Serving the Farming Industry across East Anglia for 35 Years
A new sensor claims to help arable and vegetable growers manage their irrigation, fieldwork and disease protection more precisely. Sencrop says its new Solarcrop... Special sensor helps improve farm irrigation management

A new sensor claims to help arable and vegetable growers manage their irrigation, fieldwork and disease protection more precisely.

Sencrop says its new Solarcrop irradiance sensor will help farmers curb costs and boost their productivity. It says the user-friendly low-cost system operates with large reach and exceptional accuracy.

As well as accurate weather forecasting, producers can link real-time solar irradiation, rainfall, humidity, temperature and wind data in one simple app, says Sencrop co-founder Martin Ducroquet.

Based on crop type and growth stage, this data is used to predict evapo-transpiration rates and soil moisture availability – helping farmers identify when and how much to irrigate without needing expensive localised soil probes.

Extreme weather

“Much of the UK is getting drier – and more extreme weather events are becoming the norm,” said Mr Ducroque. “In addition, the environmental issue around irrigation is no longer in question; producers can massively reduce their water consumption by optimising irrigation systems.

“We want Irricrop to change the world of irrigation, by making this new solution accessible to all. This evolution is completely consistent with our original mission, to standardise precision agriculture.”

One sensor can monitor up to 10 fields across 10 miles. Based on two years of research and development and patented technology, Solarcrop is said to measure solar irradiation to an accuracy of 2%.

Combined with Sencrop’s Raincrop and Windcrop sensors – and individual field and crop information – soil moisture surplus or deficit can be accurately forecast for the coming seven days, enabling producers to better plan irrigation and field work.

Sencrop has a network of more than 2,000 connected stations across the country. The stations generate ultra-precise and hyper local information like temperature, humidity, wind speed and rainfall.

The company says the ability to measure solar irradiation maximises farmers’ ability to manage climatic risks, as well as diseases and pests – including blight and cercospora, so growers and agronomists can act on highly tailored risk-based advice.

Low-cost

The low-cost plug-and-play service means everyone can use it, not just those with deep pockets, says Mr Ducroquet. The sensors are extremely quick and easy to install – and farmers can choose the appropriate subscription package for them.

Combined with accurate weather forecasts and real-time monitoring, farmers can optimise their use of inputs – for example only spraying and undertaking fieldwork when weather conditions are right, claims Mr Ducroquet.