Ask any hobby farmer what their biggest concern is in the warm summer months and one of the top 3 will almost always be water. Water issues or the complete lack of water in a drought situation can result in problems with your livestock. If youâ€™re on a well, it can also lead to issues in your home.
To protect farmland and help farmers, everyone needs to get smarter about water management. One of the ways hobby farmers can take charge of water used for crops or gardens is by using a smart irrigation system.
What is smart irrigation?
Most sprinkler systems operate manually. You turn on a tap or open a valve and your water flows to the sprinkler. With a smart irrigation device, instead of manually turning on the water you can control your water flow via an app.
These devices have Wi-Fi and connect to your existing sprinkler system.
The connection of a simple smart watering device can take as little as half an hour. You can find industrial smart water management systems for purchase through a company.
Or opt for simple smart watering devices available at your local retailer or online. Most non-commercial smart irrigation devices will cost under $500.
Read more: Do you have a farm water backup plan?
How Smart Irrigation Devices Work
There are quite a few different smart irrigation devices you can choose from. Your choice will depend on what type of sprinkler system youâ€™re currently using and what type of control youâ€™d like over your watering schedule.
Most types share a few of the same features.
Control Your Watering from Your Phone
Instead of turning your water on and off yourself, a smart irrigation device will give you complete control over watering via an app. The app lets you turn the water on or off, or pause watering. If youâ€™re away and see that your property is having a sudden downpour in the middle of your scheduled watering, you can turn your sprinklers off from anywhere you are.
Youâ€™ll also see a history of watering and data on your water usage so you can plan for water bills or limit watering to save money.
Read more: Don’t wait to figure out your high tunnel irrigation system.
Weather Data Controls Water Flow
Once you connect a smart watering device and set up an account, your device will use onboard software thatâ€™s essentially a mini-weather station or weather sensor. This software will connect to your internet connection, satellite data and other proprietary methods. It will then determine current and upcoming weather systems and adjust your watering schedule according to when youâ€™ll have rain.
If you have an outdoor sensor, the sensor will supply data to the device too. So if it’s currently raining and youâ€™re watering, your water will shut off.
Water Based on Need & Location
Some smart watering devices have options within the app to separate your sprinkler system into zones. Depending on the zone your sprinkler is located in, you can choose when to water, how often to water and how much to water.
For example, you may want to water an area that receives greater sunlight more often than you would water an area in the shade. You can designate a zone and set a schedule for that area to receive more water.
Turn off the Water in Low Temperatures
To protect your sprinkler system when the temperatures suddenly drop to freezing levels, a smart watering device will detect the current temperature and automatically turn off the water.
Smarter Water Management
Weather systems are changing and summer temperatures are increasing every year. To preserve natural resources, all hobby farmers need to stay smart about water management.
With smart irrigation devices, technology makes managing water use easier.