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The goal of this project was to explore commercial agricultural and irrigation sensor kits and to discern if the commercial wireless sensor network (WSN) is a viable tool for providing accurate real-time farm data at the nexus of food energy and water. The smart garden consists of two different varieties of Abelmoschus esculentus (okra) planted in raised beds, each grown under two different fertilizer treatments. Soil watermark sensors were programed to evaluate soil moisture and dictate irrigation events up to four times a day, while soil temperature and photosynthetic solar radiation sensors also recorded data every six hours. Solar panels harvested energy to power water pump and sensors. The objectives of the experiments were to evaluate and compare plant and soil parameters of the two okra varieties grown under two different fertilizer treatments. The plant parameters evaluated and compared were basal diameter, plant height, fruit production, and fruit size. Soil parameters measured were soil moisture, soil temperature, and soil nitrate concentration. The commercial sensors were evaluated on efficiency, accuracy, ease of use and overall practicality. Clemson spineless produced larger okra plants with the highest plant parameter values, followed by Emerald okra. However, they both averaged nearly the same yield and length of okra fruit. Nature’s Care fertilizer leached more in beds containing Clemson spineless, while Garden-tone leached more in beds containing Emerald okra. When the WSN is installed properly, the system’s great performance undoubtedly aides the farmer by providing real time field data. However, a properly installed apparatus does not promise a stable system. There are numerous challenges and limitations of which can diminish the performance quality of the WSN, those being battery power, data transmission, and data storage. Data storage is also an issue depending on the amount of data collected, rate of data collection, and size of storage unit. These issues can hinder the decision making for precision farmers.


Presentation at the 14th International Conference on Precision Agriculture.



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