Plant to Farmer: “Water me!”

A new monitoring system allows plants to text farmers when thirsty

Water Me, Seymour!

Everett Collection/ Sean Dreilinger

Just in time for this year's growing season, farmers have new equipment to help keep tabs on their crops while away. With SmartCrop, a system developed by Accent Engineering, farmers get text messages when their plants need water. The system uses infrared thermometers to measure leaf temperature and data is then transferred to a computerized base station. A cellphone modem hooked up to the base station allows farmers to receive SMS alerts when their plants are too hot. Research has shown that each plant species has a range of temperatures that is best for its growth. High temperatures mean plants are experiencing heat stress and need to be watered to cool off.

With a base price of $1,200, the system promises farmers an inexpensive and easy way to help determine irrigation schedules for their props. SmartCrop can simplify the data to the most basic level: Irrigate or Don't Irrigate.

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