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2014 ASHS Annual Conference

Partnering with Commercial Growers to Implement Sensor-based Irrigation Control

Wednesday, July 30, 2014: 2:45 PM
Salon 7 (Rosen Plaza Hotel)
John D. Lea-Cox, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Our group has been working with field (soil- based) nurseries, container-nurseries and greenhouses to implement sensor-based irrigation management strategies over the past four years.  We have implemented wireless sensor networks to monitor soil and substrate moisture conditions and automatically control irrigation events based on sensor readings, which have reduced water applications in many instances by 50-75% depending on the crop being grown, and daily environmental (weather) conditions.  We are also using these sensor networks to monitor electrical conductivity in the root zone and runoff water for better nutrient management.   This presentation will illustrate various case-studies, to show how we are configuring and scaling these sensor networks to target specific problems -- increasing water use efficiency, reducing nutrient runoff and reducing disease -- while shortening crop production times and increasing crop quality for ornamental growers.