Improving water use efficiency using sensors and communication system for irrigation of greenhouse Tomato in Tulkarm, Palestine

Kanan, Amer
Allahham, Alaa
Bouleau, Clemence
Sayara, Tahseen
Qurie, Mohanad
Awad, Loay
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In Palestine, water is one of the major challenges for farmers as water costs are prohibitive and the availability is limited. Innovative technologies and strategies are required improve crop yields, efficient irrigation to produce more nutritious food with less water. The objective of this study is to apply and test a new innovative approach in irrigation to improve water use efficiency by implementing a low-cost wireless communication system and sensors in Tomato plant drip irrigation in greenhouse. The system uses sensors in the soil measuring the soil matrix potential. When a set threshold is reached, the farmer gets an SMS that it is time to irrigate. Four irrigation treatments were applied, one is farmer custom-based irrigation (control), the other three are sensor-based irrigation depending on a preset threshold (−20 kPa, −40 kPa, and −60 kPa) in four different beds. Water consumption, plant growth parameters, and yield in each treatment were measured weekly. The amount of irrigation water applied according to farmer-based irrigation (custom irrigation) was 3.6 to 9.4 times the amount of water used in irrigation by using sensors and the communication system. Moreover, the yield and water use efficiency increased from about 146 kg/Bed and 13 kg/m3 (custom irrigation), respectively, to 196 kg/Bed and 63 kg/m3 and 250 kg/Bed and 167 kg/m3, respectively (planned irrigation). It is recommended to further asses schedule irrigation frequency using low cost communication system that uses sensors sensitive to soil matrix potential to save water without compromising yield in water scarce regions.
Kanan, A., Allahham, A., Bouleau, C. et al. Improving Water Use Efficiency Using Sensors and Communication System for Irrigation of Greenhouse Tomato in Tulkarm, Palestine. Agric Res 11, 728–736 (2022).