We are developing a intelligent and efficient irrigation system for small farmers in Brazil. It consists in a soil sensor connected to a water valve and a software.
The sensor detects when the soil is dry at its limit and starts the irrigation for a short period, then it stops and wait for 3 hours to make a second reading at a lower layer of the soil, and if needed stars the irrigation again.
Connected with the internet and forecast services it avoids irrigation just before rain.
Our system combines sensor and software intelligence to determinate when and how much to irrigate.
Our sensor is made of plastic and works with a simple physics concept where the space between the parts let the water in and can mesure the water tension in the soil, so it’s not a eletronic sensor.
In Brazil 70% of the food is produced by small farmers who has no automation or technological tools. They can only know when to irrigate by touching the soil surface and they irrigate for as long as they find convinient.
The irrigation system available in the market runs with time presets so they don’t consider the weather or how is the soil beneath the surface.
Our system is build with a very simple technology so it will be affordable for that market and it runs automatically, they don’t have to interact with no difficult technological interface.
The water valve is adaptable for any irrigation system.
The whole system runs with solar energy and a small battery and it has its own web so it can be used in areas where there is no internet connection.
Objectives and beneficiaries
Our goal is to to offer an affordable, accurate and simple to use irrigation system to small farmers spend less water and still have great crops.
Small farmers in Brazil who produce 70% of the food and has no tools available or no attention because they are not a significant consumers.
Strong points of the practice
Our system operates in a wide range of soil water tension and “reads” the soil in two levels, the first position is about 15 cm deep and the second at 30 cm deep. So it tells when to irrigate and how much is needed.
As it is not an eletronic sensor, soil salinity doesn't affect its reading.
It can be used in areas where there is no internet conection.
Expected results and benefits for climate change adaptation and mitigation
We expect a significant reduction in water withdraw in agriculture in Brasil and also free our farmers from the irrigation job, so they have more time for other activities.
By empowering our farmers with knowledge about the soil and with a more efficient irrigation system that use much less water, food can be produced during drought.
Replicability potential of the practice
The fabric is already existing and can produce several sensors a day.
Our API is open for anyone who is willing to help us improve the system.
[Editor's Note: All information published as submitted by the author(s). Minor edits may have been made to increase readability and understanding.]