The goal of this project is to set up an Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure to better monitor the soil moisture of crops and in real time. This to allow producers

  • to better plan crop irrigation
  • to save water and the cost of pumping
  • to increase the yield of the producer

A study with large-scale corn farmers in Nebraska showed that sensor-based irrigation monitoring saved 30% of water and the cost of pumping was significantly reduced.

The goal of this project is to achieve these results using the promising technology LoRaWAN, which allows to transmit the measurements of radio stations in a radius of 3 to 10 kilometers (depending on the terrain configuration).

HOW WILL I DO? With the collaboration of the producers, we will determine the positions of the stations. Depending on your structure, the WATERMARK sensors will be placed at different depths to monitor the water bulb created by the watering system. As detailed in «Detailed escription» (see below), the stations will send the measurements to the gateway which will transmit them to the remote server. These measurements will be saved in a database and a web application will use them to display them as graphics. Subsequently, I will develop a warning system to indicate when your crops will need to be irrigated.



Your support will allow me to pay for this prototype and I hope to finance others to install them in other cultures with different terrain configurations. This is important because each installation will allow me to compare different values and to interact with the producers. So these results will allow me to refine the operation of the stations and create a final version to bring you better results.

The cost initially covers:

  • a relay station (or gateway) with a 12V battery, a 40W solar panel, a regulator and a 4G router
  • 2-3 stations that include three to twelve sensors (3 soil moisture sensors, a sensor to count drip irrigation drops, a sensor to measure soil temperature. brightness, air temperature, external humidity, pressure, incidentally an anemometer). Finally, a sensor to measure precipitation.
  • Various other purchases, such as an auger, a WATERMARK digital reader, etc.

For the rest, it will be used to improve and complete the prototype to make a final solution. It will also be used to buy a PCB soldering machine to make them myself and thus reduce the cost of production.

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Although a variety of sensors and data collection and analysis systems are currently available commercially, their adoption is still limited for reasons of high costs, difficulties in collecting and interpreting data in time. timely. This is due to high prices, difficulties of installation and maintenance and the difficulty of transmitting measurements over several kilometers.

The development of low cost and OpenSource microcontrollers, their ability to manage wireless communication technologies such as radio, cell phone and WiFi, offer very affordable possibilities. In addition, recent developments in Internet-of-Things («Internet-of-Things») technologies used in a wide variety of applications, such as smart homes and smart cities, provide a significant complement.

  • reduce pumping costs and save up to 30% water.
  • facilitate the collection and interpretation of data
  • visualize the state of its crops in real time better
  • plan crop irrigation

To meet these needs, I decided to develop and test an IoT system to meet these needs.

The data from the sensors attached to the stations (transmitters), are transmitted to the gateway (receiver) using LoRa radio technology, within a radius of 3 to 10 kilometers (this depends on the terrain configuration). The gateway processes and sends data instantly to a server / website where data can be viewed and analyzed graphically. Alarms can be set to indicate an area to irrigate or observe the water bulb of the dripper.

The stations consist of a microcontroller based on Arduino and sensors to measure

  • soil moisture at 3 different depths
  • a drop counter when watering
  • the amount of rainfall
  • the humidity of the air
  • soil temperature
  • the air temperature
  • the luminosity
  • the pressure

The stations will also be equipped with an SD card to have an extra backup of the measurements.

The gateway, meanwhile, consists of a microcomputer such as a Raspberry Pi, an additional module (concentrator) that includes the radio module.

The gateway, like the stations, are also equipped with a small solar panel to ensure the longevity of the monitoring system.

WHO AM I ? After a 10 years of development, especially in the realization of websites, I am interested in embedded systems. I ordered my first microcontroller (Arduino) and I developed a tracker to prevent «disappearances» of the retired or reduced mobility people. With the last four years of experience with these technologies, my curiosity then leads me to the Internet of Things (IoT) and this is where the SMART IRRIGATION project is born.