When It Comes to Improving Soil Health on Your Farm, Set Your Sights on the Long-Term Goals
March 15, 2017

How AquaSpy Goes Beyond, While Others Barely Scratch the Surface

How We Scientifically Improve Yield by The Process Control of Matching Root Demand to Soil Supply

AquaSpy allows the grower to use data to make input decisions every minute of every day to absolutely control the human part of the equation (nurture). Every crop, and every demand it has, is distinct every year; therefore, AquaSpy looks at root behavior and how it interacts in its’ environment to drive the process, and not a pre-prescribed formula that says this crop, in this soil type, should need this much of that at this time. The AquaSpy method of sending electrical signals out separately every five minutes to all 12 layers of soil, and our backend server algorithms that turn those signals into decisions, is precisely enabling the plant itself to tell the grower dynamically in any exact moment, in a particular layer of soil, what the root needs then and there in order to grow into the biggest stalk (and fruit) possible within the constraints of nature.

We Are Not Just an Irrigation Scheduler

With other systems, you will get a relative measure of soil wetness (combined with the EC and temperature influence), showing a relative line in whatever one random depth the grower happened to install a probe at, to show the soil was relatively wetter or relatively drier, than the field at that random depth was from the time the sensor was installed. To us that is almost useless and nothing more than an imprecise irrigation scheduler and did not make an iota of sense to us at all. 

Installation Takes an Experienced Person 21 Minutes

Most of the 21 minutes are simply driven by using a power auger to drill the hole. The communication tower actually talks the installer through the process point by point as they proceed (in any language). The installation can be done by the grower, or if using an AquaSpy dealer, this can be negotiated between the grower and the dealer as either a paid or free service. We do have a third-party installation Company who does thousands of installs for a fee.

Managing the Equipment Year-around

The dealer or installer will install the 12-sensor vertical probe at or just after emergence and remove before harvesting, except of course for permanent installations such as for Oranges or Avocados or perennial crops. Since we sell the equipment at our cost, the grower owns the equipment and is therefore responsible for storing equipment. However, they can (and some do) leave it running all throughout the winter to monitor field water and nutrient levels for planning next years’ crop type, as well as temperatures at the various depths for timing. Both the probe with less than a 2-inch circumference, and the Communications Tower (also a thin telescopic pole extendable to 10 feet) are light and unobtrusive to store.

Water Savings and Yield Improvement

Although it is common and typical to see 1, 2, or 3 (sometimes more) acre inches of water savings, because every field in every climate in every year is a unique interaction between nature and nurture, we cannot unequivocally state that you will save water by using data for process control because if the plant in that moment signals that it needs or is on a pathway to need nutrients at a particular layer of depth, you may use more water rather than less. What we can guarantee is that you will know exactly how much water you will need to place when and where the active root zone calls for it; no more and no less than the plant needs to achieve its’ maximum growth.

Determining Yield Improvement for Subsequent Cropping Cycles  

Each year with each crop is a new and unique life cycle of its’ own. Each and every subsequent year is its own unique circumstance and the crop will continue to tell you minute by minute and day by day what it needs when and where in order to manifest in the biggest yield it can possibly achieve.

AquaSpy does not attempt to issue prescriptive boiler plate amounts of fertilizer or water based upon historical norms or theories as every crop in every layer of soil in every day of every season is its’ own unique environment; instead, we simply let the plant speak for itself.

There are so many variables between the dynamics of nature and nurture during the process of growing, that it is impossible to control or pretend to prescribe an input regimen that will account for the many powerful vicissitudes of nature impinging upon a living organism’s ability to thrive within all of those constraints (wind, water, humidity, growing degree days etc.).

While a plant has to use its’ root system to forage for the necessary sustenance in order to thrive, we simply gave it a voice to communicate with the nurturer, so its’ needs can be met and we have empirically proven that when a grower does so, the crop (mostly made of 85% to 95% water in the first place), can be all it can be.

Sensor Data and Interface Technology Required to Receive Results 

A Grower will need an internet connection with a browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer) or a phone (with a browser of course), and included in the price is the cellular plan that we have negotiated in bulk via either CDMA or GSM.

The most important need the grower will have is the ability and interest to proactively look at the interface, react to alerts and alarms pushed to their phone or computer and respond to what the plant is communicating to him or her.

The Ability to Deliver Yield Improvement and Get Insights in to Water Application /Management

You will be amazed at what you see actually transpiring underground where the action really is at. Using AquaSpy, you can observe trends and interactions to the many dynamics which occur unseen and probably unthought of underground where all of the important early warning signals occur. The alternative is to wait until the nutrient deficiency or impediments manifest in the canopy in which case you can use a drone and treat the malady after the fact when yield is already substantially harmed.

Differentiators for AquaSpy vs. Other Technologies

AquaSpy is completely and foundationally unique from the very essence of what we provide as a scientific data driven process control tool acting as voice of the plant.

Others provide a sensor at a random depth, showing a relative wetting up or drying down relative to how wet or how dry the field (at that one random depth) was at the point of installation or as a drone will do to show the colors of wet or dry at centimeters of depth over a field with no knowledge of or concern with where the active root zone is or whether or not there is liquefied sustenance in that zone on an absolute basis of full, empty, overflowing or anything in-between, we give many different and separate measures (EC, temperature, and moisture).

We calibrate the 12 sensors once and forever in the factory for any type of soil so you don’t have to describe the soil type to get the competition’s canned prescription of what and how much to put on when based upon their “knowledge.” We separate moisture from EC from temperature and we don’t care what you call the soil or its’ various manifestations of different properties throughout the zone layers; we only care about the holding capacity of whatever you want to call that layer of soil such that we tell you dynamically per layer per point in time, what is: full, empty, overflowing or anything in-between.

We show icons for actions and alerts such as: root growth, depth of water penetration, withdrawal rate of both EC and separately moisture by layer and by the aggregate active root zone.

We show you your YES! Score compliance every day throughout the process, and dozens of other unique features. We are not an irrigation scheduler first, yet, it is a by-product of our driving yield as the voice of the plant and not the whole sole purpose of our existence as a Company.

How You Best Exploit this Early Revolution

Think of it as the next evolution in how Farmers grow crops by listening to them at depth. When dryland became irrigated, yields roughly doubled, for obvious reasons and that is why the pivot and drip Industries are so large and lucrative. Now turn that pivot 90 degrees and think of it as supplying liquid nutrients to the root system at depth rather than just getting to the right zone by chance. This is the next evolution and it drives yield and it is both common sense and scientifically driven.