Continuous Improvement via Step-by-Step Innovation

Written by Rob Guy

“Most innovation involves doing the things we do every day a little bit better rather than creating something completely new and different.”

Introduction

The inclusion of IrriMAX Live onto the Galileo Cloud and GSI Pro platforms has created a single-view user interface. For users of a combined Sentek and Galcon monitoring and control system, this has resulted in the development of a continuously improving feedback loop.

Irrigation and fertigation schedules are programmed into either the Galileo Cloud or GSI Pro based on current best practice for the design and crop. Sentek probes and IrriMAX software provide insights gained by measuring and analysing continuous soil water, salinity and temperature data. This information is then translated into programming “tweaks” with respect to how much, how and when to apply water and fertiliser.

Fertiliser Insights

Leading agronomists are increasingly making use of multiple probes installed in arrays around the plant. These arrays give a multi-dimensional view of soil water, temperature and salinity dynamics. Frequent improvements are realised through continuous small changes in inter alia. Tillage, pulsing, dosage rates and frequency, reducing leaching and managing salinity. In the example, the 2D visuals illustrate clearly how excess fertiliser is accumulating at the fringes of the root zone. A practical first could be a lower runtime duration or a longer cycle in scheduling depending on the practicalities of the operation.

A note on using the VIC (TriSCAN salt) readings to get insights, is the importance of filtering the data, particularly in heavier soils. While the calculations separating the frequencies can allow for differences in moisture to a degree, good science would always compare EC type readings at the same moisture content. IrriMAX Live has built-in functionality to do this. Refined management of salinity accumulation and fertiliser dosages are increasing guided by the resultant understanding of the soil water and salinity dynamics in this case guiding the confinement of topdressing to the top 10cm of soil.

Water Management Optimisation

Marcelo Tregerman and his family farm organic bananas in the south of Israel. Economically and environmentally responsible and sustainable use of water and nutrient inputs are vital to the viability of their operation. The screenshots below of the Galileo dashboard show how the views are customised to match the requirements of their operation.

Irrigating Bananas in southern Israel sandy soil involves applying large amounts of water every day during the warm period. Yet, we need to apply the water in the correct amount when the plant needs it else, we’ll be leeching the water & fertilisers from the root zone (banana root zone is very shallow). Using the Sentek probe and the analysis supreme abilities of IrriMAX Live platform we’re able to learn when & how much (quantity & frequency) to irrigate leveraging our yield and quality.

The final quote below summarises the approach of the best irrigators and growers Sentek and Galcon have the privilege of serving through our dealer networks.

“Innovation is more likely to come from a person who sits down and does the same thing every single day until they become an expert than from a person who sits down once because they feel inspired.“

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