NASA has developed a computer program that analyzes satellite data, information from sensors in fields and weather observations to help farmers boost irrigation efficiency by 20 to 25 percent.
Irrigation is currently responsible for 70 percent of the country's water use, so cutting that by a quarter could have a major impact.
The program will use moisture and temperature readings from soil sensors combined with Landsat satellite data on crop growth to calculate the irrigation needs of individual farms. Farmers and vineyard managers will have access to the data in real-time via computer or mobile device, letting them determine how much water to release into the fields. All of the information will be stored in a database so that farmers can access past and current data at any time.
The NASA program will allow farmers to produce the same yield with less water, cutting costs and making such a large consumer of water much more efficient. The project is currently being tested on farms and vineyards in the San Joaquin Valley in California.
via Yale e360
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