But what exactly is precision irrigation and what are the benefits for the farmers?
Precision irrigation means: having water (and nutrients, when irrigation is used for fertigation) brought right to the roots of the plants, exactly when the plants need it, and in just the right quantity they need.
➜ Irrigating the plant roots, not the soil
Water is an expensive natural resource that is getting scarcer and more difficult to secure, following climate changes. In view of the insufficiency of even drinking water at times, it is getting harder for farmers to secure water for land irrigation purposes. Hence, continuing with the traditional methods of irrigation that water the soil around the plant, with no benefit for the plant grown, is completely irrational. The water needs to be brought right to the root of the plant, so it can be consumed only by the plant itself.
The most efficient system that brings water right to the roots is the drip irrigation. It ensures that not a single drop of water would get wasted, including via evaporation, and allows to deliver water at low energy costs. ONDO’s automated precision farming solutions integrate smoothly with any type of drip irrigation, regardless of whether it is already installed and operational on the farm or is about to be set up.
➜ Watering the plant when the plant needs this, in just the right amount
Every crop has different irrigation specifics, depending also on the stage of the plant growth. Knowing the irrigation needs of the plant, at any particular moment, leads to better taste of the plant fruit, longer storage period, improved disease management, etc., all of which contribute to the quality and quantity of the crop yield.
➜ Precision irrigation in line with the environmental conditions
The plant irrigation should also be further precised based on the parameters of the environment – humidity and temperature of the soil at different depth, expected rain, etc.
Those can be measured with an agricultural weather station such as ONDO Weather, set up at the farm location, as well as via soil sensors installed throughout the farm land, at different depths. Having this weather and soil data automatically integrated with and fed into ONDO Smart farming solutions automatically adjusts the respective irrigation and fertigation schedules, leading to super optimized resource utilization.
Precision irrigation would help to comply with the new environmental policies and meet the growing demand
By 2050, the rate of increase for the Earth’s population is expected to double the demand for agricultural produce. But, considering the scarcity of water, lack of arable land and climate changes, even at this present moment, it is obvious that agriculture needs to immensely increase its productivity, while increasing the efficiency of resource utilization. Which is more, we are seeing major environmental policies like the Green Deal being enforced in agriculture. Those policies require more efficient usage of natural resources and a cleaner, healthier agricultural produce. Precision irrigation and fertigation with ONDO will help farmers to meet the requirements of the new agricultural policies while at the same time increasing their competitiveness on the global markets.