STREGA LoRaWAN irrigation valve actuators in an agricultural application
“…water savings of up to 30% thanks to LoRaWAN technology”…
Graaf-Reinet, South Africa, April 9th, 2021. Water is scarce yet a vital resource for farmers in South Africa. Efficient use of water is therefore essential to increase productivity with this limited resource. A South African macadamia nut farm situated in a remote area on the banks of the Orange River had been looking for a solution to automate irrigation based on sensor data received from soil moisture probes.
The existing irrigation system was time based whereby the various blocks would simply be irrigated for a fixed 12 hours period regardless of the soil properties and existing moisture content in the various irrigation blocks. South African systems integrator, Tretower Telematics, was approached to conduct a trial using LoRaWAN, soil moisture probes and Strega valve actuators. The idea was to irrigate the various blocks until a predefined soil moisture threshold was met. This concept ensured that sufficient water was put down for the orchard, but no water was wasted by over irrigation. The trial proved to be a great success with water saving improvements of over 30%.
Different soils have different properties, for example, clay soils will retain water for much longer periods compared to sandy soils. Irrigation regimes should therefore take into account the properties of the soils as over or under irrigation is likely. Soil moisture probes are a useful tool to determine the water carrying capacity of soils.
The irrigation cycle commences with a manual command to open the valve and irrigate the orchard. As the soil starts absorbing water, the soil moisture probe responds with increases in moisture as expected. Once a preset threshold is reached, an automatic downlink is sent to the STREGA valve actuator to close the valve.
TRETOWER analysis shows automatic closing of the irrigation valve based on soil moisture level threshold
The STREGA valve actuator performs extreme range wireless control of the irrigation valve.
By automating the irrigation cycle based on soil moisture data, Tretower was able to demonstrate a water saving of up to 30%. This represents a huge efficiency improvement for the farmer who can now invest in developing further orchards using the same amount of available water.
Tretower Telematics is a South-African company located in Graaff-Reinet with strong expertise in advanced LoRaWAN irrigation solutions. “Tretower” is a sensor control solution that provides real-time visibility into the operating status of motors, pumps, valves, flow rate and other parameters of your irrigation and energy management system.
STREGA is a Belgian company manufacturing LoRaWAN hardware solutions for the irrigation and smart-metering market. STREGA is an active member of the LoRa Alliance® Organization (https://lora-alliance.org/)