There are many factors that can affect the outcome of a successful crop. Mother Nature likes to throw all sorts of challenges our way, but we at Okanagan Specialty Fruits have installed sensors in our Arctic® apple orchards to try and stay one step ahead of her and, in turn, be more environmentally friendly!
Measuring soil moisture is an important factor in helping farmers manage their irrigation needs more efficiently. Our soil probes can analyze soil conditions and notify our farm managers exactly when it’s time to water. Plus, our irrigation system is automatically adjusted to distribute just the right amount of water in specific regions of the orchard, which means watering is occurring only when absolutely necessary, resulting in less water use. Improving soil conditions allows us to generate even more of our delicious apples and the quality of our crop during critical growth stages. Check out this infographic from Waterwise on how we can all do our part to help conserve water and how we can all benefit.
Better yet, there’s an app for all that! All the water and soil data, in addition to leaf wetness and climate and frost monitoring data, can be sent right to our phones from these sensors, making farming very different from what it used to be!
The sensors are also equipped with pheromone dispensers as an environmentally friendly alternative to using insecticidal sprays. The codling moth is a common pest to our favorite fruit, and if left uncontrolled its larvae can make its way deep into an apple and destroy the majority of a crop. The female moths release a sex pheromone into the environment, and the male moths are able to find them by following their pheromone trail. The pheromone dispensers trick the male moths by saturating the orchard with synthesized pheromones and preventing them from finding the females. This means mating is disrupted in the areas where the dispensers are located and reduces the need for insecticidal spray.
“Making sure our Arctic® apple orchards are run in a sustainable manner is a definite priority,” explains Neal Carter, President of OSF. “We certainly strive every day to make sure we are doing our part so future generations can enjoy Arctic® apples as well.”
We’re not sure if the male moths think these sensors are as amazing as we do, but we’re sure you can “sense” that our Arctic® apples and the environment enjoy all the benefits this innovative technology offers!