Farmers always need to keep an eye on water issues, to improve crop yields and implement labor-saving strategies. This is one way that wireless tech helps.
Name of organization: WaterBit
Location: San Jose, CA
Opportunity or Challenge Encountered: Getting crops the right amount of water at the right time can have a tremendous impact on crop quality. Farmers seek to maintain this quality while improving crop yields, optimizing water usage and implementing labor-saving strategies. Additionally, water must be delivered at the right time and in the right amount, which varies across crops, fields, regions and seasons.
How This Opportunity or Challenge was Met: WaterBit is an innovative technology company that is collaborating with AT&T to provide highly secure wireless connectivity to its Autonomous Irrigation Solution, enabling control of local irrigation. This control not only helps farmers increase yield but also conserve resources.
Using AT&T Global SIM cards and Internet of Things (IoT) Services such as control centers, the WaterBit gateway securely and reliably sends in-field data collection of soil moisture and nutrients via wireless tech to the cloud. This data is updated every 15 minutes on a 24/7 basis, which users can access and control from virtually anywhere via a mobile-friendly app.
WaterBit aggregates the data from soil monitoring sensors across multiple field locations and sends it to one central network gateway hub, which can be installed at an off-field location and spans over a 1.5-mile range.
Benefits of this Initiative: This provides farmers with near real-time insights, measuring immediate needs for water and optimal moisture levels. From there, farmers can make daily adjustments to the schedules letting growers monitor and analyze soil moisture, as well as plan and control irrigation with pinpoint accuracy. Not over-watering saves fuel and equipment costs and conserves important natural resources.
For example, Danny Royer joined Bowles Farming as the vice president of technology in early 2016 with the mission to assess the existing infrastructure, find complementary technologies and deploy solutions providing real benefit to operations. Upon discovery of WaterBit, he deployed a complete irrigation platform which included communication devices and cloud-based data delivery allowing Bowles Farming to further automate irrigation across their crops.
Fast forward to 2018, Danny is using WaterBit to make real-time irrigation decisions for other crops in the typical Bowles rotation. In addition, this technology is instrumental in assessing water needs for new crops like watermelon and garlic, where they need to gather baseline data.
Danny says, “Bowles will realize significant efficiencies using WaterBit by being able to more effectively deploy people to higher value activities and better manage its water needs.”