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ECOSTRESS Pivotal in Precision Agriculture

Written By: Allison Bailey, ECOSTRESS Applied Sciences

IrriWatch, a newly launched company focusing on the automation of irrigation monitoring to maximize crop yields and conserve water, attributes ECOSTRESS as playing a pivotal role in their platform. 

Crop irrigation processes, such as soil moisture which is pivotal to crop water intake, are highly dynamic and can fluctuate rapidly.  The sensitive nature of these processes and the growing concern of water scarcity have shifted irrigation ideologies to a precision irrigation concept. 

Precision irrigation decisions, i.e., when, where, and how much to water, have long been dependent on a farmer’s intuition. If economically feasible, farmers may rely on localized soil sensors physically input into the ground, which can be expensive and often lack precision. To support precision irrigation and financial accessibility, IrriWatch offers a platform that provides daily thermal data from sources such as ECOSTRESS to provide precise monitoring of root zone soil moisture and crop evapotranspiration at affordable prices to farmers.

Grower

“The beauty of ECOSTRESS is that it really reduces the time between consecutive images,” said Dr. Wim Bastiaanssen, founder of IrriWatch and the lead developer of the surface energy balance algorithm for land (SEBAL) model.  Before ECOSTRESS data, Bastiaanssen was reliant on 8-16 day cycles of thermal data for irrigation monitoring, which posed significant gaps in capturing environmental fluctuations.  “With ECOSTRESS, these cycles are reduced to four days overlap, and that is the great contribution of ECOSTRESS,” said Bastiaanssen.

Platforms, such as IrriWatch, are pivotal for future optimization of water and maximizing crop yields in regions facing food insecurity. These benefits not only conserve natural resources but have direct cost-benefit savings to the farmer. 

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