According to the Arizona Department of Water Resources, Arizona uses 69% of its fresh water resources for agriculture. This number has been greatly reduced from long-ago measures of 90%, due mostly to the transition of agricultural lands to urban spaces in the last 30 years. As the population grows in Arizona, and as fresh water reservoir levels drop as a result of this challenging drought, new research is working towards using our water resources more efficiently.
With irrigation components design by Zach Temple, PE of Lloyd Civil & Sports Engineering, the University of Arizona Maricopa Agricultural Center is currently installing the largest gantry rail mounted sensor array of its type in the world. This field-based, high-throughput phenotyping system will monitor a crop test plot that is 675 feet long by 85 feet wide.
Working with Pedro Andrade-Sanchez, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Precision Agriculture Specialist at the University of Arizona, Zach Temple, PE of Lloyd Civil & Sports Engineering has provided plans for an irrigation system that includes both drip and overhead sprinkler irrigation to the planting area. Utilizing a gravity feed water source, a Munro Systems irrigation booster pump will feed the irrigation mainline. Drip irrigation will be utilized for the majority of the growing season, but overhead sprinkler irrigation is provided during seed germination. The system utilizes a Baseline 3200 model controller with soil moister sensors and Wi-Fi capabilities. This type of controller allows the university to remote monitor and control the irrigation system from any internet connected device. The irrigation system installation is scheduled for completion in early March, 2016.
In today's water strapped conditions of the Southwest, this project provides a unique opportunity for research in precision agriculture, and Lloyd Civil & Sports Engineering is proud to be contributing to this effort.
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Cals.arizona.edu,. "Pedro Andrade | ABE". N.p., 2016. Web. 16 Feb. 2016.
Cals-mac.arizona.edu,. "Precision Agriculture | Maricopa Agricultural Center". N.p., 2016. Web. 16 Feb. 2016.