The Ty Bellach farm in Madera County, Calif., installed new automation technology to enable precision irrigation monitoring and control of his 25 acres of vineyards for raisin production.

Bellach installed an AquaMon integrated monitoring and control system from Cermetek Microelectronics to aid in controlling water consumption.

Water usage affects bud break and AquaMon helps the farm “set levels of saturation best for ideal stress levels on the plants,” Bellach says.

He is already saving water by not over irrigating. Prior to using the system, the water flowed over the weekend without knowing the ground saturation. Now Bellach precisely monitors moisture levels on the Cermetek RSVP web site from anywhere at any time.

Bellach estimates he is now using half the water. He expects significant savings in his electric power bills from the pumping reduction.

Bellach will be reimbursed about 30 percent of the costs through the Natural Resources Conservation Services’s EQIP program.

The AquaMon system reports soil moisture data on a 24-7 basis to a personal, secure internet account which Bellach can access with his smart phone or other computer device with web access. He can retrieve data from the ‘cloud’ on his smartphone or computer.

The Bellach farm is one example where this type of technology can benefit a smaller operation.