Farm Manages Irrigation by Collecting Rainfall Data
Rio Grande Community Farm is a non-profit urban farm located on City of Albuquerque Open Space. The largest community garden in New Mexico, it produces and distributes fresh, organic produce to a variety of organizations in Albuquerque. These include schools, food banks and non-profit organizations.
The farm relies on a large network of volunteers, community gardeners and staff farmers to maintain healthy crops. Since most of the volunteers are not on site every day, it is difficult to for everyone to know when plants need to be tended to.
Rio Grande installed an AcuRite Weather Environment System with Wind and Rain, which continually measures accumulated rainfall amounts, monitors current weather conditions and forecasts future weather conditions. All this information is automatically uploaded, via My AcuRite, to Weather Underground, where gardeners and farmers can view the information on their computers, smart phone and tablets.
Kemper Barkhurst, member of the Rio Grande Community Farm Board of Directors, reports that using the AcuRite system to collect rainfall data has helped them not only improve their crops, but also save water. The reason, he said, is that AcuRite helps them know when and when not to use their irrigation systems and sprinkler systems.
"It is important to our field work and irrigation needs to monitor the weather conditions at the farm," Barkhurst said. "[The AcuRite weather environment system] has improved our watering schedule so that we have monitored enough rainfall that we can skip irrigating."
Barkhurst added that having rainfall totals is as beneficial for organic farming as it is for growing a few vegetables in your backyard.
"Get a weather station so you can keep a record of what's happening in the field even when you’re not there," Barkhurst said.