Why Trust is the Key to Delivering on the Promise of Irrigation Automation
For irrigation automation to live up to its promise, growers must be able to trust their system.
If they can’t, then they have to send someone to check on all their irrigations anyway. And at that point, they might as well be opening and closing the valves too. Almost nothing is gained and all you’re really left with is an overpriced, glorified timer system.
Let’s talk about why growers haven’t been able to trust their automation systems in the past, and what’s actually required to build the trust necessary to reap the gains automation can and should provide.
Why Growers Haven’t Been Able to Trust Their Irrigation Automation Systems in the Past
The problem with many past attempts at automating irrigation is that the systems only had the ability to communicate one way.
This would typically be done with an irrigation controller, an expensive piece of hardware placed in the field that receives instructions from software remotely. Controllers tend to have 4-8 ports to allow for a hardwired connection to solenoid valves, which then receive electronic signals to open and close on command.
The problem is that no information flows in the opposite direction. You don’t know how much water has been delivered to each block. You have no way of knowing whether there are any leaks or clogs in your lines, or if you’re having an issue with your pump. In fact, you don’t even know whether the valves successfully opened and closed.
With this setup, crops could receive way too much, way too little, or no water at all, and the only way for you to know what happened for sure is to send someone to check or to make the trip yourself.
Old systems left you in the dark. It’s hard, if not impossible, to trust a system like that because there's no accountability. There’s no way for you to know what you need to know to have peace of mind.
It’s like Ronald Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.”
For growers to be able to trust their irrigation systems, they need to be able to easily verify the amount of water that’s actually flowing.
That’s where Lumo is different from previous automation solutions. Through a built-in flow sensor and wireless mesh connectivity, Lumo One valves are able to measure water flow in real-time and send that information to your smartphone or computer.
Without leaving your home or office or the seat of your truck, you can tell which valves are open at all times and exactly how much water is flowing through them. After an irrigation run, you can see exactly how much water each vine received. If there’s a sudden drop in flow rate, you receive a notification. If there’s an obvious leak, you can close the valve immediately.
You’re no longer in the dark. You can see what’s happening, as it’s happening, without ever going on site.
Why Trust Leads to Savings
The ability to verify what’s happening, as it’s happening, changes the irrigation game.
You no longer have to waste countless hours of your team’s time walking through vineyards to check lines, look for leaks, and gauge how much water is actually being delivered. Saving that time and effort at a time when good help is hard to find is huge.
You save water by finding problems automatically, far earlier than you ever could with manual checks, and because you’re able to trust the system, you can finally irrigate at night, which means less water lost to evaporation.
Finally, because you’re now able to verify the exact amount of water being delivered, there’s no longer any guesswork required. You can irrigate with greater precision, better control your inputs, save even more time, and produce a higher-quality crop while you’re at it.
Delivering on the Promises of the Past
Past attempts to automate have fallen short and failed to deliver because they didn’t provide a way for growers to easily verify what was happening with their irrigation system.
Without easy verification, there is no trust. And with no trust, the promised savings disappear.
The key is two-way communication and constant monitoring to detect faults. That’s what Lumo hardware and software are designed to do. Lumo One is a complete solution that you can finally trust because it will tell you when there’s a problem that requires your attention. Accountability is built-in.
That’s how you provide peace of mind and deliver on the promise of irrigation automation to save growers like you time, money and water.