IoT solutions for
Smart irrigation allows you to monitor and
manage the use of water resources in agriculture
What is smart irrigation?
Smart irrigation belongs to the precision agriculture farming management concept, whose goal is to increase field yield and reduce costs by using resources like water more sustainably and intelligently.
Smart irrigation systems use moisture, temperature, and other sensors to collect real-time data about the weather, the soil, and the irrigation system directly on site.
Examples of such data are dryness and humidity, fertilizer saturation, the actual amount of water used by the crops and plants, the water flow through valves or pipes, and more. This data is then sent to a monitoring and management application that automatically controls the actuators that regulate the use of water.
What are the benefits of smart irrigation?
Smart irrigation has a lot of advantages that help you save money and reduce water waste:
- Higher crop yield and less risk of crop shortfalls: you don’t irrigate too much (because the soil is already moist enough) or too little and you can proactively take measures against possible field flooding
- Less water consumption and reduction of costs for water: you only use the amount of water that is necessary to irrigate your plants in an optimal way
- Saving costs for manual labor: valves, pumps, and sprinklers are automatically regulated and only need maintenance if an issue is detected
- Reduction of nitrate levels in the groundwater: you only apply as much fertilizer as is needed and thus contribute to water quality
Smart irrigation and hydroponics
In hydroponics, plants like crops are grown without soil in water that is enriched with oxygen and mineral nutrients. Hydroponic farms are usually kept indoors, so they are not dependent on weather conditions or their location.
Hydroponics also achieves a significantly higher crop yield than traditional farming methods, as more plants can be grown in less space and there is no crop shortfall due to droughts or flooding.
Smart irrigation methods in the field of hydroponics can be:
- Monitoring the temperature, illumination, and humidity on a farm
- Monitoring the nutrient saturation and water levels
- Controlling system components such as drains, pumps, or lights.
Optimize water usage in agriculture with smart irrigation
Measure, control, regulate: the IoT solution for irrigation monitoring by Paessler allows you to remotely monitor and manage your irrigation system. It includes the following functions:
- Monitoring the water flow at an irrigation system’s main valve and automatically turning off the valve if the flow rate is too high
- Collecting data from the soil like moisture and fertilizer saturation, as well as weather data like wind, temperature, or rain to determine the amount of water that is needed for optimal irrigation
- Measuring and intelligently regulating the quantity of water per water intake
- Automating spray irrigation based on schedules and manual sprinkling on demand according to a specific time span or water amount per valve
- Monitoring the health of the hardware used in the irrigation system, such as mechanical overload, pipe blockage, battery power status, and more
How smart irrigation works:
Many irrigation systems consist of a main valve and a number of sub-valves. For monitoring and controlling the system remotely, the solution for smart irrigation uses IoT sensors to collect data from the soil of cultivated areas.
The sensors send their data via a wireless, energy-efficient LPWAN connection to a central monitoring console. There, the user can view the location and status of the irrigation system's components and schedule irrigation jobs according to time or volume.
Based on this data and on specified thresholds, the system automatically irrigates the fields if necessary and only in the required quantity. If the flow rate is too high, the main valve shuts off automatically.
Smart alerting lets you detect possible leakages due to burst pipes and other hardware failures in time, so you can minimize resulting damage.
With the Paessler solution for irrigation monitoring, you can not only increase crop yield and save costs for water and personnel, but also use water resources more sustainably – and so contribute to tackling one of humanity’s greatest challenges: water availability.
The key water challenges today and in the future
According to the UN in 2010, it is the right of every human being to have access to safe and affordable water. The availability of fresh water is directly linked to human health, be it drinking water, water used for irrigation, or groundwater levels that affect the entire ecosystem.
However, in a world where population growth and climate change, affect the environment more and more, water quality and quantity are deteriorating quickly.
In 2020, the World Economic Form identified water crises as one of the most important risks to the economy and society in the coming years. The availability of water is key – which also makes it imperative that water resources are used and managed more sustainably today and in the future.
One way to tackle the challenge of water sustainability is smart irrigation.