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Peter Fogel

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ISRAELI TREES CAN TEXT MESSAGE THEIR FARMERS WHEN THIRSTY
3/27/2009 5:23:55 AM
Hello Friends,

I read an article today about a unique war to conserve water. One thing we can't live without and is becoming a scarcity world wide. The evidence of that is the consumption of bottled water that in most cases hasn't proven to be of very high quality.

As a matter of fact many scams have been discovered and there is a trend to return to "normal" water that's been shown to be at least as good as the bottled version and much cheaper.

That said, scientists in Israel developed a device that can text message the farmer when their plants/trees need to be watered. This will save up to 40% of the water used in the past to irrigate their lands. Quite a considerable savings.

Read on, I'm sure you'll enjoy the article.

Shalom,

Peter

Israel Develops "Text Messaging" Plants

Posted: 25 Mar 2009 12:56 PM PDT


"Feed Me Seymour" Israeli scientists have developed a product that enables plants to tell farmers that they are hungry or even turn on the water itself.  OK its not a talking plant like "Little Shop of Horrors" its a sensor that measures the stress of plants and their water levels.

Israel is a country with a severe water problem, and this invention will enable farmers to use water only when needed. It is projected to save farmers up to 30 to 40 percent in water use. More Below:

Israeli trees can text message their farmers when thirsty
By Karin Kloosterman March 25, 2009

It sounds like a fantasy of Audrey II, the colorful man-eating plant from the Little Shop of Horrors movie: Israeli scientists have developed a new device that taps into the stem of a tree and when water levels are low, the tree can text a message, email the farmer, or turn on the irrigation tap to water itself.

Measuring electric conductivity inside the tree, a parameter of water stress, the Israeli researchers Eran Raveh and Arieh Nadler from the Volcani Institute of Agriculture, say that Californian citrus and mango farmers, banana plantations and vintners have already expressed interest in the technology, which can be programmed by the farmers themselves.

Now developing it into a product, Raveh tells ISRAEL21c that it will take about three to four years until the novel device is on the shelves: "We have a water crisis here in Israel and need a way to irrigate more accurately," says Raveh.

The device, still without a name, i Usually [devices today] measure soil water content."

Measuring tree water content this way, says the plant and soil specialist, is "complicated and takes a lot of time until you get a 'true' measurement, because there are many varying parameters involved."

Cheap, simple, accurate

To get a true estimate of the moisture level in a plant or tree, a farmer must make a grueling check of 26 points in the ground around the plant.

"We've found a different way for measuring a tree?s water status: by sticking probes - three simple nails -- into the main stem of the tree, we measure electric conductivity of the stem, and analyze the data to tell people if the tree is under good water conditions. It's important to be able to do this in a simple and cheap way," says Raveh, who came about the idea by accident: ?Our solution is cheap, it can be automated and is very accurate.

"We were doing some other work, and realized that the data that came out of it reflects tree water status," he says.

This data is the intellectual property that the future company will revolve around. Whether the information collected will be transmitted by SMS, email message, fax, or sent to switch on an automated tap, is a matter of simple programming.

For tomatoes and potatoes too

For now, the team will continue refining the first product, shaped like a small hammer -- for trees -- and will continue fine-tuning it to apply it in farm produce as well. Raveh envisions the cost will be very affordable for most farmers, about $250 per orchard: only one probe will be needed to reflect the water content in about every 500 trees.

"It can work on every stem and doesn't matter what kind of plant material," he says. "Olives, palm, banana -- at the moment we are working with big trees, but it's a matter of calibrating [the device] to move it to younger and smaller plants."

Orchard farmers everywhere, and the planet, will be saying thank you. "In big orchards, water use is a problem," says Raveh, who estimates that an orchard with thousands of trees could cut its water use by almost half. It could also spare trees and plants from being over-watered.

He doesn't expect the device will be that useful for the homeowner with a few trees on a lot, because in this case it's not difficult to see if a tree is water stressed. A "smart" tree that can send text messages, however, could be used a novelty item to entertain and teach the kids about water, plants and the environment.

Yid With Lid

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Peter Fogel
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John Leal

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Re: ISRAELI TREES CAN TEXT MESSAGE THEIR FARMERS WHEN THIRSTY
3/27/2009 5:43:55 AM

Hi Peter

Any invention to save water is a good thing, especially when it involves whole orchards.

I won't tell you how we used to water our old lemon tree in the back yard.

Bottled water has become a fashion accessory.

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Peter Fogel

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Re: ISRAELI TREES CAN TEXT MESSAGE THEIR FARMERS WHEN THIRSTY
3/27/2009 4:00:05 PM

Hi John,

I agree and it's a particularly serious problem here in Israel since we are constantly suffering from water shortage.

I don't know how you watered your lemon tree but when I was in my teens my father used to water our fruit trees individually until he had a watering system installed. Damn time consuming but he enjoyed it.

In the past I used to buy the bottled "mineral" water until I read about all the scams and the tests showing hat normal tap water in most cases has less impurities then all the bottled water.

The city I live in has the most fantastic spring water. No bottled water in my home now unless I'm on a trip.

Shalom,

Peter

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John Leal

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Re: ISRAELI TREES CAN TEXT MESSAGE THEIR FARMERS WHEN THIRSTY
3/27/2009 7:26:12 PM

Hi Peter

I'll give you a clue about watering the lemon tree. It was in the days of the outside toilet and usually done after dark, lol.
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Peter Fogel

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Re: ISRAELI TREES CAN TEXT MESSAGE THEIR FARMERS WHEN THIRSTY
3/28/2009 5:54:20 AM

Hi John,

Yeah, I got it. I hope that wasn't the only source of irrigation for that poor lemon tree though. :)

Shalom,

Peter 

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