Irrigation Tech & Water Sustainability

Bennett Fitzgibbon

Bennett Fitzgibbon

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Pros and Cons of Drip Irrigation Timers

man operating drip irrigation timer

We’ve seen some pretty impressive agricultural tech in the last few decades. Technologies like dairy hubs help farmers and growers cut back on production costs, and fertilizer deep placement minimizes fertilizer use while multiplying yields.

For farmers short on space, high-roofed greenhouses come in handy because they allow them to grow taller plants than tomatoes and strawberries. And there’s no overstating how useful farm managementming monitoring software is in educating farmers, helping diagnose plant and livestock diseases, and improving production.

Additionally, drip irrigation –although one of the oldest techs –prevents water wastage and topsoil erosion and enables proper fertilizer application to preserve soil quality.

How Drip Irrigation Helps Growers 

Drip irrigation has 90% efficiency in crop irrigation compared to 75 to 85% of sprinkler irrigation. 

This method occurs at the ground level, greatly decreasing moisture loss through evaporation and preventing water runoff, two prime problems with other irrigation methods.

Drip irrigation lines are covered with an end cap, which allows the water flow to form pressure and flow through drip emitters irrigating every plant.

This low-pressure irrigation technique saves more water and energy than is possible with sprinklers and other high-pressure methods. Combining drip irrigation with injector systems gives growers a chance to use fewer fertilizers and pest control chemicals by making the most of the precision level of drip irrigation. The introduction of timers helps farmers to control how the irrigation occurs.

Pros of Drip Irrigation Timers 

A drip irrigation timer is a battery-powered and weatherproof device that connects to a water supply. One timer typically operates one watering area or drip line, but some models can water several regions. Some large systems may incorporate a timer connected to a valve or valves. 

Depending on the features, some timers can be set to water at a recurring time or day and manage how long the watering takes. For example, water on Mondays from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. 

Other timers enable farmers to override the automated actions to allow manual turning off and on of water. If your timer comes with a rain sensor, your irrigation stops working until the rain is done. There are clear pros drawn from using timers:

  • Conserving water
  • Controlling how much water goes into the plants
  • Scheduling watering sessions according to a convenient schedule
  • Preventing the danger of forgetting to irrigate and damaging the crops

In one statement, you can call drip irrigation timers a convenient solution for the modern grower. 

The Cons of Drip Irrigation Timers

However, there are several cons to relying on drip irrigation timers. Firstly, the programming process can be complex based on the watering schedule you want to set. For instance, it’s much easier to set the timer to run the system daily for 2 hours than to alternate between days and only water for 4 hours.

Secondly, you’d need to comprehensively understand your crops’ watering needs before buying a timer. A timer just follows your orders. If you’re wrong, it does little to help you water your crops as you should. 

Picture these issues too: A tiny mistake such as inputting shut-off time as 3 pm instead of 3 am makes up for a soggy or under-watered block. Or, it’s easy to add multiple start times, thinking each zone needs a different start and stop time. Your date figures have to be accurate too. If you fill in the wrong date, the timer does what you don’t want. 

Lastly, your timer still requires time to set. Assume you had a vineyard with 10 valves/blocks. Traditional irrigation timers need you to set each timer every day manually. Plus, you have to hope that they work, that there are no errors with your drip line, and the timers will turn on and off as scheduled. 

Why you Need Smart Irrigation Technology

With dwindling freshwater resources and the effects of climate change, the best you can do for our planet and your farming needs is to use technology built with modern irrigation needs in mind. 

Lumo is a smart irrigation system built to improve irrigation efficiency. Here’s what you stand to gain with Lumo:  

Automation

Lumo’s smart water valves are connected to the internet, enabling you to control your irrigation valves remotely. This fact saves you the significant time you’d spend traveling back and forth to your ranch or vineyard to set timers manually. 

You don’t need to pair these valves with pricey controllers either. Each valve operatres independently without needing to connect to a central hub (aka controller). 

They also feature built-in sensors so you can confirm that the water is flowing and whether the system is operational.  

Precision

Control irrigation down to the block, sub-block, or row level. Plus, you don’t need to work with one valve. Lumo can accommodate as many valves as necessary to ensure your water is distributed evenly across your fields. These smart valves have a straightforward plug-and-play design that fits any drip irrigation system.

Data Insights

Lumo comes with wireless internet connectivity, making it easy to receive and access data from a reliable cloud network. More than that, the valves feature built-in flow meters to validate planned versus actual water usage. 

They provide real-time data that helps you to measure how much water you use for each vine or block and detect problems in the systems, such as leaks and obstructions, without requiring you to be on-site.

Energy Conservation

Lumo valves run on solar-charged lithium batteries. You never have to think about regular battery replacement or your system shutting off in the middle of a season when the battery runs out. 

The off-grid energy source also means they don’t depend on grid energy, eliminating the chances that power outages could affect your system. And, you get 99.99% uptime.

In other words, Lumo was built to ensure you control irrigation in ways that really matter. That way, you can spend less time watching and setting timers, grow your yields, and increase profitability with better predictability. 

To learn how to work smarter with Lumo, contact us here or email us at [email protected] 

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