According to a USDA survey, more than three-quarters of American farmers irrigate crops based on observation. Others might irrigate based on next week’s weather forecast or instinct or even when their neighbors water, but consultancy company Fruition Sciences uses a Web application.
Co-founders, Sébastien Payen and Thibaut Scholasch give clients advice on planting, how and when to irrigate crops, and when to harvest.
Solar-powered sensors provided by Fruition are attached to vines, which expose the water flowing inside the vine itself. Data from the attachment are then transmitted to a cloud-based server and analyzed there.
Scholasch compares it to going to the doctor. The doctor will take an individual’s blood pressure before asking what they did the day before. Scholasch said water flowing through a plant is like blood flowing through an individual. Along with that, other data are considered, including the climate.
According to Fruition, a vineyard typically pumps around the equivalent of one Olympic-size swimming pool per year. The company said some of its California clients claim to have already saved up to 60 percent of water in 2013 compared with last year, and the season is not yet over. Fruition also said 2013 is much drier and warmer than last year.
Fruition said vineyards often pump too much water to the vineyard via irrigation. On top of water being wasted, there is also a waste of energy to carry this water. This can be particularly expensive, according to the company, particularly in places where the water has to be pumped from belowground.
Some wines take years to mature, so Fruition’s benefits regarding a better-tasting grape may not yet be known, but its water conservation has been proven already.
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