by Katie Bishop, Head of Research for FarmHQ
When I managed a vegetable and flower farm in Northern California, I dealt with the same irrigation problem over and over again. We were irrigating from a creek that was located about 10 feet below the field at the bottom of a hill. If pressure or flow were low, we ran the risk of our pump, or our booster pump, running dry and burning up. We could stand by the pressure gauge and watch for any sudden drops in pressure, but there was no way to know for sure what our flow rate was.
FarmHQ’s new Flow Rate Analysis provides growers with the opportunity to remotely monitor their flow rate in real-time. If your flow or pressure drops below your preferred range, your pump will automatically shut down and alert you via text message. No more low-flow switches shutting down your machinery without your knowledge and leaving you a day behind. No more burnt-up pumps.
Know Your Flow
Flow meters often operate like odometers, reporting the running total of water flow for each pump. But many farms have corporate or governmental compliance requirements to report on total water flow during specific time periods and/or total water flow at the farm level. This forces growers to drive out to their meters on a weekly basis, just to write down a number.
With Flow Rate Analysis, we’ve built for water accounting what we did for hose reel monitoring — an intuitive and accessible interface for time consuming tasks. Growers can see their total water usage at the pump level or at the aggregated farm level, and can adjust the time ranges to whatever dates fit their needs. This is the information growers need to ensure they are using water efficiently, protecting their irrigation equipment, and limiting their time driving from field to field.
The essential types of flow rate analysis that farms can utilize for better irrigation management, as well as compliance, are highlighted below:
Real-Time Flow Rate Analysis
Your pump’s flow rate. This tells you exactly what’s happening in your fields.
Total Water Usage
You will still be able to see your total water usage over time. However, we now offer adjustable time metrics, so you can see your total flow rate over your preferred amount of time.
Peak Flow Analysis
Peak flow rates tell you the maximum capacity of your pump. This gives you new perspectives on the health of your pumping operation, such as water table depth, leaks, and clogs. Anticipate these problems ahead of time by having your peak flow data accessible 24/7 on the FarmHQ app.
Average Flow Analysis
The average flow data gives you a more general sense of your irrigation output. It clues you into the average amount of water your crops are receiving, allowing you to adjust irrigation schedules and equipment settings as needed.