Company expanding irrigation technology
March 20, 2009 By USDA Agricultural Research Service
A Texas-based company is expanding a
timely automated irrigation system that saves water and energy.
March 20, 2009, Lubbock, TX – A Texas-based company is expanding a timely automated irrigation system that saves water and energy.
The system is called SmartCrop™. Plant physiologist James R. Mahan and a team of scientists at the USDA’s Agriculture Research Service (ARS) Cropping Systems Laboratory in Lubbock, Tex., developed the technology.
The company, Smartfield, Inc., in Lubbock, Texas, is adding three new instruments:
• SmartPump, to detect pressure and flow rates in subsurface drip systems;
• SmartWeather, to monitor wind speed and sunshine; and
• RainAlert to detect rain.
The company began marketing SmartCrop for the 2008 irrigation season.
SmartCrop uses pole-mounted infrared thermometers to read leaf temperatures as well as surrounding air temperatures. A computerized controller wirelessly receives the readings every 10 seconds from each thermometer. The controller also collects weather data. Every 15 minutes, it transmits data averages to the Internet.
SmartCrop capitalizes on the researchers’ discovery that each plant species grows best only within a narrow temperature range. An overheated plant may need water as much to cool down as to assuage thirst.
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