Hummingbird Launches High-tech Irrigation Tool

Published online: Nov 26, 2018 Irrigation, New Products
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Source: Potato News Today 

Hummingbird, an award-winning artificial intelligence company based in the UK, is launching a new irrigation scheduling product in Australia. Hummingbird analyzes imagery captured by satellites, planes, drones and robots to help farmers identify problems in their crops earlier and assist them with input optimization.

Launched in 2015 and servicing hundreds of arable customers across nearly 618,000 acres in the UK, Brazil, Russia and Ukraine, Hummingbird recently appointed Zack Hartshorne as its head of Australia and New Zealand. Hartshorne has been farming potatoes for over 10 years, managing one of Australia’s largest potato and onion farms.

Hummingbird’s irrigation tool was designed based on the three key factors determine a crop’s water requirement: weather, crop leaf area and soil type.

A field is divided into grids, and the available water capacity of the soil in each grid is understood. Crop canopy cover is measured in each grid using remote sensing. The higher the percentage canopy cover, the more water the crop will transpire. Local weather data is integrated into the model. An optimal irrigation schedule is then produced for each grid area, accounting for all key variables in the crops water requirement.

Variable scheduling irrigation ensures that no area of the crop is limited by insufficient water, whilst areas of heavier soil, or with lower levels of crop canopy, are not over-watered.

The product immediately integrates directly with existing variable rate irrigation equipment on the farm. Hummingbird says its product will help farmers save money on irrigation as well as improve crop performance through fewer instances of over or under-watering.