Growers with winter vegetable crops in California and Arizona are particularly vigilant about water use. With climate change and persistent drought, growers need real-time actionable information for better precision around vegetable crop irrigation and soil management decisions.
Typical Winter Vegetable Crops
Yuma is known as the lettuce capital of the world. In winter, the average temperature in Yuma is 55° F and the average daily minimum is 40° F. Rainfall in Yuma County averages less than 3 inches annually, most of which falls during August and September, so growers are reliant on irrigation scheduling for their crops. In addition to lettuce, here are some of the winter vegetables commonly grown in California and Arizona.
Lettuce (iceberg, romaine)
For a detailed list of winter season crops, visit the Yuma Fresh Vegetable Association.
Use less water, make more profits
Over 10 years in the field, numerous field studies, and detailed yield analysis shows layer by layer root level soil moisture monitoring works whether you have shallow-rooted lettuce or deeper rooted carrots or beans. To optimize your profits when growing winter vegetable crops, managing your inputs effectively is key. You want to apply an adequate amount of inputs, but you don’t want to go too high. Historically, most farmers are slightly risk adverse and would rather irrigate frequently and slightly over apply inputs “just to be safe”, because it is well-known that under-application will result in poor crop yields.
In reality, it’s neither practical nor cost-effective to over apply inputs when you are growing vegetables where water is scarce. In addition, as water resources become increasingly constrained, and the risks of nutrient run-off become more apparent, it’s time to investigate better ways to hit yield targets without over-watering or over-applying nutrients.
Growing winter vegetable crops can have more challenges than just moisture management. During the winter growers can be faced with freezing temperatures and crop-threatening salinity levels when there is little rain to mitigate it.
Wireless Crophesy soil moisture sensors make it easy to manage crops through the winter with real-time alerts pushed to a mobile device or desktop. In addition to soil moisture alerts that indicate when moisture has dropped beneath the green band or hit the refill point, here are some other alarm examples that growers can set:
When the average EC data has surpassed the caution line
When the Probes Top Sensor has Increased to Above OR Decreased to Below ___ Degrees