Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Apps in Agriculture: Perfecting the New Avocado Smart Irrigation App

One of the newest additions among the SmartIrrigation Apps to be released by UF IFAS is for avocado. Commercial production of avocados in Florida is primarily centered in Miami-Dade County - approximately 7,400 acres (Fig. 1). Read more about avocados in this EDIS article.


Bells and whistles
The avocado smart irrigation app has some special features to accommodate for the different varieties and needs of avocado growers in Florida. One unique feature is an emailed output with irrigation scheduling information (Fig. 2).

System
Zone
Irrigation type
Irrigation days
Irrigation time (hours)
Irrigation time (minutes)
Irrigation amount (in)
Last 7 days rainfall (in)
Trec Grove
West
Micro sprinkler
Monday Wednesday Friday
0
15
0.2
0
Fig. 2. Example of output emailed from the app to the user

Further, the app can be used with overhead solid set and microsprinkler irrigation systems. Microsprinklers provide targeted irrigation which is more efficient than solid set (Fig. 3). However, many growers use solid set not only for irrigation but also for cold protection (Fig. 4).

Fig. 3. Microsprinkler irrigation in an avocado orchard.
Fig. 4. Overhead solid-set irrigation in action.
The app uses real-time FAWN data for determining the irrigation schedules (Fig. 5). 

Fig 5. Screenshot of the avocado app's generated irrigation schedule.
In trial phase
We are currently testing the app at the UF IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center and on a local grower’s field in Homestead, FL. Anyone interested in being an app tester should contact Dr. Kati Migliaccio (klwhite@ufl.edu). The app is slated for release in April 2015.

Fig. 6. Deanroy, Armando, and Tina working to install the field study in an avocado orchard in Homestead, FL (January 2015).
This project is being conducted by Dr. Migliaccio’s group. Mr. Deanroy Mbabazi is leading this effort as part of his MS research.







About the author:
Mr. Mbabazi is a graduate student in Agricultural and Biological Engineering. His research interests are in irrigation, hydrological systems modeling, water quality, water conservation, surface-vadose zone- groundwater hydrology, and solute and contaminant transport.

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