Smart irrigation is the existing major agricultural irrigation model in response to the current severe situation of agricultural water waste. Agricultural intelligent irrigation technology is able to realize partial irrigation. What’s more, it can be applicable for fertilizer and pesticide dissolution in addition to replenishing soil moisture to satisfy the demands of plant growth. Mixed with modern fertilization equipment such as syringe pumps, the irrigation technology is able to realize fertilization and pesticide injection.
1. What is Smart irrigation in IoT?
Smart irrigation is the existing major agricultural irrigation model in response to the current severe situation of agricultural water waste. Agricultural intelligent irrigation technology is able to realize partial irrigation. What’s more, it can be applicable for fertilizer and pesticide dissolution in addition to replenishing soil moisture to satisfy the demands of plant growth. Mixed with modern fertilization equipment such as syringe pumps, the irrigation technology is able to realize fertilization and pesticide injection. Also, it can avoid soil salinization. Regarding the soils that have been salinized, irrigation can be used to flush salt inside the soil to enhance the soil quality. Additionally, scientific irrigation can play a role in preventing vegetables from being frozen and damaged by dry conditions and hot wind as well as protecting soil from wind erosion.
Under a lot of conditions like water conservation, fertilizer-saving, gas and heat-saving, intelligent irrigation maintains a good state of water, fertilizer, gas and heat in the soil in an effective manner, which contains various benefits such as water-saving, labor-saving, energy conservation, fertilizer-saving and the increase of yields, etc. Thus, smart irrigation has been gradually welcomed and employed by people. However, due to the lack of funds and relevant technologies, it is still necessary for many counterparts in the field to take great efforts to further develop the technology.
2. How to define the smart irrigation system?
The traits of the smart irrigation system
1) high reliability, simple & convenient operation of the irrigation system
3) The system is applicable for a variety of irrigation models (dripping irrigation, sprinkling irrigation, micro-area irrigation and ground irrigation, etc.)
4) Various control connection models: the system is equipped with a lot of control connection models that are able to satisfy distinctive demands (the terrain, the layout, the scale, etc.). Every control device can be connected with the use of wireless and wired ways.
5. Strong system expandability and flexibility, be able to achieve sub-regional, centralized as well as decentralized intelligent control. That is, it is suitable for small-area as well as simple irrigation control. Also, it can be applicable for large-area as well as complicated irrigation network control.
6. The system contains the functions such as data analysis completion and decision-making. The control system has the ability to cope with the data information of sensors and to utilize the sensor or condition input devices as the control conditions of irrigation operation to fulfill intelligent irrigation.
7. The system has the capability to achieve central control, cell phone SMS, on-site remote control and on-site manual control functions.
8. The system can control other equipment apart from the irrigation system including roads, the lighting of public areas, gates, fountains, pumps, etc.
9. Low price (only half the price of imported products), post-maintenance as well as easy & convenient maintenance.
3. How Dose smart irrigation system work
The types of smart irrigation system
A bus-controlled irrigation system means that the entire irrigation system is controlled by a bus control as a measurement and control terminal. In the bus-controlled irrigation system, every measurement and control terminal is also relatively independent, and can independently collect, integrate and judge the water demand information of the gardens, as well as the basic irrigation operations. The water demand information of vegetation is firstly gathered by every measurement and control terminal, and then the information will be transferred to the central computer monitoring system, which will analyze and cope with it to generate the garden irrigation parameters that are used to automatically initiate and adjust the irrigation system for irrigation. What’s more, the system is included with an expert system. The associated professionals can be invited to offer personalized guidance on garden irrigation by combining the data stored in the system with the actual growth of vegetation so as to achieve more scientific, intuitive and efficient as well as more intuitive irrigation. Compared with the wireless remote control, the bus control covers a wider range while the overall investment cost is lower. Therefore, the application value is extremely high.
Wireless Remote Control Irrigation
The wireless remote control irrigation system stands for a system that supports irrigation using the remote terminal units as an information relay station. Specifically speaking, the remote terminal is in charge of gathering information on vegetation fertilizers and water requirements. Then the information will be transferred to the central control system through GSM, the Global System for Mobile Communication. After the analysis of the collected information, a series of automatic irrigation operations will be finished through remote operation. The most vital feature of this kind of irrigation system is the integration of advanced technologies and modern traits, taking full advantage of the GSM network technology. It not only covers a simple structure and few transmission lines but also has a low price in post-maintenance as well as a relatively low overall investment in the system. Thus, it can be widely popularized.
Irrigation using solar power
Using solar power as the initiated energy source, solar power irrigation stands for the utilization of water resources such as streams and groundwater for landscape irrigation. The solar power irrigation system is mainly comprised of a rain detector and a solar panel. The function of the rain detector is to detect rainy weather. If any rainy days are detected, then the system will be automatically shut off. The major role the solar panel plays lies in absorbing solar energy and then converting it into electrical pump power, which provides power for the electric pumps to extract water. The solar power irrigation system extracts water and then transfers it to the storage tank for preservation. Then it will be irrigated by sprinklers in the uphill direction. The irrigation system is mainly applicable for irrigation in remote areas as well as those regions without access to running water.
4. How much does a smart irrigation system cost?
The traditional irrigation water utilization rate remains extremely low, only ranging from 30% to 40%. However, the micro irrigation utilization rate is able to register more than 90% and the water utilization rate has increased by 2.3 times. As a matter of fact, in agricultural planting, the irrigation demand for each mu of land irrigation requires 20 tons. Each ton of water is charged at $0.5 and then the cost per mu of land is 60 yuan. If 4 times a year is needed for irrigation, then the annual cost is $60. However, if intelligent micro irrigation is utilized, the annual cost of around 136 yuan for each mu can be saved. Assuming that your planting area is 50 acres, then you are able to save $1000 per year.
Are you surprised when you do the calculation? The intelligent irrigation system also has a great benefit, which represents that a soil moisture sensor is installed in the field, which is able to achieve real-time monitoring of the soil moisture of agricultural planting by using the smart control functions. If the soil moisture being monitored is below the standard values, the system will automatically open up the irrigation system to water the agricultural planting. When the soil moisture that is monitored comes up to the standard values, the system will correspondingly shut down the irrigation system. The irrigation system will realize automated irrigation only after you have adjusted the standard value of the soil moisture.
As a matter of fact, reasonable irrigation can not only enhance the annual utilization rate of irrigation and save the costs of irrigation but also achieve much more reasonable agricultural planting irrigation through automated control of the irrigation system, which offers irrigation to crops in a timely and effective manner to ensure the growth of crops and boost the quality of crops. At present, the intelligent irrigation system can not only automate irrigation but also automate the control of fertilization. Realizing the docking of cell phones, you will be aware of the real-time situation of the soil moisture and soil nutrient on the cell phone. What’s more, you can direct the irrigation system and fertilization system on the cell phone, which greatly boosts planting efficiency.
5. The strengths of the smart irrigation
(1) water conservation. The smart irrigation system consists of various irrigating methods including dripping as well as sprinkling, which saves 50% more water than traditional irrigation and also enhances the uniformity of irrigation.
(2) The reduction of labor costs. Smart irrigation can realize a reduction of 90% of the labor force. A worker is able to manage the irrigation of dozens of and even a hundred mu of land.
(3) It is easy to integrate water into the fertilizer. Combined with intelligent agricultural systems like water and fertilizer integration systems, meteorological and environmental monitoring systems and soil moisture monitoring systems, the smart irrigation system can support coming up with relevant irrigation strategies according to the requirements of flowers at different growth stages, combining a number of detection parameters.
(4) Centralized irrigation. The communication range between the structural terminal equipment and the smart gateways can be 3 kilometers with the use of LoRa wireless communication technology. A Juying intelligent irrigation system can accommodate 32 sets of control terminals and 32 collection terminals, which are fitting for irrigation demands of various types of small and large areas.
(5) Auto warning. The terminals send the warning notifications and then instantly cope with relevant situations based on the status information set up by the managers such as the collection parameters and the voltage as well as the battery of the devices.
(6) The establishment of the flower irrigation database. The accumulated of all sets of data about the flower planting environment are uploaded for only one minute and then stored to generate an all-rounded and multi-dimensional database of the growth status of flowers. The database can be applicable for the adjustment and research of irrigation strategies.
6. What are the main technologies being applied in smart irrigation?
Personnel is unnecessary for real-time control of intelligent agricultural irrigation. Instead, the system can realize automatic monitoring of environmental parameters such as soil moisture or illumination.
The irrigation can be automatically controlled with the help of the irrigation strategy set on the Juying intelligent agricultural cloud platform which can decide what time and what conditions to open the valves for irrigation, how long to irrigate, to what conditions or how long of irrigation to turn off the valve.
Compared with traditional irrigation methods, the hardware and equipment that are necessary for the smart agriculture irrigation system are all manufactured domestically. The cost is similarly the same while the water is saved obviously more than 50%.
With the composition of sensors, automation control, big data computing, and wireless communication in the Juying intelligent agricultural irrigation system, the irrigation strategies are intelligently monitored and controlled based on plant categories, soil type and moisture as well as the level of sunlight to realize the transforming agriculture pattern from the traditional labor-intensive to technology-intensive.
At the same time, irrigation and fertilization can also be integrated. The water-soluble fertilizers can be transmitted to crops in a precise way according to the nutrient content of the soil and the fertilizer requirement rules and traits of crop species with the help of pressure systems, which provides balanced water and fertilizer, saves time and labor as well as water and fertilizer, control temperature and adjust moisture, enhance yields, mitigate crop diseases, enhance quality improvement and economic benefits.
7. What is the equipment being used in smart irrigation?
Wireless Collection Terminal
The wireless collection terminal refers to the equipment that is utilized to gather the environmental parameters of the irrigated area. LORA collectors which can be applied for soil temperature and moisture, humidity, wind level and direction, liquid level, degree of sunlight, voltage, pressure or flooding, are equipped with batteries with low power consumption operation.
Wireless valve controller
The controller supports the remote turn-on and turn-off of valves, which contains various types of butterfly valves, pulse valves, or ball valves. A suitable pipe diameter such as DN15-DN250 can be selected on the basis of the actual application scenarios.
The smart gateways can be applicable for data transmission of collection terminals. Working with start-stop valve controllers, the gateways can access up to 250 nodes, with automatic address configuration and mutual logical control between the nodes.
The wireless collection terminal detects and transmits the soil temperature and moisture data to the controller, which enters the control terminal and processes the signals sent by the wireless collection terminal (e.g. conversion, filtering, amplification) and then convert them. When the measured moisture is lower than the pre-setting value, the wireless valve controller is turned on and then irrigation starts. Likewise, when the moisture is at the set value, the valve controller automatically turns off the irrigation. With the coordination of the smart irrigation system, intelligent control of irrigation can be fulfilled, thus effectively boosting automated production efficiency, reducing labor and management costs as well as significantly boosting efficiency.
8. The application cases of the smart irrigation
Dripping irrigation means that water and nutrients required for crop growth are delivered directly to the soil surface or the soil near the roots of the crop at a small flow rate in an even and accurate manner through the low-pressure pipeline system equipped with a special irrigator based on the crop’s requirement for water. Dripping irrigation can be mixed with fertilization and utilize the fertilizer applicator to apply soluble fertilizers with water to the root zones of the crops in order to timely replenish the water and nutrients that are necessary for the crops, thus enhancing crop yields. The main equipment includes a dripping pipe of irrigation, dripping head, filter, fertilizer application devices, pipe connection props, and control and measurement devices. The strengths contain that dripping irrigation saves water by 33%, conserving 33% more water than sprinkler irrigation and 81.6% more water than border irrigation. Compared with flood irrigation, dripping irrigation can enhance crop yields by 30%. What’s more, the dripping irrigation features water-saving, energy-saving, and labor-saving. Also, the soil is not easy to plate and weed growth is inhibited, as well as fertilization and watering can be finished at one time using the irrigation system.
This drawback is prone to blockage, which results in salt accumulation and root growth limitation.
Spraying is one way of irrigation in which pressurized water is sprayed into the air through a pipe with a nozzle, forming droplets and sprinkling them onto the farmland. This irrigation area not only saves around 40% more water than traditional ground irrigation but also has the strengths of soil, water and fertilizer conservation as well as labor-saving and the improvement of the microclimate of farmland.
Meanwhile, the use of mobile pointer-type water-saving sprinkler irrigation and water-saving equipment can better boost the utilization of water resources.
Micro-sprinkler is a low-pressure pipe system that sprays a small amount of water to the soil surface. There are two types of micro-sprinkler systems: fixed and mobile sprinklers. It is a water-saving irrigation technology between sprinklers and dripping irrigation, which requires less water pressure, high atomization, uniform spraying and less water. What’s more, water droplets are not as easy to be clogged as drip irrigation, but less water is discharged.
Under-membrane irrigation is a technique of dripping irrigation which is under the membrane for irrigation. This technique features simple equipment, easy installation, easy use, and water and labor-saving, and not easy to be slabbed for the sol. Common gravel concrete pipes and plastic pipes are used as percolation pipes with certain pore space in the pipe wall to let water seep into the soil. Compared with ground irrigation, it consumes less water. However, it is slow down growth because of high cost, easily clogged and difficult maintenance.
Infiltration is one kind of porous tube or microporous pipe with small holes buried below the ground surface to let irrigation penetrate into the soil in a slow and even way as well as make the soil wet by the action of capillary force. The technique has the traits of water saving, energy saving, easily mid-tillage, soil structure protection, as well as weeds, diseases and insect prevention.
9. The solutions for the smart irrigation
The smart water conservation irrigation system solutions take up with advanced information technologies such as the Internet of Things, the mobile Internet and cloud computing as well as highly precise environmental data collection equipment (intelligent weather station). Wireless data centers and smart controllers achieve smart decision-making of agricultural irrigation with water and remote or automatic control of irrigation devices. What’s more, it integrates video monitoring equipment, real-time status monitoring for irrigation areas, irrigation abnormal status warning and pipeline pressure monitoring, which can effectively tackle the issues of a wide distribution of farmland, multiple monitoring points, wiring and power supply difficulties in agricultural and forestry mountainous regions so as to realize the intelligence and automation of agricultural and forestry production.
The composition of the smart irrigation system
The system is comprised of hardware devices such as an intelligent weather station, wireless intelligent gateways, intelligent irrigation controller, pump controller, control solenoid valves, camera, etc. All of these devices are applicable for soil temperature, humidity, air temperature, moisture, wind speed, wind direction, CO2, rainfall, lighting, soil Ph value, soil salinity monitoring, etc. And it is also composed of system management software such as PC and mobile applications.
The system collects three layers of soil moisture data through a smart irrigation controller. Based on the data analysis and decision-making, it intelligently controls the valve switches in the area to realize on-demand irrigation. What’s more, users can set up the upper and lower limits of soil temperature and moisture in the area. When the soil temperature and humidity are below the set lower limits, the valve will automatically be turned on regardless of whether the irrigation program is set or not. When the soil humidity exceeds the set upper limits, the valve will automatically be turned off no matter whether the valve performs the irrigation program or not. At the same time, every valve can set the irrigation programs independently without affecting each other. What’s more, every valve sets the irrigation cycle time and controls the start-close of the valve, which is easy to realize cycle and automatic irrigation.
The system realizes real-time monitoring of data such as pipeline pressure, the flow rate of every valve, the opening time of every valve, soil moisture in every area and system power consumption and then displays it remotely through a mobile application. If the malfunction occurs, an alert message is transferred to notify the management to take appropriate measures. What’s more, the system can be externally connected to smart weather stations and video surveillance equipment to maximize the integrity of environmental data collection and provide a scientific basis for the decision-making of intelligent irrigation.
The benefits of the smart irrigation system
1. Remote wireless data transmission with a transmission distance of 5 km.
2. The single control system can cover 50,000 acres. Less investment, more harvest!
3. The system is solar-powered wireless control, which indeed achieves a minute deployment! Plug and play!
4. Achieve on-demand watering automatically and intelligently. Truly unattended!