University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty have developed a new app for avocado growers that provides an irrigation schedule so users save an estimated 20 to 50 percent on the water they apply to their orchards.
“Weather changes daily, and the app takes into account these changes in the irrigation schedule it provides,” said Kati Migliaccio, an associate professor in agricultural and biological engineering at UF’s Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Florida.
Smartirrigation Avocado, as the app is known, generates a 15-day irrigation schedule using estimated amounts of the water that is lost from a plant and its surrounding soil. The app combines information about the irrigation site with a correction factor based on the plant types – called a “crop coefficient” – and data from the Florida Automated Weather Network to tell growers how to most efficiently water their avocado trees, Migliaccio said.
The new app runs on iOS and Android platforms.
Migliaccio helped design the app with help from Jonathan Crane, a professor in horticultural sciences and tropical fruit Extension specialist, also at the Tropical REC; Clyde Fraisse, an associate professor in agricultural and biological engineering at UF in Gainesville, and Jose Andreis, an IT specialist for UF/IFAS.
Florida avocados, which are grown from late May to January, are important to the state’s agricultural economy, with a crop production value in 2013 of $23.5 million, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.