How Sensors and Science Are Improving Farming in the Desert

How Sensors and Science Are Improving Farming in the Desert

According to, agriculture is consuming the Earth’s available fresh water at a surprising rate: 70% of “blue water” from watercourses and groundwater is used for agriculture, the organization reports – three times the level used 50 years ago, writes Tom Wood on The demand is expected to increase by 19% in the next 30 years because of irrigational needs for farmers.


Advances in technology and the science behind growing crops (whether corn, soybeans, fruit, or vegetables) can enable consistently good yields, despite climate conditions that might otherwise seem daunting to farmers and growers.

In an area of Spain with perhaps the most inhospitable farming conditions in all of Europe, research has been conducted into the use of both sensors and soil surfactants. Testing has not only led to better understanding of irrigation management, but how to amend soil to actually reduce the demand for irrigation in the region.

The lessons learned in Spain are applicable globally, to ensure that the continually increasing demand for water is matched with correspondingly higher yields to feed the world.


The Rise of Precision Agriculture

Sensors and mapping technology allow farmers to maximize yields with minimal resources. Referred to as precision agriculture, the technology has also begun to be referred to as “smart” agriculture with the advent of Global Positioning System (GPS) capability for civilian use.


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