Farming and rainfall records are synonymous; what farmer doesn’t want to know how much or how little nature has supplied to his operation, and when?
While irrigation water in Australia accounts for most of the water supplied to our food crops, rainfall records remain vital.
Rain gauge technology for automatically recording rainfall has changed little over the past century, yet the availability of those rainfall records to the grower at anytime and from anywhere has required more modern data collection systems.
Now MEA’s Plexus sensor-to-web systems can connect automatic rain gauges as well as soil moisture and temperature sensors to Green Brain.
The development of the Plexus rain gauge interface engaged much of engineering’s time.
The search for a respectable rain gauge at a reasonable price went along in parallel with that, and took even longer. We got our hands on some ‘tipping spoon’ rain gauges that are used on many low-cost competitive weather stations, and we sat them out in the rain next to our calibrated standard ‘tipping bucket’ rain gauges. Internal splashing of the water stream during the high-speed kick-back of these ‘spoons’ splashed water everywhere and resulted in a 20% under-estimation of rainfall. So we’ve rejected the cheapest technology, but found a well-designed median rain gauge for Plexus that varies less than 8% from our premium gauge.
Luckily for us, all these tests occurred in mid-winter, and we’ve been watching the sky as avidly as any farmer during these rain gauge ‘shake down’ trials.
These Plexus rain gauges will be available in September 2015: contact Dominic or Justin at MEA for further information.
|The rain in Green Brain falls...anytime, anywhere...|