Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014: A Year In Review

On the occasion of the final week of 2014, it’s only fitting that we should take a look back at the past year’s work. Here then is a reflection on some of the more notable events and how they may or may not portend things to come – entirely from my perspective.
A blog is born
The year began auspiciously enough with the initiation of this irriGator blog. On orders of "do the same thing you’ve been doing, but differently," I packed up my wares from my previous writing home in the interweb’s lost recesses and set about writing/editing here. 
Design notwithstanding, this blog has developed considerably this year. We featured one notable guest author (fresh from a national victory) and slowly began integrating entries summarizing recently published research pertaining to irrigation and water conservation (the latter's popularity exemplifying the utility of the blog format). Expect more of this in 2015 as we feature more guest authors, more research, and the thrilling conclusion of the soil moisture sensor “water-saving” saga.
The Unit turns 1
One notable event in 2014 was the Landscape Unit research site celebrating one year in operation. We marked the occasion over the summer by adding a final flourish to the site: warm-season turfgrass. 

St. Augustine, centipede, zoysia and bahia were added – the latter species as demonstration, and St. Augustine as a critical part of the research plots comparing Florida-Friendly (FFL) and traditional landscape designs.
Click here to view some of my field images…and see ongoing Landscape Unit research data.
While one project was just getting started, another study we endearingly referred to as the “strawberry project” came to a close following three years of winter plantings and frost protection irrigation work. 
The wet, wild winter that spanned Jan./Feb. made for some sloppy harvest days and constant battles with fungus and pests. Nevertheless, the research did generate some insight as to how lowering spray head pressures can reduce water-use without affecting fruit yield.
Roll camera
In addition to the blog, the irriGator project’s video arm also picked up steam in 2014. We produced 13 videos on water-use topics as wide-ranging as soil-water retention curves, methods for using ET in Ag irrigation and, as a matter of fact, why do we even irrigate?
The latter production coincided with this year’s Water Institute Symposium at UF and provided a perfect opportunity to approach disparate experts and capture their insight into why we irrigate. 
What motivates irrigation according to author/journalist Cynthia Barnett? Watch the video and find out! 
One video, about the parts that comprise a typical residential irrigation system, stood out from all the others this year when it was selected by water blogger Alan Harris for his annual Labor Day Tribute to water management workers nationwide.
Meanwhile, in Miami…
In addition to my irriGator hat, I also continue producing visual media for Miami-Dade’s Urban Conservation Unit (UCU). 2014 started off with a bang for us with a video about industry certification that was shared by peers from coast-to-coast. Why certification? When you evaluate irrigation systems (and new system installs) daily, you gain an appreciation for craftsmanship. Industry certification helps set a standard in quality while also bringing the lazy and/or ill-equipped in our industry into stark relief.  
Some intriguing video topics fell into our lap this year. Our tree-planting allies at Citizens for a Better South Florida began work on a project to revive a 20s era underground cistern on their property and we were happy to chronicle this effort over two chapters (1 and 2). In 2015 we hope to capture the culmination of lots of work when the cistern goes online to help water their demonstration FFL garden.
And on other occasions we used context to our advantage. Such was the case in April when all of Miami celebrates National Poetry Month and we gathered some area friends and put image to verse to join the festivities.

Considering all our shorts and micro-shorts, we produced 15 videos this year. In the final weeks of December, we began photography on two new productions. 2015 here we come!

#futurevideo: a community garden in Florida City, FL.
To tweet, perchance to dream
I also had the opportunity to attend the irrigation industry’s biggest conferences this fall: WaterSmart Innovations and the Irrigation Show and Education Conference. These conferences provide great opportunities to revisit with colleagues, stay updated on new developments in research and technology and tweet up a storm. And tweet I did.
Notable moment: Dr. Michael Dukes accepts the Irrigation Foundation's Excellence in Education Award in Phoenix, AZ.

In fact, this year my social media experience opened several new doors. I was invited by the Graduate Student Professional Development Committee in our department (Ag and Bio Engineering) to present on the effective use of social media. And as fall semester came to a close the committee invited me back to organize a workshop on video editing.
Always add a QR code for good measure
Both of these topics are increasingly relevant in our mobile, social world where one's professional presence and accessibility needs to extend from the physical to the digital. UF/IFAS is certainly embracing this reality. One 2015 event we're already planning for is an in-service training for Extension Agents exploring both social media and mobile apps and how facility with these tools can complement a program’s outreach and public profile.
2015? Let's get it
At the same time we continue using every venue and opportunity within our reach to get the message out about water-use efficiency and conservation. To that end, look for the UCU next month on national twitter discussion #landscapechat

We’ve been invited to highlight all the good work Miami-Dade and UF/IFAS are doing to help everyone save water and make informed decisions when managing their landscape.

About the author: 
Michael Gutierrez is a water resources 
technician with UF/IFAS in the Ag & Bio 
Engineering Dept. He tweets, blogs and 
also shoots still and video media in South 
Florida, Gainesville and anywhere else a 
camera is handy. (image: Michael Dukes)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Extension Programs in a Mobile and Social World

In January, the Orange County Extension Office will host “Water Conservation On-the-Go,” an in-service training (IST) for UF/IFAS Extension Agents. Attendees will learn to use mobile apps for irrigation and then get familiar with how social media can enhance Extension program outreach.

Get in on the action! Courtesy: Media Bistro

The interweb never sleeps
As an Extension Agent, what’s the advantage of putting yourself or your program on social media? Well, your client-base, peers, academic institution, and industry partners are all on social media. So why not you and your expert insight?

Who remembers #IFASDay 2013? 

A digital presence can only enhance your program's accessibility and profile, as well as that of any promotional or educational content you generate. Even if you find your clients are mostly face-to-face or phone people, a well-managed social media presence makes you and your program available to the wider world 24/7, 365, with minimal demand on your time. This IST will train on the Twitter platform and set-up accounts for attendees.

There’s an app for that
With the prevalence of smart phones, tablets and phablets, most everyone is obtaining their information immediately, wirelessly and via touchscreen. UF/IFAS is meeting this trend head-on with a bevy of mobile apps on a variety of research topics.

Get to know a host of UF/IFAS mobile apps

Mobile apps combine the latest technology with years of research and data to engage new and existing audiences in an accessible way. This IST will introduce and train on a gardening app, a weather app for use in agriculture and a smart irrigation app for turf.

You are invited
The “Water Conservation On-the-Go” in-service training takes place: 
Twitter accounts will be set-up for interested attendees, so bring your favorite head shots or program/field images on a USB drive for use in account design. 
 For additional information contact: Jennifer Pelham or Kati Migliaccio.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Make it work: Methodologies for successfully implementing smart irrigation controllers

Encouraging the use of smart technologies for residential landscapes has become a popular trend in water conservation and rebate programs by water utilities and agencies looking for ways to decrease waste due to inefficient irrigation.  Generally, these technologies can be separated into two categories (Figure 1):
  •  evapotranspiration-based irrigation controllers (ET) The ET controller uses weather data, inputs chosen by the user based on landscape characteristics, and proprietary algorithms to determine when to irrigate and how much to apply. 
  • soil moisture sensors (SMS). The SMS measures the amount of moisture in the soil and skips irrigation if the soil is too wet.  

Figure 1. Examples of ET controllers and SMS systems (clockwise from top left): Rain Bird ESP-SMT, Weathermatic SL1600, Rain Bird SMRT-Y, Toro Precision Wireless, Toro Intelli-Sense, and Baseline WaterTec S100.
If at once you don’t succeed
A recent ET controller study was planned and implemented in Hillsborough County, FL.  A community-wide analysis of water billing data was completed for the county and the three communities that showed the highest estimated irrigation were Apollo Beach, Riverview, and Valrico.  A total of 36 volunteers were selected across the three communities with 21 of them receiving Toro Intelli-sense ET controllers.  All ET controllers were programmed with UF/IFAS-recommended program settings (ET+Edu).  The remaining volunteers were monitored, but did not receive an ET controller (comparison).

Unfortunately, results were not as positive as anticipated.  Though the ET controllers decreased irrigation application by 23% to 41%, irrigation increased by 14% for homes in Valrico and 54% for homes in Riverview when compared to the respective volunteers without technologies. Irrigation was high within these two communities, but the volunteers were not necessarily over-irrigators.  It was clear that there must be a better way to identify the utility customers that would benefit from smart technologies. 

More technology, bigger canvas
A new study was planned for Orange County, FL, that would evaluate the water conservation potential of both types of smart technologies when installed on homes with excessive irrigation habits.  Instead of focusing on communities, all customers in the Orange County Utilities service area were evaluated individually for trends in over-irrigation.  The UF/IFAS recommendation for irrigation is based on a soil water balance approach where the change in soil moisture depends on evaporation, transpiration, rainfall, and irrigation (Figure 2).  

Figure 2. The soil water balance is used to estimate the amount of irrigation needed to account for evaporation and transpiration losses when rainfall is not sufficient.
Landscape Irrigation Ratios (LIR) were calculated for every month over a five year span for each utility customer.  The LIR is a ratio of measured irrigation to UF/IFAS recommendations for the same month.  An LIR greater than 1 indicates over-irrigation whereas an LIR less than 1 indicates conservative irrigation practices.  Customers were considered for the study when a minimum of three months in three consecutive years had ratios greater than 1.5.  Out of 140,000 accounts analyzed, there were only 7,408 accounts that exhibited this behavior and out of these accounts, there were 843 volunteers willing to learn more about the study. 

After a detailed evaluation of many of the volunteering homes, the study included 139 participants located in seven communities across the county.  There were 28 that did not receive a technology (comparison), 55 that received a Rain Bird ESP-SMT (ET), and 56 that received a Baseline WaterTec S100 (SMS).  There were 28 homes of each technology that received additional educational opportunities and UF/IFAS recommended program settings (+Edu). 

Figure 3. Average landscape irrigation ratios from before the Orange County smart controller study began.  Irrigation trends were high with 6-8.3 times the recommendation.
The average historical LIRs (five years of monthly irrigation application to monthly UF/IFAS recommended irrigation) for Orange County study subjects ranged from 6.0 to 8.3, meaning that these volunteers were applying 6 to 8.3 times the amount of irrigation needed (Figure 3).  When considering historical LIRs in the aforementioned Hillsborough County study, they ranged from 1.5 to 2.4 indicating that they were also over-irrigating but were already much more conservative than the Orange County participants (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Average landscape irrigation ratios from before the Hillsborough County ET controller study began.  These volunteers had some over-irrigation, but did not exhibit signs of excessive water use.
Diving into the numbers
Irrigation by the comparisons in Orange County decreased from historical trends (6.9 before the study, 4.3 during the study).  Though the real reason is unknown, possibilities for the behavior adjustment include highly publicized droughts encouraging water conservation, awareness of being monitored for the study, or even repairing leaks discovered during their initial system evaluation.  Implementing the technologies had a larger effect, reducing the LIRs to 2-3.3 (Figure 5).  The additional education and programming was important for the SMS, reducing the ratio significantly from 2.9 (SMS) to 2.0 (SMS+Edu).  However, all of these treatments are still well above a value of 1, which is the goal, so more savings are possible.

Figure 5. Average landscape irrigation ratios that occurred during the smart controller study in Orange County.  The technologies were effective at reducing water use, but there’s room for improvement.
The takeaway
Smart technologies should be focused on homes that exhibit habitual excessive irrigation.  In situations where marginal water savings are possible, such as in the Hillsborough County ET controller study, a soil moisture sensor with UF/IFAS recommended installation and programming is recommended.  These sensors can be used in situations of deficit irrigation schedules whereas ET controllers can increase water use to maintain a well-watered landscape.  Both technologies were effective when used in the right situations.

Thanks to Hillsborough County Water Resource Services, Tampa Bay Water, Orange County Utilities, Water Research Foundation, St. Johns River Water Management District, and South Florida Water Management District for providing the support to complete these projects.  These studies were co-authored by Michael D. Dukes.

About the author:
Stacia L. Davis, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of irrigation engineering with the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center located at the Red River Research Station, Bossier City, LA.  She studied the water conservation potential of smart technologies at the University of Florida prior to moving to Louisiana.

Monday, November 17, 2014

West Coast-bound: Irrigation Show and Education Conference 2014

This week hundreds of irrigation workers and academics will gather in Phoenix, AZ, for the 2014 Irrigation Show and Education Conference.

Déjà vu?
However, before we look forward, let's take a look back. Last month, a group of us irriGators traveled to the WaterSmart Innovations Conference to learn about the latest research in eight different tracks of water-use topics! 

WaterSmart social media workshop with two of the best: Alan Harris & Richard Restuccia
Some of the highlights for me included the weather-based irrigation controller research, several talks on water budget rate structuring, and the prevalence of smart, cloud-based irrigation controllers for residential use at the product expo. 

On the mic: soil moisture sensor expert Bernard Cardenas
Our own Bernard Cardenas presented on using soil moisture sensors successfully with reclaimed water irrigation, and we did our best to commandeer the tweet screens documenting all the interesting goings-on during the conference.

#WSI2014: tweet, or it didn't happen
Oh you read that right...a robotic sprinkler
Every drop counts: Flo from EPA WaterSense & Athens-Clarke County's Lily Anne Phibian 
In addition to technical sessions presenting research, this week’s Irrigation Show features a massive product expo. 

Did I say it was massive?
For the second consecutive year, ARCSA will have its own pavilion on the show floor, reminding everyone that lots of perfectly useful water falls from the sky. Cloud-based smart irrigation technology will also be well represented (including a promising, new remotely accessible, wireless soil moisture sensor). And the new product contest area always helps ensure no effective water management innovation goes overlooked.

Teacher mode: Dr. Stacia Davis instructs Extension personnel
I’m excited about reconnecting with former irriGator, and current LSU faculty, Dr. Stacia Davis. Dr. Davis will present previous research work from the on-going Orange County Smart Irrigation Study. Further, following last year’s successful "Value of Certification" video project, I’ll be wearing my Miami-Dade Urban Conservation Unit hat in Phoenix and rolling cameras on a new work. 

Meeting of the minds: IA's Brent Mecham and Dr. Michael Dukes at WaterSmart
I would be remiss if I did not mention that the Irrigation Show is where our own Dr. Michael Dukes will formally accept this year’s Irrigation Foundation Excellence in Education Award.

Stay tuned for live tweets and additional blog coverage of all the exciting Irrigation Show events.

About the author: 
Michael Gutierrez is a water resources 
technician with UF/IFAS in the Ag & Bio 
Engineering Dept. He tweets, blogs and 
also shoots still and video media in South 
Florida, Gainesville and anywhere else a 
camera is handy. (image: Gainesville Sun)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Preparing for tomorrow, today: Dr. Michael Dukes and the 2014 Excellence in Education Award

Water is a major issue in Florida, a growing state concerned with both supplying development and maintaining a valuable tourism industry. In this context, it's no surprise that Florida attracts some of the brightest minds in water management. One of these experts is the University of Florida's Dr. Michael Dukes.

Excellence in Education
The Irrigation Foundation recently honored Dr. Dukes with their 2014 Excellence in Education Award. This award recognizes someone working in academia and helping to develop professionals well-equipped for a sustainable irrigation industry.

Like this, but more shelf-friendly: Dr. Dukes instructs at an Extension event in South FL this spring
Dr. Dukes will formally accept the award later this month at the 2014 Irrigation Show and Education Conference in Phoenix, AZ.

Why do we irrigate? Dr. Dukes has answers.

In the meantime, Dr. Dukes took a minute to offer some insight about the role of educators in the water management industry today and what motivates him as an educator, specifically.

Stay tuned for additional coverage of the Irrigation Show and this great honor for the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department and the University of Florida family.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Yes, but do they work? Putting soil moisture sensors to the test

First in a smart water application technology series.

In Florida, irrigation water-use accounts for around 50% of total household water consumption. Most of the single-family homes recently built in Florida (as well as in the U.S.) include an automatic irrigation system, which results in an increase in demand from already limited water resources. 
Save water, Florida! Courtesy: EPA WaterSense
The development of best management practices for irrigation of landscapes has become an undeniable strategic, economic, and environmental issue for the state. New soil moisture sensor systems (SMSs) for landscape irrigation control may improve irrigation efficiency, promote water conservation, and reduce environmental impacts of over-irrigation.
Sensing savings
A research project was funded by the Southwest Florida Water Management District to evaluate SMS-based irrigation systems. The main goal: to determine if SMSs could reduce the water applied, compared to common time-based irrigation schedules implemented by homeowners. At the same time, we wanted to know if these hypothetical water savings could be achieved without compromising an acceptable turf quality.

On the corner of research & technology: the plots
The experimental area (at UF research facilities in Gainesville) consisted of common bermudagrass plots (10 x 10 ft). The sensors of four commercially available SMS systems (brands Acclima, Rain Bird, Irrometer, and Water Watcher) were buried at the 7 to 10 cm depth. For comparison purposes, time-based treatments with and without a rain sensor, and a non-irrigated treatment were also implemented. 
Proper soil moisture sensor installation with Bernard Cardenas
Non-irrigated, but green
During the 2-year experiment, normal/wet weather conditions prevailed in the research area, which favored turf growth and development. As a result, no significant differences in turfgrass quality among treatments were detected, even when compared to the non-irrigated plots. This means that, for sustained normal/wet weather conditions in Gainesville, a bermudagrass turf probably would not need supplemental irrigation.

Regarding the SMS treatments, most of them recorded significant irrigation water savings compared to the time-based irrigation schedules. Savings ranged from 69% to 92% for three of the four SMS brands tested. The treatment with-rain-sensor, on the other hand, resulted in 34% less water applied than the without-rain-sensor treatment. All these water savings were achieved without decreasing turfgrass quality below acceptable levels.

Time to validate
Therefore, SMSs represent a promising technology for water conservation, even better than the rain sensors mandated by FL law. Given these results, we then sought to test SMSs under sustained dry weather conditions and in residential irrigation systems.

This research was conducted by Mr. Bernardo Cardenas, Dr. Michael D. Dukes and Dr. Grady Miller. 

Bernardo Cardenas has a M. Sc. in Agricultural and Biological Engineering, from UF. He specializes in smart water application technology research, but refuses to irrigate his own lawn.

Friday, October 3, 2014

On our way to WaterSmart Innovations 2014

Next week I’ll be one of many water management workers, experts, academics and brand reps attending the WaterSmart Innovations Conference in Las Vegas, arguably the premiere water-efficiency gathering in the US.

Stakes are high
WaterSmart is always a treat for me for a host of reasons. Yes, there is a product expo for new gear and technology, but the emphasis at this event is the professional sessions. So many sessions! Inevitably, I’m forced to weigh great topics against great topics (maybe next time turf removal report ;_;) when ironing out the itinerary because there are so many interesting water-focused presentations.

Who can forget the animated debate that followed 2013's multi-stream nozzle talk
That this has been another year of harsh drought in the western US only underscores the importance of bringing experts and decision-makers together to share what has been working and successful in water management.

WaterSmart divides professional sessions into different tracks, some more relevant to my work than others. With the intense drought in California, many suggest that water rationing is around the corner. One possible alternative is water budgets. Several municipalities have already adopted budgets. I'll be attending those sessions. I recently gave a talk to graduate students in UF's Ag & Bio Engineering Department about the value of social media, so reports of programs successfully integrating these resources in their outreach are always of interest to me.

Sensor vs. sensor: on-site and saving you water
And since much of my work entails working with all things smart irrigation (apps, soil sensors, WBICs!) I’m definitely excited about the sessions evaluating these devices in real world settings.

Gather 'round: UF's Bernard Cardenas will be presenting on soil moisture sensors at WaterSmart  
Stay tuned
I’ll be traveling to WaterSmart with IrriGator all-stars Dr. Michael Dukes and Bernard Cardenas. Watch for live tweets and a future report back and video.

Relive Watersmart 2013 courtesy Miami-Dade's Urban Conservation Unit

About the author: 
Michael Gutierrez is a water resources 
technician with UF/IFAS in the Ag & Bio 
Engineering Dept. He tweets, blogs and 
also shoots still and video media in South 
Florida, Gainesville and anywhere else a 
camera is handy. (image: Jesus Lomeli)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Florida-Friendly Landscapes: When less (irrigation) is definitely more (water conservation)

Usually, the conclusions follow the research, but not so for the water conservation benefit of Florida Friendly Landscaping (FFL). The FFL program  has been touted as a method for conserving water (Florida statutes agree), but before our recently published study, no peer-reviewed published research existed documenting the actual water conservation of FFLs.

The FFL program promotes environmentally sustainable landscape practices. Recognized FFLs usually have more ornamental plants and less turfgrass, although there is no restriction on the amount of grass allowed. There are nine principles to  a recognized FFL, and the second principle “water efficiently” is the focus of our research. The FFL recommended practices for water conservation include:

     • Irrigating turfgrass and ornamental plants separately,
     • Grouping plants with similar water needs,
     • Reducing irrigation in the rainy summers and mild winters, and
     • Having a rain shutoff device for a sprinkler system.

Xeriscaping, a somewhat similar landscape approach, has been shown in research studies to reduce irrigation in the arid southwest. Although both FFL and Xeriscape have the same goal of conserving resources, they are designed for very different environments (both in terms of growing conditions and aesthetics). Additionally, FFL encourages wildlife habitat creation and protection whereas Xeriscape focuses primarily on water conservation.

L to R: Comparing perennial peanut to cacti - Florida-Friendly and xeriscape examples

For our study, we visited FFLs in Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties in southwest Florida, evaluating 125 FFLs and identifying 736 comparison (well-maintained, turf-dominated) landscapes. All landscapes were part of single-family residential homes and used potable water for irrigation. We used up to twelve years of monthly water billing records for each home and property appraiser data to estimate each home’s monthly irrigation use, and we used daily weather data to estimate the monthly irrigation required (how much each home should have been watering). Once we began our site visits, we realized that just because a landscape was recognized as a FFL doesn’t mean that it’s still maintained as a FFL, or is a landscape that we would want to replicate. FFLs were classified as either good (well-maintained, diverse plantings) or not-so-good (well-maintained but not exhibiting FFL characteristics, or poorly maintained).

Recognized FFLs: The Goods

Recognized FFLs: The Not-So Goods

For the comparison landscapes, we rated the turf on a scale of 1 to 9, with minimally acceptable turf for our study being 6. The landscape quality of the comparison homes varied, from slightly patchy and yellow-green to beautiful green carpets of high-quality turfgrass you could take a nap on.

Comparison homes: Not all turfgrass is created equal

Our analysis of estimated irrigation use indicated that FFL homes used 50% less irrigation than comparison homes, and irrigation savings were seen in every month (shown in figure below). At least half of all monthly irrigation values were zero, meaning that a large portion of both FFLs and comparisons did not use in-ground irrigation systems or water regularly. Both landscapes were irrigated less than what was required for well-watered turfgrass.

When considering only “Good” FFLs and their comparison landscapes with high-quality turfgrass, irrigation savings increased to 76%. Comparison homes’ irrigation exceeded the irrigation required for well-watered turfgrass in the winter months.

Before becoming FFL-recognized, the FFL homes already used less irrigation than the comparison homes did, meaning that those most concerned with water use were more likely to choose a Florida-Friendly Landscape. Even though they tended to already be low water users, FFL homes reduced their irrigation use 28% after their landscapes became recognized.

The results of this study demonstrate the ability of FFLs to conserve potable water used for irrigation. A follow-up study will survey FFL and comparison homeowners so we can better understand how the irrigation savings are being achieved.

Thanks to Southwest Florida Water Management District and Tampa Bay Water for funding this project and to Michael Gutierrez and Sara Wynn for their assistance. This study was co-authored by Michael Dukes, Linda Young, and Shu Wang.

About the author
Mackenzie Boyer is a Ph.D. candidate in Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Florida. She studies residential irrigation using utility water billing data. Her two dogs undermine all her efforts to keep her own lawn looking presentable.    

Thursday, September 11, 2014

EPAF 2014: delivering UF/IFAS research through mobile app technology

PANAMA CITY BEACH - An exciting new adventure began at EPAF 2014 – researchers and specialists developing UF/IFAS apps got together and showcased their products! All the apps provide information that can be used by anyone and are available in both the iOs and Android app stores.

Dr. Michael Dukes and Dr. Gail Hansen De Chapman lead discussion
Amongst the presenters was Michael Dukes and Gale Marie Hansen De Chapman. They introduced the (soon to be released) Florida Gardening Solutions App and the Florida Friendly Landscaping Plant Guide, respectively.

Dr. Paul Fisher presents Backpocketgrower
Another useful product was Dr. Paul Fisher's Backpocketgrower app. 

Kinwa Inc.'s David Muir leads a breakout group
The event also hosted two app developers - Jose Debastiani Andreis (who works for the AgroClimate group) and David Muir from North FL outfit Kinwa, Inc. Both provided excellent perspective on the finer points of undertaking an app development project.

Jose Andreis: programmer for all the Smartrrigation Apps
In search of a list of UF/IFAS apps? This document may not be comprehensive, but it includes all the products covered at EPAF. 

Missed the training? Watch the video.

Associate Professor
Tropical REC / Agricultural & Biological Engineering

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Drip Irrigation School IST


Some of IFAS's finest faculty! Bob Hochmuth (SmallFarms mastermind), Kelly Morgan (UF Agricultural BMP coordinator), Lincoln Zotarelli (Vegetable crop expert and irrigation guru), and George Hochmuth (Fertlizer/irrigation expert and all around great guy)- just to name a few!


Drip Irrigation School (more info on drip)

Day 1
8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Check-in & Snacks: Refreshments will be provided
Conference Room
9:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
Welcome: Introduction of Speaker Line-Up, Introduction of Attendees
Kelly Morgan
Conference Room
9:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Drip Irrigation System Design, Components, and Installation
Mark Burgess
Start in Conference Room
11:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Break: Refreshments will be provided
Conference Room
11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Soil Water Holding Capacity 101
Kelly Morgan
Conference Room
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Lunch will be provided
Conference Room/ Pole Barn
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Irrigation Scheduling: Basic Principles of soil water holding capacity – field capacity, permanent wilting point, available water content, evapotranspiration, demo with soil columns for water movement in Florida soils. Determining and Scheduling Irrigation, Fertigation Events, Splitting Irrigation Events, Tools and Techniques – Use of Soil Moisture Based Sensors to Monitor Soil Moisture Levels – TDRs, Tensiometer, Gypsum Blocks/Granular Matrix Sensors
Lincoln Zotarelli/Mace Bauer
Conference Room/Outside
3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Break: Refreshments will be provided
Conference Room
3:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Developing a Fertilizer Management Plan for Drip Irrigated Crops and Complying with BMP Requirements (Calculations)
George Hochmuth,
Conference Room
5:00 p.m.
Adjourn for Day 1


(The classes will be held at the Center’s Farm location, 8202 County Road 417, Live Oak, FL 32060)


November 18-19, 2014


UF IFAS Extension Faculty can register on PDEC. If you plan to attend - let Aparna Gazula know at agazula@ufl.edu