Many of today’s agriculture and horticulture practices are based on historical knowledge, best practice and gut feel of the farmer. However, basing decisions on actual data is becoming increasingly more important for everyone, especially justifying the use of critical resources and minimising costs and inputs where and whenever possible. Athena Irrigation Technologies offers a low-cost, cloud-based system that allows the farmer to watch the grapevine breathe in near real-time to understand when the vines should be irrigated.
With our solution, vineyard operators and other horticulturalists can base their irrigation schedule directly on the plant water needs.With Athena Irrigation Transp-IR sensors, proximal sensing of grapevines within the vineyard allows for targeted irrigation scheduling, plant water status monitoring and evidence of recovery after heat stress events. Combined with weather forecast data, it will provide the basis for assisting the grower with an understanding of when and how much they should water next. The data is delivered in near real-time, from the sensors to the cloud via a LoRa wireless communication system, and the data interpretation is done through a proprietary algorithm owned by Athena.
Our research has demonstrated that irrigation decisions based on direct plant water needs rather than traditionally inferred management practices from soil moisture probes, thermal imaging and gut feel has been shown to have 30% water savings. If the Australian irrigated grapevines had an uptake of 10% of our product, there could be a water saving of 15,000 mega litres annually. A little water saving can go a long way, and grape vines are just the beginning.