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Soil & Irrigation Sensor Partners

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

Learn more about the teams that are making the Smart Orchard feasible

As many of you know, the team has recently partnered up with the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission (WTFRC) and Washington State University (WSU) to conduct what we call the Smart Orchard Project at Chiawana Orchards. Our goal is to "sensorize" an orchard from multiple hardware providers, bringing together growers, data, and researchers to create a sustainable, "smart" orchard with insights that impact growers' bottom lines. For more information and pictures, please visit our Smart Orchard page on the website or read our most recent blog posts - "The Future in a Modern Orchard" and "Weather Sensor Partners".

As a company, we see the importance of tying together data from multiple sensor providers to become more cost-effective and sustainable throughout agriculture. In this case specifically, we are looking for ways to reduce water usage and the amount of labor that goes into the irrigation of crops, especially since these are the most significant expenses for growers. Allocating this data in order to optimize water usage adds tremendous amounts of value for the grower as it allows them to determine exactly how much water the crop needs, where it is going in the soil, and the appropriate amount of nutrients for the plant. All of this inevitably contributes to higher crop yields and more money saved.

As stated before, this collaboration was designed in order to "sensorize" an orchard from multiple hardware providers. The team would like to present to you the different companies and the different kinds of sensors they are providing the Smart Orchard along the way. would like to share with you the value created by the implementation of these sensors provided under the collaboration at the Smart Orchard Project.

Chiawana Orchards irrigates their orchard through three main types of irrigation that include above canopy sprinklers, drip irrigation, and ground sprinkler irrigation. For more reading pleasure about these types of irrigation and how ag tech helps growers save money, check out a past blog called "Irrigating Your Food to Save Big"


Insight Relevance:

We recently sent a survey to a select group of growers to ask them what processes would benefit them the most if sensor, labor, chemical, & water data were to be integrated into their farm. The most common answer was that they would love to see data from irrigation to better inform their water optimization activities.

The sensors we are working with and discussed below, will generate real time data that is readily available to the grower. With this data, our company allows the grower to own the information and do what they want with it, attributing to "empowering growers with data." This data then enables insights and timely, effective decisions that impact the growers decisions relating to water usage and labor that impact their bottom line.


Soil Moisture Analysis:

We have deployed multiple sensors from the below listed companies, each of these sensors pull data from 4 to 36 inches in the ground as they analyze both soil moisture and soil temperature. Unlike the soil temperature measurements, different providers scale their soil moisture differently, so as a company we primarily analyze the variations of the curves in order to make our informed insights. We have noticed that most of the probes contained similar moisture peaks, where some represented slight differences due to their placement throughout the orchard. For instance the Tuctronics ANM01215 (red solid curve) and the AquaSpy 18343 (green solid curve) are closely installed together and their variations are closely synchronized.



Tuctronics- Sentek Soil Moisture Probes & Irrigation Pressure Sensors

Tuctronics/AgriNET is a Sentek dealer. They combine an industry-leading soil moisture sensor with AgriNET's reliable telemetry line yield information. These "drill & drop" sensors are used to detect soil moisture, salinity, temperature, and changes in the soil over time, reaching depths of up to 120 centimeters/48 inches.

Tuctronics also utilizes pressure switches throughout customer systems to capture exact start/stop times for irrigation. Combined with soil moisture data, their package identifies water percolation rate across different areas of farms, which vary due to soil types.

Soil Moisture Data: Soil Temperature Data:


Aqua Spy - Soil Moisture Monitoring Probes

Aqua Spy has provided their soil moisture monitoring probes for this project. These probes don't leave any guessing for the grower as they track crop behavior of both water and nutrients up to 48 inches. Aqua Spy really focuses on the Active Root Zone to maximize crop health and yields.