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Smart Orchard Tech Providers & Sensors

Learn more about the sensors being deployed at the 2021 Smart Orchard

In our last post we talked about the goals for the 2021 Smart Orchards Project @ Washington Fruit & Chiawana / Columbia Reach alongside researchers at the WTFRC & WSU. To properly inform growers with data it is crucial that IoT agtech sensors are strategically deployed throughout orchard blocks. These IoT agtech devices harness data that ultimately obtain a more precise allocation of resources to increase fruit yields and quality while saving money on irrigation, chemicals, labor, etc. Once this data is harnessed, the next critical step is for to compare all of the data from each tech or imagery provider to get a side by side comparison. This will allow us to pinpoint data accuracy and the viability each sensor has for a growers usability and price points. Continue reading below to learn more about each sensor.


Table of Contents:

  • Meter Group Sensors provided by Dave Brown

  • FloraPulse, Meter Group, & Edaphic Scientific Sensors provided by Lee Kalcsits

  • Dynamax- Sap Flow, Infrared Temperature, Dendrometer, Soil Moisture, & Weather Station

  • Thingy, IoT- LoRaWAN Connectivity, Micro-Weather Station, Wind, Rain, Soil, & Soil Moisture

  • Arable- In-field weather & plant monitoring system

  • WSU- Drone Imagery & CPS3.0

  • Green Atlas Cartographer & SoilOptix Digital Top Soil Mapping

  • Ceres- Plane Imagery

  • Aker Ag- Drone Imagery with Aker TrueCause™

  • CropVue- pest trap sensor and in canopy weather

Note: If you want to learn more about the sensors you can click on the images associated and be taken to the companies product page.


Research and Technology Provided by- Dave Brown


The ATMOS 41 micro climate weather stations is a small, affordable, easily installed, and durable weather station with 12 different weather variables. It was designed for continuous deployment in harsh climates, such as Africa, which means there are no moving parts to fail. Reliability and maintenance are simplified because there’s never any mechanical wear. Plus, the ATMOS 41 weather station is accurate. Specialized pins made of real gold measure every drop of rain. The 0.017 mm resolution means it can accurately measure small rainfall and even heavy dew events that other rain gauges miss. And, no moving parts means the ATMOS 41 anemometer is accurate at low wind speeds. Installation is also simplified as it has plug and play capabilities with near real-time data access from the cloud when used with the ZL6 data logger.

Using such a station allows the grower to obtain a variety of weather variables without having to constantly manage wear and tear on the device. This gives the grower more informed decisions with less to deal with.

The ATMOS 14, in-canopy weather station combines air temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, and vapor pressure all into one sensors. The Atmos 14 is a low-maintenance and rapid sensor designed to take temp/RH measurements. By keeping this sensor compact and durable, the grower can collect data even in tight, hard to reach places. Setup is simple as it has plug and play capabilities with near real-time data access from the cloud when used with the ZL6data logger.


A true full-range water potential sensor that’s low maintenance and low cost

The TEROS 21 water potential sensor is incredibly easy to use. It requires no maintenance, and it’s accurate enough for most applications. In fact, the TEROS 21 provides an even more accurate soil moisture picture than measuring water content alone. A water content sensor only shows the percentage of water in the soil, but add a TEROS 21 water potential sensor, and you’ll know if that water is available to plants and where it will move. Plus, unlike water content, matric potential isn’t dependent on soil type, so you can compare moisture between different sites. Not only that, the new Gen 2 version boasts an improved circuit, a more robust microprocessor, and an improved measurement range. It now measures all the way from near saturation to air dry (−5 to −100,000 kPa) making it the world’s first true full range water potential sensor.


Diseases and infections can destroy an entire crop, but at the same time, applying fungicides is costly and time-consuming. If you’re deciding when to spray by monitoring leaf wetness with a resistance grid sensor, you’ll have trouble accurately determining wetness duration without a lot of extra work.

The PHYTOS 31 lets you know leaf wetness in no uncertain terms. It measures both the onset and duration of wetness on a simulated leaf, which in turn predicts when the onset of certain diseases or infections may occur. It’s not only a more accurate instrument, it’s also the easiest to set up, making it a simple and straightforward solution to several problems.


Research and Technology Provided by- Lee Kalcsits

FloraPulse- Microtensiometer

The FloraPulse system is a microchip tensiometer (microtensiometer) that is embedded into the tree woody tissue and directly measures the water status, known as water potential. Because the measurement is taken directly inside the water-carrying tissue, readings are very accurate and reliable. Growers receive daily midday stem water potential readings, along with science-backed irrigation recommendations.

Meter Group- ECH20 EC-5

The EC-5 determines volumetric water content (VWC) by measuring the dielectric constant of the media using capacitance/frequency domain technology. Its 70 MHz frequency minimizes salinity and textural effects, making this sensor accurate in almost any soil or soilless media. Factory calibrations are included for mineral soils, potting soils, rockwool, and perlite.

Edaphic Scientific- Dendrometers

With a Trunk Dendrometer (top image), Stem Dendrometer (middle image), and a Fruit Dendrometer (bottom image), the Smart Orchard collaboration is able to measure:

  • Micro-variations of trunk radius in micron range

  • Tree trunk or stem diameter variations against

environmental variables

  • Stem growth dynamics

  • Ability to record both size and growth rate of intact rounded fruits in three diameter ranges within 7 to 160 mm.

  • The effect of irrigation rate and other environmental factors on both water balance and growth of fruits.

For more information click the images



SGEX-19 – 19 mm & 25mm Sap Flow Sensors -

The new EXO-Skin Dynagage is based on tried and proven energy balance technology for sap flow measurement. The Dynagage has been the world leader in sensor shipments since 1990. Thousands of sensors have been fielded for research in agriculture, plant physiology, water relations, crop science and numerous ecological, hydrology and engineering studies. With the advent of sap flow monitoring in commercial vineyard applications, and the introduction of Low– Cost Sap flow systems, our customers needed an easier plant connection and a more economical sensor. Customers explained their needs for innovation and we designed the EXO-Skin sensor to solve some of the recurring issues with the well-respected Dynagage, the one piece integrated sap flow sensor.

Watch these videos to learn more about the Dynamax Sap Flow Sensors

SapIP-IRT – Infrared Temperature Sensors -

Dynamax has created three new transpiration, leaf canopy monitoring systems. Each system observes the IRT leaf canopy and the weather and produces data for precision ag management. Crop water stress index (CWSI) and degrees above non stressed (DAN) plant stress models are available to determine if, and when, your crops need irrigation, stress from deficit, or high ambient temperatures.

About the SapIP-IRT

Up to (6) IRT analog sensors can be added to the SapIP wireless system nodes. As part of a SapIP wireless network, plant sap flow or water use, soil moisture profiles, ET weather, and IR leaf temperature, can all be monitored simultaneously in one wireless system. If SapIP nodes are used as data loggers for the IRT sensors, data can be uploaded to the AgriSensors.NET webpage. SapIP nodes can also be “daisy-chained” several levels deep, thus allowing distances of 2-3 miles to be monitored. SapIP systems are versatile and flexible, and can be configured to meet your particular requirements.

DEX100 – Dendrometers

The DEX20, DEX70, DEX100 and DEX200 are highly precise electronic dendrometers that measure the growth and size of plant stems and fruits. The effects of environmental factors on the water balance of plants and stem size variations over time are easily monitored with a temperature compensated dendrometer.

The DEX is a caliper-style device with a full bridge strain gage attached to a flexible arm. The output signal is then recorded by a data logger or computer in real time. The millivolt sensor output shows both the diurnal and long term growth of the plant. The device has been used to test plants under conditions of water stress, elevated ozone and other atmospheric pollutants. Applications for screening plants for growth rate and stress tolerance are also common.

SM150T – Soil Moisture Sensors -

The new SM150T measures soil moisture and temperature with research-grade accuracy. It offers stable, robust and reliable performance at a great price.

The new SM150T’s advanced patented electronics and tough build produce a highly dependable sensor with exceptional salinity and temperature stability. The SM150T is engineered to withstand long term burial – the sensor, connectors and cable are all environmentally protected to IP68. It offers moisture accuracy of ± 3% (after soil specific calibration) and the built in temperature sensor achieves ± 0.5° C.

The SM150T is a dual purpose probe – it can be used portably for instant moisture readings, or left installed in the soil connected to a data logger, to provide long-term moisture and temperature data.

MICRO2 – Weather Station -

Dynamax, Inc. produces the new SapIP wireless data logger network for measuring plant water use, IR leaf temperature, soil moisture, and weather. The SapIP-MICRO system is a wireless node with RH and air temperature included. If you want, you can add soil moisture, soil temperature, solar radiation, wind speed and direction, and rainfall sensors as well.

This sensor set can then be used to calculate ETp for irrigation scheduling for crops or trees. The nodes can be spaced up to 400 meters apart and daisy-chained, giving a total distance of over a mile. The SapIP-MICRO is an excellent research grade weather station, and data can be collected directly from the node, or through the Internet.


Kona Enterprise Gateway for LoRaWan Connectivity

This LoRaWAN gateway allows for us to provide rural connectivity sensors located across the Smart Orchard WA Fruit location.

Tektelic Agriculture Sensor

The Agriculture Sensor is is the ideal solution to streamline and simplify the collection of key soil and environmental metrics for crops. The device provides a straightforward and easy to deploy solution for soil moisture and temperature, air temperature and humidity, and outdoor light monitoring. Allowing for increased crop yields and decreased operating expenses with the deployment of this versatile device.

Sensoterra 6 in. Soil Sensor

Sensoterra is the robust, simple and fully wireless solution to soil moisture measurement for agriculture. The Sensoterra soil moisture sensor measures at different soil depths while using LoRaWAN connectivity to bring the data to the grower. This gives the Smart Orchard Collaborators the ability to show WA Fruit what's happening in their field to identify trends for optimization over time.

MeteoHelix IoT Pro- Micro Weather Station

Designed for measurement precision and ease of use, with professional research grade accuracy meeting. Unique measurement properties of the patented double-helix design make this weather station highly resistant to long- term sensor drift and sensor measurement errors from the sun and other environmental factors. This helical micro-weather station is a great choice for climate research in tough measurement environments.

MeteoWind IoT Pro

Compact anemometer and wind direction vane sensor with ultra-low power & no dead spot. Featuring SigFox or LoRaWAN wireless Star-on-Star network technology for reliable and redundant data transmission. Elliptical cup design of the proven MeteoWind 2 is used to offer superb measurement qualities in a compact and cost-effective instrument made from anodized aluminum.

MeteoRain IoT Compact

Wireless automatic rain gauge for agriculture, smart cities, and resilient city initiatives with 200 cm² rain opening area. Offers wireless data for 4+ years on one replaceable battery. Very low-maintenance with long-term measurement stability due to the MeteoRain® self-balancing magnetic tipping bucket.



Arable Mark 2

The Arable Mark 2 is an integrated in-field weather and plant monitoring system that delivers an abundance of data to help growers optimize their decisions. This single system collects data on precipitation, evaporation, radiation, weather, plant health, harvest/event timing (Growing Degree Days), and even gives the grower cellular

connectivity. If the grower needs more the Arable Mark 2 can also be integrated with soil moisture probes, wind speed & direction, pressure switch/transducer, and much more.


Imagery Providers-

WSU Precision Ag Lab's collaborators at WSU are currently using multiple drones to collect imagery data at the Washington Fruit Smart Orchard Project. A couple of these drones consist of Aerial Technology International's (ATI) AGBOT, and a DJI Phantom 4 Pro. The use of some modifications and attachments help improve the insights gained by these drones, to learn more about the different attachments CLICK HERE.


Aerial Technology International's AGBOT is a perfect drone for long flights across the orchard where the grower is trying to track crop health, temperature variations in crops, irrigation issues, simply do quick visual inspections or even to create detailed field maps. All of this done through the simple attachment of an extra accessory.

DJI- Phantom 4 Pro

Unlike the AGBOT, the Phantom 4 Pro is a standard, civilian run drone, that gets the job done. By simply adding some of the attachments talked about below, the Phantom 4 Pro is an affordable drone that can capture high resolution images of your orchard.


  • MicaSense- RedEdge-MX

  • FLIR Duo Pro R

  • Meter Group - Spectral Reflectance Sensor

WSU Precision Ag- CPS3.0

The WSU Precision Ag Team has also placed two CPS3.0 weather stations that are constantly monitoring the in-field microclimate, sunburn, fruit surface, heat stress, and in-field fruit quality. Green Atlas Cartographer & SoilOptix

Apple/Grape/Cherry, Fruit & Bloom Count- Need to predict how much fruit you'll have next harvest, or inform farm employees where to thin? This package powered by Green Atlas Cartographer allows growers to count from bloom-full maturity to estimate and then optimize labor and chemical usage for thinning and harvest.

Soil Mapping & Analysis- In order to capture the full potential of their field, growers need to know what the soil is providing them. With SoilOptix®, growers and agronomists get the most in-depth analysis of their soil with a resolution of approximately 335 points per acre.

Green Atlas Cartographer

The Green Atlas Cartographer is an innovative combination of hardware and software that allows flower and fruit counts to be quickly and accurately mapped over entire orchards. With high resolution AI assisted mapping, our customers know every block and every tree, to help manage the life cycle from flower to fruit.

  • Fruit/bloom Count

  • Fruit Size

  • Height

  • Area

  • Density

  • Fruit Color Mapping (bottom picture)

  • Multiple Crops- apples cherries, Grapes

SoilOptix Digital Top Soil Mapping System

SoilOptix® – High Resolution Top Soil Mapping is inspired to bring agriculture a new one-of-a-kind, affordable soil analysis system that sets a new standard for accuracy in precision agriculture. Offering much more than traditional soil measurement practices, SoilOptix® delivers the highest definition and most detailed field nutrient maps obtainable today. This

empowers growers to make the best decisions for management and soil stewardship. SoilOptix® is your best choice, because every square foot is unique.


Ceres- Managing Irrigation System Performance Using Aerial Imagery

Ceres Imaging delivers irrigation management solutions that help growers improve profitability across their operations. The Ceres team of experts provides dedicated support to help growers put their data to work—before, during, and after the season.

Using high-resolution aerial imagery and advanced analytics, Ceres can:

  • Identify common irrigation problems in a growers crop before they’re visible to the naked eye—and solve them before they impact the growers bottom line.

  • Growers are able to track their progress and measure the impact of key farm management decisions.

  • Growers are then able to optimize irrigation strategy to boost yields and profits.

Ceres flies farmers' fields

Mounted on fixed-wing aircraft, Ceres cameras capture multispectral imagery in greater detail than satellites, more efficiently than drones.

Ceres generates scientific-grade imagery and analyses

Instead of unprocessed aerial photographs, Ceres uses crop-specific, research-validated data models to evaluate plant health


Aker Ag- Drone Imagery with Aker TrueCause™

Aker’s unique aerial and below the canopy diagnostics helps growers make timely, valuable treatment decisions in order to protect yield. Their precision agriculture technology reduces the time and cost of crop scouting and analytics. In addition to seamlessly importing field information from farmer information management systems (FIMS), their national network of drone pilots and agronomists are prepared to gather and analyze field data throughout the growing season on demand.

Aker TrueCause™ can identify leading causes of stress and see products working throughout the field, not just at the edge. Imagined by farmers and brought to life by engineers, Aker TrueCause™ sports three 8MP RGB cameras and an array of sensors that capture biotic and abiotic crop stressors under the crop canopy:

  • Diseases

  • Insects

  • Nutrient deficiencies

  • Weeds

  • Environmental Stress

  • Operational Deficiencies

  • Temperature

  • Humidity

  • Pressure

  • CO2

  • O2


CropVue- insect trap

Tracking when harmful insects first appear on the farm is critical to predicting when to spray pesticides or disperse pheromones. This pest trap has a built-in 5Mp camera with white LED lighting. Every day, a high quality picture is taken of the sticky liner inside the delta trap design. These images are sent to AI algorithms in the cloud to automatically identify and count insects. The counts determine a biofix date where pest models then predict egg hatches based on accurate degree day weather monitoring.

CropVue- in-canopy weather

Measure temperature and humidity accurately exactly where it's needed. Temperatures can vary significantly across a large farm. Track the onset of frost, monitor dew point, or feed degree day growing models to predict fruit maturity or pest egg hatches.

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