Making irrigation water and energy conservation more efficient through technology is the goal behind a new project sponsored by AgGateway and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance known as PAIL (Precision Ag Irrigation Leadership).

AgSense President, Terry Schiltz, will chair the new project and is joined by a cross-industry collaboration of leading agriculture and energy businesses.

Water and energy in agriculture are increasingly gaining attention for reasons including drought, shortages, growing demand and rising costs.  The use of technologies like variable rate irrigation, mapping, and remote management tools are enabling growers to conserve both of these valuable resources and optimize their yields at the same time.  The ability to seamlessly collect, read, analyze and manage all precision ag data, regardless of vendor or platform, is a much needed component for existing and future technologies.

"Ultimately, the goal of this project is to have a common set of data standards and protocols used across the agriculture industry," said Terry Schlitz. "With those in place, the industry can deliver much more efficient, easy-to-use solutions for producers, which in turn will help them use available water and energy more effectively."

Co-sponsors AgGateway and NEEA highlight that producers and manufacturers currently report that it is difficult and time-consuming to make decisions on how much water to apply when and where. That's because weather, soil moisture and other relevant data are stored in a variety of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) formats and data sources.

"Whether you are in Silicon Valley or the Shenandoah Valley, the goal needs to be bringing standardization to data management," continued Schiltz.  "Big data is a powerful tool for growers and producers, but getting that big data into a standardized format is critical for measuring and managing farm operations in the most efficient and effective manner."

AgGateway reports the project is backed by seventeen leading precision agriculture companies including:  Ag Connections, Agrian, AgSense, Campbell Scientific, CropMetrics, Crop IMS, Decagon Devices, Irrometer, Irrinet, John Deere, J.R. Simplot, MapShots, Monsanto, OnFarm Systems, Ranch Systems, Wysocki Produce Farms, Inc., and ZedX.

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