O’Neal says he actually saves more on fertilizer than water, since the system prevents overwatering, which can leach nutrients below the plant root zone.
He’s especially pleased that the data is accessible via the Internet. On a recent vacation, he was able to check to see that pumps were running and monitor the moisture content of fields, even though he was outside the country.
Eventually, sensor-based drip irrigation will be the norm, Miller says he believes. “In the future, we as growers are going to have to account for our irrigation a little bit more rigorously and have a little bit more scientific justification for how we apply our water, when we apply it, how long we apply it,” he says. “Down the road, this will be very necessary.”