TTU studying irrigation technology to save water and money on the farm

Texas Tech testing sensors with help from grant approved by Texas Water Development Board.
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 5:47 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Although we’ve had some recent rain, South Plains farmers are no strangers to drought, and needing to rely on irrigation systems.

Now, Texas Tech is working to help farmers determine exactly when they need to irrigate by testing products that measure soil moisture.

The project manager, Krishna Jagadish, is hoping through this project, Texas Tech can help producers save water and money on the farm. The study is funded by a nearly $250,000 grant from the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). Researchers will be testing out sensors that can tell a farmer what is happening underground.

“So, you really need to know, is there sufficient amount of water in the soil, should I be irrigating, should I not be irrigating,” Jagadish said.

Project members are working with producers to determine which sensors work for which operations.

“The whole grant is about to try and test these sensors in the producer’s place just so that then we have an opportunity to show how this technology works,” Jagadish said.

One goal of the study is to save producers some cash. Jagadish said irrigating less can cut the input costs down.

“Trying to tell the producers what the sensors do and how they can actually manage water without over-irrigating, but then also not losing their economic returns,” Jagadish said.

Not only does the study have the potential to save farmers some money, it could also help improve the products.

“Also, tell the companies on what is lacking of their technology, and they can work so then you get a product that is more applicable to the region and more effective,” Jagadish said.

Jagadish said the study can help keep farming productive for generations to come by helping conserve water across the South Plains.