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How Is Precision Agriculture Solving Future Water Shortages?

Governments and agriculture experts have been working together to come up with potential solutions for global projected water shortages in the future. Less water and higher populations will put producers in the predicament of needing to produce approximately 21 percent more food with about 17 percent less water.

Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is funding a $2.59 million dollar project and partnering with five universities in the western states for a project called, “Precision Canopy and Water Management Study in Specialty Crops Using Sensor-Based Decision Making”.

save water when farming

Growing Crops With Less Water

The goal of the project is to use precision agriculture technology to create solutions for growing crops with less water. The project is currently being tested at a research farm in California, where helicopters with cameras monitor experimental orchards.

The most recent advances in precision agriculture, including aerial sensing, are being applied to improve canopy and water management in grapes, almonds, walnuts, pecans and other specialty crops. Improvements in irrigation targeting will make the irrigation process more efficient and reduce the amount of water needed.

How it Will Work

In order to make the irrigation process more efficient, the project is using GPS technology, lightbar systems, drone helicopters and other technological tools to gather plant and soil information. Once collected, the data is sent to computers that compile the information to let producers know the exact time and amount they should be watering their crops.

The three-year project is set to end this year. Learn more about this exciting study here.
 
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