GROWER-STORIES

Kauzlaric Family Farms

Background

My name is Fred Kauzlaric and my family and I have been operating our fruit farm located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario for over 40 years. We grow a variety of different fruit selections, including Apples, Apricots, Peaches, Grapes, Pears and Plums.

In order to decrease our irrigation water use, Kauzlaric Family Farms installed a drip irrigation system in 2009. Throughout several growing seasons, I struggled with determining how much water the crops require and became more interested in moving away from “estimating” how much water was being applied to the crops to trying to find a solution that could fit the fast-moving production cycle. I participated in an water use efficiency study with OMAFRA (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs) in order to understand how my system was operating and the field capacity of my soils that could retain water for optimal tree/vine growth (with my diverse soil requirements for moisture). This is particularly critical in our case because soil in our area is made up of a diverse range from sandy loam to clay types. The results of the study concluded that the irrigation system was operating efficiently in delivering water to the trees/vines; however more focus was required in understanding the quantity of water delivered.

Action

After 5 years of struggling with “guessing” and manual moisture measurements, in 2016 we chose to act on our concern over soil moisture and implemented an Ontario-based company solution called ConnectedCrops. This solution includes a Weather Station containing a high accuracy soil moisture sensor and an air temperature moisture. An advantage of the ConnectedCrops solution is that additional sensors can be added as required. With the fast-paced production cycle, I now monitor real-time soil and air temperature readings through a ConnectedCrops app that runs on my smartphone. It uses a 3g cellular network which allows the wireless connection to be consistently strong and reliable anywhere I go.

RESULT

Through the app, I set up thresholds so I know when to turn on the irrigation system based on the soil moisture readings. Importantly, I know when to shut off the irrigation system when targeted moisture levels are achieved – less effort; increased water use efficiency and no more guessing!

The ConnectedCrops solution is now a key tool for our farm to improve crop yield and quality, reduce irrigation costs and allows me to focus on other areas of the production cycle.

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

After 5 years of struggling with “guessing” and manual moisture measurements, we chose to implement ConnectedCrops.

Fred Kauzlaric

Inversion
Measurement Solution

Advanced Temperature Measurement

The Inversion Measurement Solution with dual high-precision temperature sensor technology allows growers to measure air temperature at two different heights (fruiting zone/ top of canopy) to address frost protection and temperature inversion in the field.  This allows you to see changes at each height and evaluate inversion, radiation-cooling, canopy temperature and other factors. This data can be critical to risk aversion when using wind machines or other means of protecting the crops.

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