Delivering Precise Soil Conditions for Efficient Crop and Turf Management

Research Synopsis

Sensor-Based Automation of Irrigation of Bermudagrass

University of Florida

Bernard Cardenas-Lailhacar --2006
The goals of this research were to find out if the different SMS-systems (sensor with a proprietary controller) could reduce irrigation water application-while maintaining acceptable turf quality-compared to current practices and , on the other hand, to collect evidence related to RS (rain sensor) reliability. Results showed that no significant differences in turfgrass quality among treatments were detected. Timers without rains sensors were shown to water 52% more than timers with rain sensors. SMS-based (soil moisture sensor) treatments were, on average, significantly more efficient as a means to save water that the time-based treatments. However, not all SMSs tested performed the same. The Acclima SMS system provided the greatest water savings with equal turf quality as the other three brands tested saving 88- 92% water in the study. It is important to note that during the study the area experienced significant rainfall accounting for the large water savings and high quality turf health. Regions with less natural rainfall will experience proportional water savings. Acclima's simple add on device performed flawlessly suspending irrigation during rain while maintaining turf health. Though rains sensors were shown to save 48% Acclima saved 88-92%, making it the ultimate rain sensor.

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