Irrigated farming is how many thousands of Canadian producers earn their living. It is a difficult method to achieve complete control since measuring water-use efficacy has been a challenge. For farmers, precision agriculture is a term being used more and more these days, however, it’s only recently that precision irrigation has become synonymous with the phrase. With Hortau, the Canadian-based company not only keeps farmers happy with greater return on investment through precision irrigation management, but they are able to track their inputs with more efficiency, as well.
Tracking soil tension
It’s one of the most important questions a farmer can ask: how much water will be available for my plants? The answers, however, are mixed at best. It means irrigated farmers often use excessive water as a “just-in-case” insurance policy to avoid the risk of drier soil and reduced plant stands. This can cause increased input costs and, overall, smaller profit margins. However, with Hortau’s patented soil Tensiometer, which can measure up to 1,000 kPa, it is built on industry leading practices and feedback from Hortau’s farmer members.
Sitting below the soil surface and positioned directly in the root zone, gives farmers extremely accurate readouts of the force of the soil to attract water around the particles of soil, which will then be taken up by the plant. The best part is that the Tensiometer can work in any number of soils, whether fast-draining sandy soils or slow, heavy clayey soils and peat.
The technology was initially tested out in greenhouse settings, but since 2006 has also been successfully applied to a large number of outdoor fruit and vegetable farmers, including cranberry and potato.
Farmers finish their day with more money in their jeans
When Hortau is employed on an irrigated farmer’s operation, one thing will become incredibly clear: better input management. A second objective will be achieved by managing the first, namely, a precise amount of water used, which directly translates into greater savings on inputs.
The sensor inside the Tensiometer communicates directly back to the farmer via the secure and protected Hortau app, or desktop computer app, and lets them know accurately the soil tension in the field they have probed. From there, an exact decision can be made, setting up the field for optimum water uptake.
Greater control and information stream
Not only do farmers receive irrigation data to make informed decisions, Hortau gives farmers the ability to automatically irrigate, as well, through adaptive cellular technology. This means it does not matter where the farmer is—in the yard or even at the lake enjoying downtime—because the connections are instantly downloaded to the farmer’s Hortau account. Along with field monitoring in general, as well as precise weather data about frost, rain and wind events and forecast, farmers have a greater stream of information coming to them to make informed choices about managing their crops. In addition, Hortau’s NDVI satellite maps give infrared, or near-infrared, results to easily visualize how well plants are photosynthesizing on the whole farm. It allows farmers to have the full picture of field variations and to pinpoint specific problematic areas.
In the near future, Hortau aims to help farmers with other commonly faced issues such as pest and disease management. With software developed internally with a team of 90 employees across Canada and the United States, Hortau is here to support the country’s farmers.
The Tech Direct Solution
Hortau is an AGvisorPRO Tech Direct partner. This means that any farmer with the AGvisorPRO app can connect to Hortau in a face-to-face session for free. While there’s certainly no shortage of ways for farmers to digitally connect with the information they need, AGvisorPRO is unique. We connect farmers, industry, and independent expertise into one user-friendly app. This means farmers can find the advice they need easily, connect to the right people quickly, and get from question to answer faster.
To connect with Hortau or any of our Tech Direct partners, consider downloading the AGvisorPRO app. If you want to see what AGvisorPRO can do for you, one of our knowledgeable team members would be happy to give you a walk-through. You can also download our app at AGvisorPRO.com or wherever you get your apps. With Hortau and AGvisorPRO in your corner, when it comes to quality irrigation management solutions, your needs will be taken care of.