Trusting irrigation data versus going with your gut feel
Irrigation management relies on farmers taking many things into account. Timing, for example, is critical to maximise crop yield and quality. Successful managers do this well, but often need to rely on experience rather than definitive data to make their decisions. Differences in soil type, regional climate, water availability, system capacity, attitude to risk and the amount of data collected means that irrigation management has to be tailored and responsive. Decisions can be even more difficult when the situation is considerably different from normal, such as with extreme weather events.
Harnessing the digital revolution for irrigation decisions
Recent improvements in wireless sensor technology and advanced data analytics mean we can use plant- and soil-based sensors to continually monitor crops and soils providing information like never before.
We've already led ground-breaking research in plant-based sensing technologies to improve yield and water use efficiency in Australian cotton. The system uses proximal (single location in the field) continuous canopy temperature measurement and offers growers a simple means of identifying crop stress.
In conjunction with existing soil moisture measurements, WaterWise can offer significantly refined irrigation scheduling decisions in a range of high value crops.
WaterWise meeting industry needs
Our platform provides irrigation decision making based on both monitored and forecast crop water stress status. It incorporates advanced data analytics, spatial sensing systems, weather forecasts, and novel physiology research in crop biochemistry.
To date, we are working with growers on trialling WaterWise in tomatoes, cotton and sugarcane.