An Irrigation System That Can Talk to Plants!

Innovation is transforming plant productivity through compounds identifying when water is most needed.

An Irrigation System That Can Talk to Plants! | Innovation is transforming plant productivity through compounds identifying when water is most needed.

From drones used on acres of farmland for surveying fields and spraying crops with accuracy, to the decoding of plant DNA to improve plant productivity, technology has positively transformed agriculture in more ways than one. 

A new type of technology on the market is GrowStream. This is an innovative irrigation system that communicates directly with plants to understand their needs. 

As the company’s website proclaims: “Introducing the world’s first plant-responsive water and nutrient delivery system for sustainable water, food and future for all.”

Irrigation with good social skills!
Responsive Drip Irrigation (RDI), the company that created the technology, sought to go to the source of farming, the plants, and “talk” directly to them. In doing so, it created one of the most precise agricultural technologies, according to Fast Company

When plants need water, they release root exudates, or molecular organic compounds, through their roots to engage in “dialogue” with microbes found in soil. Scientists are still researching  the exact nature of this exchange,  but RDI has already taken advantage of these findings by utilizing these compounds to turn irrigation systems on and off. 

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GrowStream’s tubes feature micropores made of chemical material that can accept those root exudates indicating when the micropores need to open and release water. As the plant drinks enough water, they stop emitting those compounds and this tells the micropores to close back up. The water continuously streams through the tubes but is only released when the plants actually need it. This system can also be used to deliver fertilizer directly to the root of the plants with the same innovative sensor system. 

Tackling drought by saving water
In drought-stricken areas, this technology has the potential to save enormous amounts of water. According to the FastCompany report, RDI maintains that  it saves 45-50 percent more water than regular drip irrigation, another small-tubed system that is widely implemented in countries that are facing severe drought.  

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The company already has many projects in place around the globe, addressing the threat of drought in farms in countries such as South Africa and Zimbabwe. 

 It is also working  with a water utility company in Los Angeles to test its system in the city’s landscaping to keep the city greener while saving water. California has faced some of the most extreme heat waves in the past few years as climate change intensifies, and saving water is essential to the State. 

Growstream is more than a technology, related Jan Gould, Co-founder and CEO of Response Irrigation Drip, in an interview with TechRound, as the company’s number one goal is to create awareness of earth's limited natural resources and people’s responsibility to innovate to care for it.  

Gould believes this is all about our future, saying, “When we leave this Earth, we’d like to leave it better than how we started it because we owe it to them. Our children and grandchildren are the next generation of thinkers, doers, and activists – if we can’t provide them with a safe environment to pursue their goals, how can they achieve them?”

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