize irrigation frequency.
“There is a huge need to learn how to better irrigate and control the consumption of water,"
Matt Murray, Process Tech Ag
According to Murray, water shortage scenarios will be more prevalent than ever before. Additionally, California legislation enforces restricted control over water consumption, which has been stimulating growers to rethink about their irrigation practices. In order to mitigate this, clever solutions are needed to obtain tools and knowledge about how and when to irrigate. He further explains, "As an industry, we need to improve the efficiency of the data collected in the field and to make better irrigation decisions.”
The Sensoterra sensors monitor moisture at the root of the tree. Installing sensors measuring across multiple depths gives insight into how soil and crops are behaving toward irrigation, so growers know when and how much to irrigate, helping to define irrigation runtimes.
The probes are wireless, IoT based technology, which allows for flexible placement across all fields. Installation is done within minutes, with a scan & hammer process, thanks to their robust and simple design. Murray says he chose the Sensoterra system due to the overall simplicity.
"You can hammer them straight into the ground. It's that simple"
He's already seeing concrete results for the 2019 season. Correlating rain events with soil moisture levels helps him understand the soil absorption and capillary behavior of blossoming trees - helping to define the correct irrigation events based on soil moisture data.
His expectations for 2019 include integrating weather data along with Sensoterra soil moisture data for irrigation events. Enabling growers to make smart data-driven decisions, and provide insights into water consumption.
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About Process Tech Ag:
Founded in 2018, Process Tech Ag provides solutions to Central Valley CA agricultural businesses to improve their water usage and production yields through technology. Process Tech Ag provides in-field monitoring products, installation, and monitoring services for metrics such as soil moisture, pump monitoring and efficiency, weather, and security.
Sensoterra is a world leader in wireless soil moisture sensor solutions, providing data-driven solutions for complete optimization of land and freshwater resources for agricultural practices. Empowering better decision making through smart soil moisture measurements. Sensoterra was founded in 2014 and is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands with over 5,000 sensors spread worldwide.
Caroline is a Soil Data Manager at Sensoterra. Previously, she worked as a laboratory analyst, responsible for data analysis of roots and soil, identifying pesticide contamination and plant accumulation. Her background is in Environmental Science, with a Masters's degree in Water & Environment from Radboud University.Get in touch