TEL AVIV, Israel, January 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Saturas, a portfolio company of The Trendlines Group's Trendlines Agtech and the Migal Galilee Research Institute, announced it recently completed a series of successful field trials, demonstrating the proof of concept of its embedded stem water sensor. The field tests were conducted on peach and citrus trees at the Hula Valley Orchards Experimental Farm. The results were consistent with the stem water potential measurement using manual measurement tools and successfully demonstrated continuous measurement of the water status in the tree.
Today, most farmers typically overwater crops by up to 20% "just to be on the safe side". Overwatering puts pressure on an already scarce and expensive resource, increases pollution from nutrient-rich runoff, affects the quality of the fruit, and reduces profitability. Optimal irrigation can improve quality and quantity of crops and increase farmers incomes and profitability.
Based on the research of Dr. Moshe Meron, Saturas has developed a miniature stem water potential (SWP) sensor that is embedded in the trunks of trees, vines, and plants. SWP is a scientifically recognized, highly accurate parameter for determining water status in crops, but today SWP can only be measured in a labor-intensive procedure. The Saturas sensor provides accurate information for optimized irrigation to reduce water consumption with no stress to the plants, and increases fruit production and quality. Saturas' precision agriculture sensing system comprises of miniature implanted sensors, wireless transponders, and delivery of information to the farmer's Internet device: computer, tablet or smartphone.
Despite numerous approaches to sensor-based irrigation, including measuring soil and leaf moisture, the market lacks a solution that combines accuracy, ease of use, and affordability. The Saturas sensing system tailors irrigation to the crop's real-time water needs, resulting in more efficient water use and increased yields, fruit size, and sugar content (e.g., vineyards). Embedding the sensor in the trunk eliminates the common problem of damage to sensors placed in the soil or on fruit or leaves.
Anat Halgoa Solomon, Saturas CEO, remarks, "We are extremely pleased with the results of the recent field trials. The Company plans to expand the trials and complete the development of a reliable, user-friendly and efficient industrial product to achieve a precise irrigation tool for farmers worldwide."