Agriculture is a leading sector that impacts the economic development of a country. Low agricultural production and inefficient irrigation systems have to be remedied to enhance the productivity of crops, and thereby strengthen the economic development of a country. This spurs the utilization of mechanized irrigation systems globally. Smart irrigation is an advanced way of water management in the irrigation process. Traditional irrigation systems, such as surface irrigation, are highly preferred due to their low investment costs. However, in traditional irrigation systems, crop quality and productivity is low compared to mechanized irrigation systems.
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A switch from traditional irrigation systems to smart irrigation is gaining momentum. Traditional irrigation controllers can be programmed as per irrigation schedule; however, smart irrigation controllers monitor weather condition, soil structure, evaporation status, water intake, and water usage and requirement. Smart irrigation controller consists of sensors that have the capability to adjust the sprinkler time based on requirement and weather condition. Thus, smart irrigation controllers help to provide efficient flow of irrigational water, thereby minimizing the problem of water scarcity.
Rapid population growth, food and water scarcity, increase in awareness among farmers about the benefits of smart irrigation, government promotion and investments, low cost of irrigation, and high productivity are the primary drivers of the smart irrigation controllers market. Large gardens and lawns require irrigation of plants and grass periodically. Savings on labor costs have resulted in higher demand for smart irrigation controllers. High costs associated with smart irrigation controllers when compared to traditional irrigation systems is the only restraint expected to hamper the smart irrigation controllers market.
The smart irrigation controllers market can be segmented based on type and region. Based on type, the market can be segregated into weather-based controllers and soil moisture-based controllers. The weather-based controllers segment can be further segregated into signal-based controllers, historic ET controllers, and on-site weather measurement controllers. Signal-based controller uses meteorological data from available source and the ET value is calculated for a grass surface at the site. Extracted ET data is then transferred to the controller by a wireless connection. ET controllers are programmable as per various geographic and soil type.
The curve can be adjusted for temperature and solar radiation. On-site weather measurement controllers use weather data collected on-site to calculate continuous ET measurements and water accordingly. Thus, the soil moisture-based controllers segment can be further divided into suspended cycle irrigation systems and water-on-demand irrigation. Suspended cycle irrigation systems are integrated with traditional timer controllers, which provide complete monitoring of watering schedules, start times, and duration. Water-on-demand irrigation requires no programming of irrigation duration. It monitors upper and lower threshold limits, which initiate the irrigation when the soil moisture level fails to meet those levels.
Based on region, North America offers immense growth potential for the smart irrigation controllers market. People in developed countries such as the U.S. and Canada are aware about the benefits of these systems and are investing significantly to enhance crop productivity and minimize water loss. This has augmented the market for smart irrigation controllers in these countries. The European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is promoting investments in agriculture and rural development in Europe. The prime focus of CAP is to conserve water by improving irrigation infrastructure and motivate farmers to utilize improved irrigation technology. This would lead to a switch from traditional irrigation systems to mechanized irrigation systems in the next few years. About 45% of total abstracted water in Europe is used for irrigation. High depletion of water reservoirs has resulted in utilization of efficient irrigation systems. This is estimated to drive the demand for smart irrigation controllers during the forecast period.
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Key players operating in the smart irrigation controllers market include Hunter Industries, Skydrop, HydroPoint, and The Toro Company.
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