Client Login     Online Store  

(877) 533-7878

Advancing Agriculture: An Irrigation Guessing Game You Can’t Win

The problem with traditional irrigation management (i.e. manual or pre-set prescription), is that each irrigation timing event requires that you make two decisions, not just one. You must know not only when to stop irrigating (Decision #1), but also when to jump back in (Decision #2). And, assuming you get both calls right, you must repeat the process over and over, while factoring environmental conditions the plant is experiencing (i.e. heat, sun, wind, humidity and stage of growth, etc.).

After taking all this into account, it only takes one wrong irrigation decision to wipe out all of your prior successes, because even the slightest over or under-watering event negatively impacts yields every fifteen minutes. This is why Lee Rain believes that traditional irrigation management is a loosing proposition.

Recently, one of our patrons admitted that Lee Rain’s position on traditional irrigation made sense, but added: “I’m still tempted to stay in control and try to time my irrigation actions. When it hasn’t rained for a while, I believe that I need to irrigate regularly until the next rainfall. When that will happen, I don’t know. How much and when to irrigate is pure guesswork, but my irrigation is doing its job to minimize my losses and maximize my yield.”

Did you notice that this patron admits he doesn’t know, that he relies on guesswork? He’s certainly not alone. Gut instinct, intuition, overconfidence, and, yes, pride, have many folks just like him making irrigation bets based on their feelings alone.

Take a moment and think about it. If every farmer’s feelings were right all the time, every farmer would be rich.

Arbitrary irrigation timing (a.k.a. guesswork) also proves to be far more costly than the possibility of making the right call. That’s because frequent over and under-watering not only impacts yield, it also decreases nutrient use efficiencies, resulting in key nutrients being located beyond where the roots are able to extract them effectively.

These factors — negative yield impact and decreased nutrient use efficiency — collectively prove that arbitrary irrigation timing can be a costly and losing strategy.

Do you really want to play the guessing game? Do you want to win? It is time to invest in Plant-Triggered Irrigation. Lee Rain is confident that it is the best approach to higher profits.

Call us today to learn more.

Lee Fiocchi, III

AgMS: Precision is Key in the Plant Empowerment Cycle

What is the basis behind the Plant Empowerment Cycle we employ to deliver Plant to Irrigation (P2i) process?

P2i is all about the interrelationship between translation, communication and implementation to make it all happen in the field. The Plant Empowerment Cycle, which illustrates how P2i works, involves three coordinated elements—Precise Plant Intelligence translating into Precise Evaluation, which is then communicated for Precise Action which is implemented to meet the Precise Crop Needs, instantly. But what are the principles behind this methodology and where do we start?

Precise Plant Intelligence
First, we accept the premise that plants are extremely aware of their environment, and are able to process and integrate information in sophisticated ways. Plants have the ability to adjust and adapt to changing circumstances relative to a particular environment. They accurately compute their circumstances, make sophisticated internal adjustments and take defined actions to mitigate and control diverse environmental situations.

In fact, a plant’s roots are the key. One might say their roots are their brains and are able to gather all sensory data every minute of every day, and integrate it to formulate an appropriate response. A root is a complex assemblage and very sensitive to water and oxygen supplies. Roots act like a distributed information processing network, similar to networks that organize information in computers. Recent studies indicate that this is actually the nerve center of the plant…underground intelligence.

Precise Evaluation
Second, we have built “translation” capabilities from the Intelligent Plant into Precise Evaluation. Water, and the subsequent oxygen ratios, is the most important factor which have both a positive and negative effect on the plant’s performance. When we precisely determine the plant’s needs related to the Most Active Root Zone (MARZ), we dramatically improve Plant and Soil Water Health in order to reduce Plant Stress on the crop.

Precise Action
Thirdly, our methodology includes the “communication” between the Precise Evaluation and the process necessary for Precise Action for instant implementation.

The fact of the matter is that the traditional irrigation practice of alternatively flooding and drying out is counter productive, as it upsets the sensitive balance the plants and the roots themselves live in. In the quest for avoiding such imbalances, Plant-Triggered Irrigation is designed to accurately apply water to meet the crop’s specific needs in a precise, accurate and timely manner. More importantly, Plant-Triggered Irrigation is designed to remotely administer real-time optimal water applications for achieving crop quality and higher yields objectives without human intervention.

Without human intervention, Plant-Triggered Irrigation supports real-time communication between the growing plant (P) and action taking irrigation machines/devices (I) in order to meet precise crop demands for water without the side effects of negative plant stress. Plant-Triggered Irrigation performs irrigation tasks that normally require human intervention.

Real-Time Response
Once the Plant Empowerment Cycle is completed and the plant responds to a precise irrigation event, the system is designed to do it all aver again in real-time, 24/7. Simply stated, without Plant to Irrigation (P2i) via the Plant Empowerment Cycle, the precise and timely application of water to meet precise plant needs that reduces crop stress for improving yields would be impossible.

Vision: Are You an Irrigation Surfer or Sailor?

Just for fun, since plant health and performance is directly impacted by the environmental conditions (both above and below the soil surface), tell me the amount of rainfall that occurred on June 6 of last year. Wait, I’ll make it easier – tell me the total rainfall of any date in June last year?

Stumped? Well, so am I. Who could possibly remember that?

By that notion, you’ll soon forget today’s rainfall total too. And that’s the point: If you are a grower who implements Plant Triggered Irrigation —as we counsel our clients to use— there is no need to be concerned with what rainfall occurred or for that matter if the temperature, humidity, wind speed or sunlight intensity is influencing plant health on any particular day, hour or minute because the plant itself tells the irrigation system what it wants or needs every fifteen minutes.

Without Plant Triggered Irrigation, when weather instability occurs, some folks call us expressing worry and a few showed outright fears about their crop’s capability to produce high yield and quality. Because traditional irrigation managers must manually intervene, it’s the outguessing and subsequent irrigation action that promotes anxiety to try, and usually fail, to bring plant health back into balance.

I can’t help but notice that some clients never thought to complain when timely rainfall, perfect temperatures and full sunlight are all in alignment for the perfect crop. They object only to downside weather volatility, which negatively impacts yield, disease or quality—failing to realize that they can’t have one without the other.

Consider Monday, June 5, 2014. It rained 1½ inches and temperature fluctuated from 72 degrees to 90 degrees—its greatest temperature swing since May. The next day was much cooler and cloudier, plus it rained ½ inch. But on Wednesday, it was sunny, 85 degrees and the relative humidity rose above 85% and windy. Thursday the temperature topped out at 90 degrees, rained ½ inch, the wind was calm and it was sunny in the morning and cloudy in the afternoon. On Friday it was very sunny from dusk until dawn, a mild wind and the temperature peaked at 90 degrees by 3:30 in the afternoon.

What a wild week of weather gyrations! And we’ve seen additional bursts of weather unpredictability—both too much and too little—many times since. Every week, every day, every hour and every fifteen minutes is different and good managers can’t keep up if production optimization is their goal. With manual or prescriptions irrigation techniques, it’s impossible to start and stop irrigating in a timely fashion before plant stress occurs.

So if you find weather volatility discomforting as it relates to your irrigation action plans, perhaps my analogy of surfers and sailors might help.

Surfers love the thrill of riding the ocean’s waves. But they often wipe out.

Sailors, by contrast, know that waves don’t effect the times. The ocean ebbs and flows on a regular schedule; tides are predictable, measurable and manageable.

Which one are you? Call us today if you think Plant Triggered Irrigation is right for you.

Lee Fiocchi III