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Irrigation futures  - SMS text delivers irrigation information to growers
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Irrigation futures - SMS text delivers irrigation information to growers

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SMS text delivers irrigation information to growers …

SMS text delivers irrigation information to growers

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that nearly everyone over the age of 10 in Australia now has a mobile phone. A trial being conducted at present by the CRCIF is showing that the mobile has great potential for more than phoning home. Irrigators around Australia are participating in a trial where they subscribe to an SMS (text message) service that helps them schedule irrigation times.

Irrigation Technology: Agriculture, Irrigation Australia Journal, Winter 2008, Volume 23 No. 2.

Published in: Education, Technology, Business
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  • 1. IRRIGATION TECHNOLOGY: AGRICULTURE IRRIGATION TECHNOLOGY: AGRICULTURE SMS TEXT DELIVERS IRRIGATION INFORMATION TO GROWERS It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to Suited to drip irrigation say that nearly everyone over the Pascal Guertin, a grape grower at age of 10 in Australia now has a Bilbul, NSW, says the text messaging mobile phone. A trial being system is an extra tool to help conducted at present by the CRCIF growers know how much water is is showing that the mobile has needed for their crop, and how long great potential for more than to irrigate. phoning home. Irrigators around “I get an SMS message each Australia are participating in a trial morning telling me how long my where they subscribe to an SMS drip irrigation run time should be.” (text message) service that helps them schedule irrigation times. Pascal, who has farmed chardonnay, shiraz and semillon grapes in the district since 1984, says How the system works the system is well suited to drip The message service collects irrigators because its easier to evaporation and rainfall readings measure exact flow volume to the from a local weather station. vineyard. Computer technology analyses the “The technology takes into account data and sends a short message about temperature, evaporation and crop irrigation for the crop by mobile type so information is customised to phone. For example, it tells you how each farmer.” long to run a drip irrigation system for a vineyard. “I can reply by phone and send The computer system applies a crop back data to build up a profile of factor for low, medium or high irrigation for my farm. It’s as simple watering over a season and calculates as pressing I (for irrigation), Q (to dripper run times, based on the identify farm) and 250 (meaning how individual irrigation system’s output. many minutes the pump ran for). A short message is automatically sent Pascal says he would certainly to a mobile phone by SMS each subscribe to the system once the trial morning. finished and the technology becomes Yet another use for a mobile phone! For evaporation text message commercialised. Irrigators are participating in a trial where advice, cumulative evaporation “Farmers need all the help they can they subscribe to an SMS service that readings for the past week are get to save water and be profitable. helps then schedule irrigation times. collected and sent by mobile phone. The project is funded and supported by the Cooperative Research Centre for Irrigation Futures and involves researchers from CSIRO and Melbourne University. To reach the decision-makers in the irrigation field, you should consider advertising in Irrigation Australia Journal, the official journal of Irrigation Australia. For information on advertising rates, please contact Brian Rault at Hallmark Editions, Tel (03) 8534 5000 or email brian.rault@halledit.com.au Grape grower, Pascal Guertin (l), shows Nik Car how he accesses the scheduling information.8 IRRIGATION AUSTRALIA
  • 2. IRRIGATION TECHNOLOGY: AGRICULTUREThis tool is simple and easy to use, “I send a short SMS message back that helps an irrigator to becomesaving me time and money.” each day with any rainfall data and my more efficient and productive is a irrigation run time. This is analysed good one.Saves time and water costs and subtracted from the next incoming Currently, David uses evaporationBob Belatto, Vice President of the Wine SMS message, so it’s all pretty information together with plantGrapes Marketing Board, sees great accurate.” growth information from Growcompotential of the SMS irrigation message “I’d definitely subscribe to the service to calculate the optimum irrigationsystem for other regions of Australia. once it becomes commercially times for his 90-hectare farm, which“It’s a really useful guide that could be available. While soil moisture probes grows a mix of melons, potatoes,set up anywhere. As it develops, more are now the benchmark for growers to carrots and green beans.farmers will save money in water determine how much water is needed “If we could combine all ourmonitoring and irrigation costs.” for their crop, they can be quite regional data such as temperature, Bob also owns a 30-hectare vineyard expensive to buy. Hopefully, the SMS rainfall and soil type for specificnear Griffith and grows semillon, message system will become cheaper crops – geared for specificshiraz, merlot and chardonnay wine and just as good in the future.” allotments – then this systemgrapes. would be a real goer.” “At present, the SMS message servicetechnology is [more] suited to drip Planning for the future “Currently, we use EnviroSCANirrigation than flood irrigation. David Keller, a mixed-crop farmer from for soil water monitoring.Drippers are very accurate in the the Lockyer Valley in southeast Combined with regular inspectionsamount of water getting to plants.” Queensland, believes any new tool of our vegetables and of soil moisture, we can adjust our overhead spray times to get the best results from the least amount ofThe computer system applies a crop factor for low, medium water.”or high watering over a season and calculates dripper run “But an automated system that combines these all variables andtimes, based on the individual irrigation system’s output. then sends an SMS message outA short message is automatically sent to a mobile phone saying exactly how long to irrigateby SMS each morning. would be even better.” IRRIGATION AUSTRALIA 9

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