Smart sprinkling machine to appear in Russia
Samara University scientists have developed a unique control system for the smart sprinkling machine. With this system, the mobile ameliorative complex can independently analyze the state of the soil while moving across the field. It evaluates the soil humidity and the volume of fertilizers required. Based on the received data, the sprinkling machine regulates the intensity of watering and fertilizer application.
There is another technology for determining the soil humidity on the market which analyzes hyperspectral images in the short-wave infrared band. However, due to the high cost of matrices, this technology is installed only on satellites, as installing it on the ground devices is economically unreasonable. Thus, it’s impossible to operatively receive the data.
Scientists suggested installing a compact hyperspectrometer, developed at the university, directly on the sprinkling machine. And instead of expensive matrices for a short-wave infrared band, they proposed to use ordinary CCD matrices (photosensitive matrice for visible light). An optical scheme with a telescope and a complex diffraction grid gives a hyperspectral image of the area with 20-40 spectral layers. One control system will cost about 20 thousand rubles (approximately $290).
By the end of the 1990s, the production of the domestic sprinkling machines stopped. Farmers have begun to purchase import equipment. However, foreign watering technologies often don’t correspond to the climate of the irrigated zones of Russia. Experts note the irregularity of the soil moisture after watering.
With subsequent watering, the irregularity in the soil moisture increases. This leads to the yield decrease, which can reach 25-30% of the average field yield. Therefore, farmers need irrigation technology that allows them to monitor and distribute moisture in real-time. Besides, the possibility of “targeted delivery” of mineral fertilizers would be very useful.