Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Horticulture: Sensor-based irrigation systems show potential to increase greenhouse profitability

Date:
February 25, 2014
Source:
American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
Using data from experiments on gardenia production, researchers determined and applied benefits/costs formulas for assessing profitability of sensor-based irrigation systems. Results showed that sensor-controlled irrigation cut production time and crop losses by more than half. The researchers concluded that controlling irrigation using wireless sensor systems is likely to substantially increase profitability in greenhouse and nursery growing operations.

Wireless sensor-based irrigation systems can offer significant benefits to greenhouse operators. Advances in sensor technology and increased understanding of plant physiology have made it possible for greenhouse growers to use water content sensors to accurately determine irrigation timing and application rates in soilless substrates. The wireless sensor systems provide more accurate measurements of substrate moisture than qualitative methods, and can save irrigation water, labor, energy, and fertilizer.

The authors of a report published in HortTechnology said that the use of sensor-based irrigation technology can also accelerate container and greenhouse plant production time.

Erik Lichtenberg, John Majsztrik and Monica Saavoss reported on a study they designed to determine an optimal formula for ascertaining the true profitability of precision irrigation systems. "Sensor-based irrigation systems substitute capital for water and associated inputs such as energy, labor, and fertilizer," the authors explained. "When benefits and costs accrue at different points in time, calculating profit--or, indeed, comparing them in any way--requires putting benefits and costs on a common time footing."

The researchers designed a methodology for calculating profitability taking differences in timing into account, and then applied the methodology to data from gardenia production in a Georgia nursery. "The most convenient method (of calculating profitability) is converting all revenues and costs to constant periodic payments; e.g., annualizing them," they explained. "We began by discounting all revenues and costs to convert them to their present values. We then calculated the present value of profit, which we converted to a constant annual payment (or loss). Finally, we calculated profit (or loss) per unit area to permit scaling up or down."

The scientists found that controlling irrigation using data from moisture sensors led to substantial reductions in both production time and crop losses. "The weighted average time from planting to sale was over one-third lower, while crop losses were reduced by 50%," the authors noted.

Calculations showed that annualized profit under the wireless sensor system was over 1.5 times more than under the nursery's standard practice, and that most of the increase in profit was attributed to a reduction in production time.

Lichtenberg, Majsztrik and Saavoss concluded that, even if efficiency gains are not as high as those in the study, controlling irrigation using wireless sensor systems is likely to increase profitability substantially. They added that wireless sensor systems can have environmental benefits as well as the economic benefits shown in the study. "The design and conduct of the experiments used in our analysis prevented us from estimating potential environmental benefits, but this technology clearly has promise as a win-win combination of economic and environmental improvements," they said.

The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortTechnology electronic journal web site: http://horttech.ashspublications.org/content/23/6/770.abstract


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Erik Lichtenberg, John Majsztrik And Monica Saavoss. Profitability of Sensor-based Irrigation in Greenhouse and Nursery Crops. HortTechnology, December 2013

Cite This Page:

American Society for Horticultural Science. "Horticulture: Sensor-based irrigation systems show potential to increase greenhouse profitability." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140225122418.htm>.
American Society for Horticultural Science. (2014, February 25). Horticulture: Sensor-based irrigation systems show potential to increase greenhouse profitability. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140225122418.htm
American Society for Horticultural Science. "Horticulture: Sensor-based irrigation systems show potential to increase greenhouse profitability." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140225122418.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins