“To us, [on the ground], the trees throughout the grove looked ok. But it was clear through the imagery that we were not getting enough water to our trees in a uniform manner. Ceres Imaging is so sensitive it showed us problems the trees were not yet telling us about.”
Harold Brockman

After the passing of his father—a crop duster who purchased the land upon retirement—Harold Brockman returned to the family farm, where he found a niche growing citrus. Today, Brockman Farming produces mandarin oranges along with pistachios and almonds.

mandarins
Crop Type
Mandarins oranges
Location
Madera, California
Category
Irrigation management
Highlight
Aerial data helped Brockman Farms determine the potential ROI of a major infrastructure investment.

The problem

When Harold took over his family’s farming operation in 2004, he quickly recognized a marketing opportunity in consumer-friendly mandarin oranges. Over the years, he worked to convert the family’s navel orange groves to mandarins. However, because the mandarins are planted more densely than other citrus trees, Harold wondered if his irrigation system was really built to handle the needs of the new crop.

The solution

With the help of Ceres Imaging, Harold confirmed his suspicion that his irrigation system was not providing water adequately or uniformly across the grove. Imagery revealed areas throughout the orchard that were being severely underwatered.

To minimize damage to the crop in the growing season already underway, Harold began watering the indicated sections for longer periods of time. Ultimately, Harold decided to add another well to his irrigation system—a major effort he wouldn’t have felt comfortable making had the imagery not indicated that the investment would have positive ROI. With the addition of the well, Harold expects to see increased fruiting and yield throughout the orchard in years to come.

The outcome

With aerial data to validate his decisions, Harold could measure the potential ROI of a new well before making the investment.

BrockmanFarming_blogimage-01
Not all irrigation issues require major system upgrades to correct. In this portion of Harold’s orchard, aerial data revealed a stressed area that extra water helped improve over the course of the season.
“We knew we had some problems. But the imagery really makes it clear where the issues are and to what degree. It gave us a sense of where to make changes.”
Harold Brockman, President, Brockman Farming

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