Home News Livestock Crops Markets Hay, Range & Pasture Home & Family Classifieds Resources This Week's Journal
Commerical Hay Equipment For The Farm
Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizer

Farm Survey

Journal Getaways

Reader Comment:
by Wheat_Harvest movie

"Thanks so much for the article! These are the types of people we hope to"....Read the story...
Join other discussions.

Company expands ARS tech to save water, energy

This year, a Texas-based company is expanding a timely automated irrigation system that saves water and energy and is based on Agricultural Research Service-patented technology.

The system is called SmartCropTM. Plant physiologist James R. Mahan and a team of scientists at the ARS Cropping Systems Laboratory in Lubbock, Texas, developed the technology.

The company, Smartfield, Inc., in Lubbock, Texas, is adding three instruments: SmartPump to detect pressure and flow rates in subsurface drip systems; SmartWeather to monitor wind speed and sunshine; and RainAlert to detect rain. The company began marketing SmartCropTM for the 2008 irrigation season.

SmartCropTM uses pole-mounted infrared thermometers to read leaf temperatures as well as surrounding air temperatures. A computerized controller wirelessly receives the readings every 10 seconds from each thermometer. The controller also collects weather data. Every 15 minutes, it transmits data averages to the Internet.

SmartCropTM capitalizes on the researchers' discovery that each plant species grows best only within a narrow temperature range. An overheated plant may need water as much to cool down as to assuage thirst.

For cotton in the Lubbock area, the system might send a text message advising turning on irrigation if leaf temperatures read above 82 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 6.5 hours at a time.

Listening to plants via cell phone has saved cotton, sorghum and wheat grower Glen Schur of Plainview, Texas, about 7 million gallons of irrigation water a year on average, according to his reports. That saves Schur $4,000 a year in energy costs alone.

The water saved would be the equivalent of the total water needs of 44 homes for a year.

Spread across just the center pivot and drip irrigation systems in the country, the water saved would fill the needs of about 10 million homes a year, and energy saved would power about a million homes.

ARS and Smartfield continue working with Schur and other farmers, both to refine SmartCropTM further and to inspire research into new ways to address this century's water, energy and climate challenges.

ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Web hpj.com

Copyright 1995-2014.  High Plains Publishers, Inc.  All rights reserved.  Any republishing of these pages, including electronic reproduction of the editorial archives or classified advertising, is strictly prohibited. If you have questions or comments you can reach us at
High Plains Journal 1500 E. Wyatt Earp Blvd., P.O. Box 760, Dodge City, KS 67801 or call 1-800-452-7171. Email: webmaster@hpj.com


Archives Search

NCBA Convention

United Sorghum Checkoff Program

Inside Futures

Editorial Archives

Browse Archives