California farmers have a vested interest in finding ways to be more precise with irrigation. Dr. Wim Bastiaanssen is a globally recognized soil and water physicist. He says the status quo in moisture sensing is not getting farmers what they need.
Bastiaanssen… “If they get a map from a scientist saying something on the amount of biomass on their field, it's like, 'yeah, okay. So, but what do I need to do tomorrow?' Or 'how many inches of water should I give?' Many remote sensing scientists, they work on soil moisture. But most of this moisture is the moisture of the top soil. So it's just the upper few inches and that's not what this farmer wants. You know, this farmer wants to know, 'well, my crops have roots and what is the moisture in my root zone?' Because that is what determines the uptake of water, and the evapotranspiration of water, and the crop production.”
Bastiaanssen developed a way for farmers to let the plants tell them when they need water through satellite remote sensing. His company is called Irriwatch.