In conversations with our customers and partners throughout the 2021 season, we heard some recurring themes.
In much of the country, drought threatened crop health: some growers saw water allocations reduced to zero, while others contended with record-breaking heat. These challenging conditions underscored the value of precision irrigation—applying limited water strategically, where it's needed the most.
But for many growers, precision irrigation tools remain impractical, unreliable, or both. Whether it's the time wasted switching back and forth between different farming apps, or a lack of confidence in the accuracy of in-field sensor data, growers face major hurdles to implementing an irrigation strategy that actually protects farm profits.
That's why Ceres Imaging is unveiling an irrigation optimization bundle that aims to make precision irrigation easier and more efficient.
Sensor integrations: farm data in one place
For the 2022 season, Ceres Imaging's industry-leading aerial imagery and analytics tools will integrate with other precision irrigation tools, including moisture probes and weather stations.
The ability to see multiple sources of irrigation data in one place makes it easier for busy growers to identify issues, improve uniformity, and uncover opportunities to protect farm profits.
“Especially when water’s scarce, optimizing irrigation depends on seeing the full picture of variability across your operation. But while you might want to have eyes on every plant in the field, the fact is, there’s never enough time in the day,” says Ashwin Madgavkar, Ceres Imaging CEO and founder.
“This integration helps ensure growers get the full picture of their irrigation performance so they can optimize water use and hit their management goals.”
Customized water demand maps
Especially in times of water scarcity, growers gain a significant advantage if they know exactly where they can reduce water use with the least impact to crop yields and quality.
For most operations, this type of prioritization is critical to the bottom line, yet often comes down to guesswork based on trial and error and estimates informed by crop coefficients. While a valuable starting point, these generic Kc values, derived from research test plots, can't account for the real-world variability present in any individual field.
To address that issue, Ceres Imaging will offer water demand maps for orchards and vineyards in the 2022 season. Built from scientific-grade aerial imagery and crop-specific data models, water demand maps provide an intuitive, "at-a-glance" reference to guide irrigation scheduling decisions.
Performance trends and quantification tools
Rounding out our irrigation optimization offerings for 2022 are an expanded range of analytics tools, anchored in the plant-level data that sets Ceres Imaging apart.
Growers can "drill down" to assess the performance of specific varietals or rootstocks and easily compare crop health between fields and over time. Especially for large operations with lean teams working across multiple locations, the ability to quickly quantify the potential impact of management decisions will change how managers prioritize day-to-day tasks, as well as long-term investments in farm infrastructure.