Sensors Help Drought-Stricken California Farmers

TechCrunch reports that a sensor/application package developed at UC Davis, called Tule, measures the amount of water used by a farmer’s field, the amount of irrigation water applied, a forecast of atmospheric demand, and a calculation of the amount of water needed for the coming week. The innovation offers the hope of conservation-wise water management for California farmers struggling during one of the state’s worst droughts.

From TechCrunch:

It works by measuring something called evapotranspiration, or the amount of moisture released by plants into the air. The sensors collect data from the evapotranspiration and then send it to the site’s servers.

The technology behind Tule has existed since the late 1800s but it was expensive … [and] would have cost a farmer about half a million dollars.


The Tule sensors can be installed in under 30 minutes, measure up to 10 acres of cropland at a time and cost $1,500 per sensor.

An app is coming soon for farmers who want to check their crops on mobile. For now, farmers can log in on the Tule website to check out how their crops are doing in real-time. Users see the data from their crops, as well as a projected weather forecast for the week ahead. This helps them manually adjust water accordingly.

For the full TechCrunch article, follow this link.

For the Tule website, follow this link.