ICT International develops sensors, IoT Nodes, data loggers and telemetry systems enabling continuous real time monitoring of critical plant, soil and atmospheric parameters.
In late 2018 ICT International and NBN Co. installed a LoRaWAN monitoring program in an Avocado orchard with the specific objective to reduce rates of fruit drop and yield loss by improved irrigation scheduling.
Avocados are particularly sensitive to heat and water stress at the time of flowering and fruit set. By forecasting the risk factors contributing to plant water stress, notably low soil moisture and high VPD (Vapour Pressure Deficit), management decisions can be implemented to minimise the risk of fruit drop.
This is the monitoring system solution engineered by ICT International:
o Nexus8 Outback LoRaWAN Gateway
o ICT S-NODE LoRaWAN supporting DBS-60 Band Dendrometer, ATMOS-14 Microclimate Sensor; TEROS-12 Soil Moisture Sensor.
o ICT S-NODE LoRaWAN supporting ATMOS-41 Weather Station.
The sensor network was installed in December 2018, prior to a month of extreme heat which occurred during flowering and fruit set. Over January during fruit set the sensor network detected two significant plant water stress events, with local VPD (Vapor Pressure Deficit) levels rising above 5kPa.
Low soil moisture during the second event resulted in severe plant water stress which was reflected by higher levels of maximum daily contraction of the trunk (MDC). Managers observed high numbers of fruit drop coinciding with the second event (see image 4).
The current monitoring system will be further developed to provide automated notifications via SMS and Email when a water stress event is forecasted. Remotely controllable irrigation systems are currently being installed, which will allow operators to act on this intelligence to actively manage risks to the crop.
The monitoring system will provide property owners the information required to remotely control irrigation to reduce plant water stress events; we’ll check in with ICT International to find out what impact this has on their client’s operations in 12 months.
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– Sam Fisher, Environmental Scientist, ICT.”