The Drought in California’s Central San Joaquin Valley is settling in, and farmers are looking at ways to save water to use every drop as efficiently as possible.
Some growers are now asking about Smart Irrigation Technology options that could help with their irrigation management. So what are some options?
Timers are one of the most straightforward moves to make when wanting to be more water conscious. A grower can schedule when to water their crop at the right time to get the right amount of water into their field to maximize water savings. It can also help avoid peak power times in California, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. to help save electricity.
Most products out now can have expanded capabilities beyond setting a time to turn on and off watering with a pump start relay attached to your pump. In addition, there are weather station sensors that can be added to control when not to water if it rains, and you can even control it from your phone or computer.
Agri-Valley Electricians can help install these and help program the timer to get you started on being a water saver.
Water Monitoring Services
Several companies offer services that can help determine when you need to water your crop. These “smart” options can have you see if you are watering too little or too much with the push of a button on your phone.
The WATERMARK Soil Moisture Sensors use electrical resistance to measure soil water tension. The probes, which are buried at different depths in the field in line with the drip or tape tube, help read how wet the soil is and when you should irrigate.
It can also provide an optional Data subscription which allows a grower to check their field’s moisture, allowing a grower to avoid overwatering either by turning on the system too early or allowing the water to push past the root zone.
Jain Logic is a hardware and cloud-based subscription service to help optimize water consumption and control farm operations from any device. Jain Logic has three different programs a grower can choose to save water, Jain Logic, Sensorless Jain Logic, and Jain Logic Pulse.
With Jain Logic, a grower can get a hefty amount of data to help make decisions on the farm. For example, the program can provide Irrigation Scheduling to help you set up when to water on a weekly basis and monitor the flow and pressure of the irrigation system in case of any leaks or broken lines.
It can give you the control to turn your pumps on and off remotely, get real-time weather, and show weekly ETc Data. It can even check the soil to help with plant growth.
The more entry-level monitoring program is Sensorless Jain Logic. No Sensors are needed in the field. It’s done through satellite coverage. A grower can check ETc Average, ETc Uniformity, observe vigor changes or vigor uniformity over time, get real-time weather at their field, and create a weekly irrigation schedule by irrigation set. There’s even a 30-day trial.
Jain Logic Pulse monitors your filter station constantly. It makes sure everything is running smoothly, highlights problem areas, and reports water use to the grower with daily and weekly emails.
Agri-Valley is your full-service Irrigation Company that cannot just install your irrigation system, but we can set up your precision irrigation, and automation needs as well.
Water Savings Program
Water Monitoring Subscriptions can eat into a grower’s budget no matter how many acres they have. So how do you know which one is best for you? You can contact me, Mike Wandzell, and I will help you choose the right system for your needs.
As far as funding, there are options out there to ease the burden of becoming more water-conscious.
NRCS – Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
When applying for the EQIP Program, a few things need to be in order. First, a Grower will meet with a Soil Conservationist/Planner and will go over the application. The grower will then apply with all of the required documents and irrigation design.
Then it’s the waiting game. First, the project will be ranked and chosen based on “conservation benefits.” Once selected, the installation can begin.
State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP)
The State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) program is a grant that is aimed at growers who want to implement irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gases and save water. This program involves a lot of paperwork and time, but projects can be fully funded. Agri-Valley can install these projects and has done many in the past and is looking to help growers save water through this program for years to come.
There are several ways a grower can save water. You can talk with me or anyone here at Agri-Valley to figure out what system works best for you. Just remember to look into what will be best for you to meet your water-saving needs.