Complex Irrigation System for a Multi-crop Farm

Location

Western Cape, South Africa

Crops

Cuttings

Completion date

Phase 1 December 2022 Phase 2 July 2023 Phase 3 to 5 on going

Size

38 Hectare intensive farm

Scope

Take full control of the irrigation and fertigation systems

The Challenge

Our client made substantial investments into irrigation and fertigation system for their farm. However, as the farm expanded, they encountered challenges through the continuous addition of basic controllers resulting in a complex web of thirteen standard twenty four channel control units. This intricate setup made it difficult to track which irrigation processes were active at any given time and how to optimally utilize the available pumps for the irrigation systems. It often resulted in under watering, not being able to navigate what was supposed to operate when, especially when load shedding struck!

Additionally, the smaller controllers lacked the capability for environmental feedback. Consequently, the farmers found themselves in a perpetual cycle of manually inspecting moisture levels to understand the plants’ needs. In search of a more streamlined solution, the customer sought ways to consolidate control, enhance environmental monitoring, and achieve efficient irrigation management.

The Solution

  • AgriLogiq supplied, fitted, and integrated one of their irrigation Zone Controllers to take control of the current setup of the farm.
  • The control system connected directly into the radio system allowing the farmer to utilise his current investment.
  • The controller comes with a 15-inch touch screen, making it easy and user friendly for all types of farm workers, to interact and navigate the system.
  • All AgriLogiq controllers are standard offline first, with a digital twin in the cloud, making the connection proof and able to operate without linkage to the cloud.
  • The controller allowed the addition of multiple pumps, multiple pressure sensors and multiple flow meters.
  • The controller allowed the fertiliser pump to run simultaneously to the valve that ran in the programme.
  • The basic irrigation module also allowed the fertiliser pump to run simultaneously to the valve that ran in the programme.
  • Coupling the irrigation zone controller with AgriLogiq’s in field sensing nodes, the farmer was able to add soil moisture and pH and EC probes into various zones, allowing a live feed and tracking of that field.

Results

It was easy to see the results when all systems were running. The controller was easy to navigate, easy to understand schedule conflicts, easy to see what was being watered on what day, and clearly provided errors for pressure loss when pumps were being over-utilized.

The implementation included multiple filter backflush sequences, filter load balancing, and tailored water schemes for specific zones and areas. Additionally, the controller, linked to the cloud, ensured online historical recording of pressures, flows, and valve data.

This comprehensive approach facilitated efficient monitoring and maintenance, ensuring optimal performance across their agricultural systems.

Location

Western Cape, South Africa

Crops

Multi-crop / Floriculture

Completion date

Phase 1 December 2022 Phase 2 July 2023 Phase 3 to 5 on going

Size

38 Hectare intensive farm

Scope

Take full control of the irrigation and fertigation systems

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pH & EC

Definition: pH is the measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution, while EC, or Electrical Conductivity, is the measure of a solution’s ability to conduct an electrical current.

Use case: In agriculture, the pH level of soil is a critical factor that influences nutrient availability, plant growth, and overall plant health, while the EC level can be used to measure the salinity of the soil, thereby determining the concentration of nutrients in the soil. The ability to measure soil pH and EC allows for adjustments to be made to provide optimal growing conditions for plants.

Pumps

Definition: A device used to move fluids.

Use case: Pumps are typically used in irrigation systems to move water from a reservoir to the plants through a system of pipes. It can also be used to move water through a wet wall to cool the air in a greenhouse.