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The sophistication and technology of orchard and vineyard management has increased dramatically over the years. With the flexible sensor technology of EarthScout® readily available on your mobile phone, growers have a handy new tool to support timely management decisions that improve the quality and value of their plants.

Beyond apple orchards and vineyards, EarthScout custom configurations can be easily adapted for almond trees, pistachios, hazelnuts, citrus and more.

Typical Actions & Alerts

Set alerts on your phone – reducing risk by assuring you won’t over (or under) apply costly crop inputs. Use real-time data and analytical tools to make decisions and take action, including:

Cultivating Insuring Spraying
Documenting Irrigation Tissue Sampling
Fertigation Mapping Transplanting
Fungicide Planting Transporting
Graphing Pruning And more!
Harvesting Ripening

The following case history highlights how a Minnesota apple grower is using EarthScout to set frost alerts, determine local growing degree days and better stay ahead of disease and insect outbreaks.

Case Study

Customer:  Dan A.
Plant:  Apples
Location:  Southern Minnesota
Farm:  Outdoor growing – irrigation and fertigation
Goals: 

Maximize juice, increase apple size and quality, minimize inputs, increase profitability and yields, build healthier soils, pest management, establish seasonal trend data, and centralized grower data (photos, calendar for scheduling and tracking important dates).

Dan was as a lineman for 33 years, before getting back to the land literally—and running an apple orchard. “We got the orchard in 1997. Right now, we’re growing twenty different varieties of apples on 24 acres,” said Dan. His 12,000 trees include well-known varieties like Honeycrisp and McIntosh, plus other varieties suited for northern climates like Pazzaz, Riverbelt, Cortland and Zestar. “Chestnut crab apples are some of my favorites, even though they don’t look pretty, said Dan, “and FirstKiss is a new Minnesota variety we’re trying along with Evercrisp—half Honeycrisp and half Fuji—those apples are really good!” Ableman Orchards specializes in fresh apples. “We squeeze some cider and sell some wholesale, but mostly sell fresh apples through our retail store and at farmer’s markets.

Measuring moisture content of the orchard’s soil at more than one depth was the first feature that got Dan interested in doing an EarthScout trial. “But when I heard I could calculate Growing Degree Days in my own orchard’s micro-climate, I knew it could help me better predict emerging disease and pest threats, and that’s really exciting,” said Dan. He follows guidelines in the Michigan Fruit Management Guide that helps determine threats based on Growing Degree Units and also appreciates the fact that the entire resource guide has been downloaded on his EarthScout app for easy reference. Being able to measure leaf wetness and better predict frost in the spring or fall by measuring leaf wetness is another feature Dan likes about the EarthScout. “Anything I can do to help me better know what’s coming, gives me an advantage as to how I run my orchard,” said Dan.

“I like how easy it is to view the data on my phone, being able to set alerts for irrigation needs or frost alerts are features I look forward to using next season,” said Dan. Helping make sure he optimizes his fertigation return on investment by not over or under watering is another benefit Dan sees in the EarthScout technology. Next season, Dan will continue his focus on soil moisture and temperature so he can better calculate degree days and stay ahead of pest emergence with timely fungicide sprays. Measuring leaf wetness to help predict frost will also help Dan better protect his apple trees in the spring and fall. “All the data I get will give me more benchmarks I can use to see where I’m making improvements and will help me better figure out problems,” said Dan.

EarthScout Units Used In Case Study:

Field (1 EarthScout unit for every 3 acres – depending on soil homogeneity, sun intensity, and micro climates)

EarthScout Specifications:

  • Field:
    • Sensors:
      • Soil Temperature/Moisture/Conductivity (shallow soil)
      • Soil Temperature/Moisture/Conductivity (deep soil)
      • Leaf Wetness
      • Air Temperature/Humidity
      • Frost
    • Power Source (Solar Battery)
    • Communications (Cellular) – Polling Rate every 45 minutes
  • Weather:
    • Sensors:
      • Air Temperature/Humidity
      • Wind Direction/Speed
      • Rain
      • Solar
    • Power Source (Solar Battery)
    • Communications (Cellular) – Polling Rate every 45 minutes