About 3 months ago

Same-day almond stress alert due to irrigation system power outage

Almond orchard management case study

See how regular remote sensing-based crop monitoring made it possible to quickly quantify the damage to almond blocks due to unexpected irrigation system outage.

Contents

    With frequent droughts and strict water restrictions, optimising irrigation is on top of the list for farm managers in the almond, and fruit/nut industry overall.

    FluroSat has been working closely with our partner Netafim to take irrigation monitoring to the next step by combining Netbeat automated irrigation system with FluroSense agronomic analytics.

    What happened and what was the issue?

    The power outage that occured on the farm on January, 9th qaffected the irrigation system, and as a result has severely impacted the health of almond trees in some of the blocks. It was important for a farm manager to quickly quanitfy the scale of damage and identify which blocks were most affected.

    This case study demonstrates how the crop damage introduced by one-time water stress (due to a power outage) was detected affected almond blocks were quickly identified. Following the farm manager’s observations, the southeastern quadrant of the almond orchard being severy affected.

    How did FluroSense analytics help?

    The farm split into 6 management blocks (see map below). FluroSense automatically retrieves satellite imagery and weather information and calculates a range of vegetation indices and plant health parameters.

    Crop canopy chlorophyll index (CCCI) is one of these vegetation indices, which provides a measure of chlorophyll content in the tree leaves – an important indicator of tree health.

    For each of the management blocks, FluroSense automatically generated crop canopy chlorophyll index (CCCI), as shown for 3 main blocks on the graph below.

    Almond orchard management blocks (left) and Chlorophyll index trend (right) show for the key three blocks. The colour of the outline of the area on the map (pink, red, blue) matches with graph line colour.

    The CCCI values for each block are significantly different but change proportionally until January 4th. These differences are related to permanent variability in soil, variety or age of the trees. 

    It is clearly visible that on January 14, the “red” block (top line on the graph) recovers, while the “blue” block continues to drop in chlorophyll index. 

    After January 9, the Southern block (coral colour, 2nd line from the top) shows a significant decrease in the CCCI, especially on the Western side. While the blocks in the Northern part of the orchard don’t seem to be affected. 

    Case study summary

    The effect of the power outage that occurred on January 9 is clearly detected on CCCI and confirm that the southern part of the orchard suffered from water stress during this period. 

    The spectral signature also identified how the blocks recovered from this stress and show significant differences between blocks. The blue area is more affected over time than the others. 

    The case study demonstrates how the water stress of the almond trees was detected and localized on the day of its occurrence using remote sensing analytics. Time-series analysis of crop health metrics is a tool that can help the irrigation manager monitor the block performance and understand the effect of the management practices on different varieties.

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