Precision Irrigation for Permanent Crops
The simple question of when to irrigate is not as simple to answer as it may sound. Sure there are ways of measuring soil moisture, evapotranspiration, and the like, but those indirect methods don’t always lead to the right answer. California-based FloraPulse thinks they have found the secret with their tensiometer technology. Founder and CEO Michael Santiago commercialized the product based on research he was doing for his PhD at Cornell.
Santiago… “FloraPulse really has developed microchip based sensors that go into trunk of the tree, and measure the water status or water potential of the tree. And they give the most accurate information of water status for the grower to know when to irrigate. We have seen growers using our products save 50% of water, increase yields by up to 15%, which drives a lot of value. So yeah, this is the holy grail of measuring water in trees.”
Different from a lot of other sensors, FloraPulse can measure actual water potential to let the trees inform growers when they need irrigation.
Santiago… “It's a micro tensiometer, which has the advantage that it directly measures the water potential or water status of the tree, which has the most accurate information for irrigation. So just like you can measure blood pressure in a human, you can measure water potential in a tree. And so then, you know, the pressure is too high or too low, you want to keep it at a certain range.”
More information can be found on their website www.FloraPulse.com.