Water is a precious commodity and an important part of any farm or agricultural operation. Farmers such as citrus growers, avocado farmers, peach growers and others are constantly trying to gauge how much water their crops need. Too little water stunts plant growth and delays crop development while too much water invites rot and disease; both affect the bottom line of the operation in an undesirable manner. With the high cost of water, farmers aim to use the exact amount of water needed by the crops and no more, and they just may have a new tool to help in those efforts. A newly developed water sensor allows growers to listen to the leaves of their crops tell them exactly how much water the leaves have and how much they need.

The Yara Water Solution is a sensor that clamps on to the leaves themselves, allowing the sensors to take readings from the leaves. They clamp over the leaf, attaching to both the top and the bottom of the leaf, though they are described as non-invasive by the manufacturer. The sensor actually measures the pressure of the water within the leaf and transmits the information to the grower. This tells how much water the leaf has within it, and how much the plant may—or may not—need.

While the technology is currently being tested in Florida citrus groves (among others), the manufacturer claims that water usage can be reduced by 40 percent because the data that determines when growers need to water is much more accurate. They also maintain that the sensors can reduce fertilizer and pesticide use that is associated with water usage. Compatible with all leafy plant crops, the technology is expected to be available to growers in a year to a year and a half.

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.