With water supplies and access to water, especially in states such as California, there is an opportunity to develop tools and technologies to enable plants to capitalize on what water they do have. One new product is the Yara Water Solution, a plant-based sensor that allows direct communication with the plant, such as citrus crops, during the entire growing period. The technology has been used successfully in Spain and is being introduced in the U.S. with a focus on citrus crops in California and Florida first.
The tool provides the grower with direct information about the water status of plants using non-invasive leaf-clamps, or sensors, that are wired to sending units in trees. The sensors measure the pressure from water within the leaf to determine when and where water is needed. According to YARA, water use, and cost, can be reduced up to 40 percent due to irrigation being applies more precisely based on the crops’ moisture status.
“The first thing people say when hearing about a technology such as this is, ‘I can save water,’” said YaraVita Product Director for Yara North America, Toby Goodroad. “That is not the whole story. We can also save pumping and environmental costs, while at the same time using the water more efficiently, increasing yield and quality. This sensor is one of the many Yara Precision Farming tools which will be implemented in North America. A variety of applications and sensing technology are slated for implementation and we’re confident they will benefit growers in North America.”
Goodroad explained that some of the features and benefits of the Yara Water Solution include easy setting of irrigation thresholds, preventing over irrigation, which can lead to plant diseases, and reducing fertilizer and pesticide use since applications can be aligned to meet water demands of the plant.
Geraldo Mattioli, Yara North America vice president, premium offerings, added, “This technology is unique to Yara and its launch will further differentiate us in the North American market not only as fertilizer suppliers but as crop nutrition experts who can help deliver to farmers solutions for environmental issues such as reduced water supply.“