We’ve had a lot fun on Facebook the past few weeks, trying to identify this critical piece of equipment from bits and pieces posted as clues! It is a telemetry system. That in itself is not unusual. Telemetry is a technology that allows remote measurement and reporting of information. Most activities related to healthy crops and good yields depend on timely availability of weather and soil data. Therefore, wireless weather stations play a major role in disease prevention and precision irrigation. These stations transmit major parameters needed for good decisions to a base station: air temperature and relative humidity, precipitation and leaf wetness (for disease prediction models), solar radiation and wind speed (to calculate evapotranspiration), and sometimes also soil moisture, crucial to understand the progress of water into soil and roots for irrigation decisions.
Because local micro-climates can vary significantly, such data needs to come from right within the crop. Monitoring stations usually transmit data back by terrestrial radio though occasionally satellite systems are used. Solar power is often employed to make the station independent from local infrastructure.
What makes the telemetry system at Bethel Farms unique is that when the system detects a critical shortage of moisture or perhaps identifies conditions that are ripe for disease growth, it calls Bethel Farms management. Alerts are set up and when certain criteria are met, those alerts are triggered and VP of Turf Jonathan Brown or National Production Manager for Golf and Sports Turf Sammy Greenwood gets a call from this beauty.
It’s just one way technology is growing on us!