Growing apples is hardly a simple job.
Extreme weather, a lot of work around each plant, and pest control are a part of everyday life for farmers. With new ways to do apple orchard irrigation, farmers can make sure their plants are healthy even if they are not in the orchard every day.
In this article, we want to focus on explaining the benefits that autonomous irrigation can make to increase apple yield. These systems are changing the agriculture industry by allowing farmers to water the plants remotely so that plants would have everything they need all year round.
How to Ensure Consistent Yield
Modern apple orchards function differently compared to the old ones. Today, apple cultivation demands a high and dense tree population. With so many root systems close to each other, water needs to be distributed so that every plant has enough.
Apples can grow in different soil types as long as it’s well-drained and fertile. But, like many other plants, they don’t like to grow in soil that is too dry or too wet. One of the best ways to keep the surface dry while pointing the water and fertilizer towards roots is autonomous irrigation.
The quality of next year’s apples heavily depends on how you take care of your orchard this year and the year before. Using fertigation using drip irrigation systems will increase the quality of soil that guarantees healthy apples in the seasons to come.
Big and healthy apples draw customers’ attention and in stores, bigger means more expensive. That’s why farmers are trying hard to create perfect conditions for apples to grow beyond average size. Investing in irrigation and fertigation distributes the right amount of soil nutrients and water to plant roots to ensure apples grow and mature at a similar time.
How Autonomous Irrigation Keeps Apple Orchard Healthy
Changing climatic conditions are pushing farmers to find optimal ways to irrigate their apple orchards and manage water resources as sustainably as possible. One way to achieve sustainability, and save money and time in the process, while keeping your apples healthy and strong, is to use autonomous irrigation systems. Here’s how these systems help your orchard.
Reduced Water Stress
Due to water stress, plants can drop their fruit early or develop other problems. If you rely on rainfall only, you cannot expect the desired results in most cases, as the water distribution may be uneven and not match the needs of the apple trees, depending on the location.
Since fruit drops can create not only financial losses but can harm the plants, it’s vital to ensure the plant root system always has access to water. One of the most secure ways to provide the apple orchard with enough water during the season is autonomous irrigation.
Controlled Humidity Levels
Humidity control matters in the apple orchard as it can lead to severe fungal disease. Once developed, fungi like mildew and scab are not easy to remove. Using apple orchard irrigation systems, farmers can avoid high moisture levels by using irrigation sensors that monitor changes in soil moisture, water flow, and the amount of rain.
Using autonomous irrigation systems also reduces the need for sprayers, as they can harm the leaves and attract more insects.
Modern apple orchards place trees closer to each other to make the apples easy to pick. However, that often means that root zones are smaller and intertwined. Since sprinklers can cover only a limited part of the soil, drip irrigation ensures that water can reach every tree.
In return, equal amounts of water and fertilizer lead to a more consistent yield as all apple trees develop in similar conditions.
Using sprinklers was a widespread practice for many farmers. However, due to wind and changing weather, sprinklers require more resources for regular maintenance. On the other hand, apple orchard irrigation infrastructure is easy to maintain, more reliable and requires less workforce to function properly throughout the season.
Combined with irrigation sensors, which automatically adapt their functioning (or even turn off completely) depending on the weather conditions, you can expect the autonomous irrigation system to be a long-lasting investment.
Farmers no longer have to go from one orchard to another to check what’s happening. Using remote controls and automation, it’s possible to manage different orchards and access information using ng phone or a computer.
Once you have a Smart Watering Controller installed, it measures soil moisture, EC, and temperature. The reading always happens in real-time so that farmers would have access to accurate information.
What Autonomous Irrigation Brings to the Table
Managing and optimizing the use of water for agricultural needs is the key to the future of food production. Unfortunately, intensive groundwater pumping depletes aquifers that are the source of freshwater for farmers all around the world.
Farmers facing drought have to think out of the box and act fast to optimize water usage. Autonomous drip irrigation uses every drop of water so it would end up where it’s needed most—in the root system of your plants.
If you want to use the potential of apple orchard irrigation systems, give us a call today and book a meeting to learn how we can help.