Use Case:
Cannabis Cultivator in California’s Emerald Triangle Uses Sensors to Improve Water Management

Problem

With strict cannabis cultivation laws, water-use regulations, and high operating costs, cultivators must overcome multiple challenges before making a profit. In order to maximize yields, cannabis cultivators must fully understand growing conditions and critical components of the process, like watering. Improper watering of any kind can lead to decreased yields. But overwatering of cannabis plants also wastes a valuable and regulated resource, so an unexpected loss from an irrigation leak could be devastating.

Recognizing that reliable data could help him conserve water and improve his business, a California cultivator recently contacted Onset for a cost-effective solution that could monitor multiple points across his property. His goal was to purchase a system that would not only monitor outdoor crop, greenhouse, and dry room conditions, but also provide him with real-time alerts of potential problems, so he could react quickly to save water – his highest priority

Solution

Onset recommended HOBOnet, a web-enabled monitoring system, with the flexible HOBO RX3000 station as its core component. The station can receive data from as many as 10 wired plug-and-play sensors, and up to 50 wireless sensors, so cultivators can measure weather conditions such as wind and rainfall, and environmental conditions such as relative humidity and soil moisture – without having to run cables that can interfere with operations.

The HOBOnet system offers wide coverage with 900 MHz wireless mesh technology for a strong, reliable signal that can communicate through vegetation. Equipped with either Cellular, Wi-Fi, or Ethernet communication capabilities, the RX3000 station seamlessly pushes data to HOBOlink, Onset’s cloud-based platform. With HOBOlink, users can view and manage data and configure real-time alarm notifications sent via text and/or email if conditions exceed user-set thresholds.

Results

The cultivator mounted a cellular HOBO RX3000 station on top of his water tank. Using the RX3000 water module and custom-length cable, he connected a water level sensor to the station and deployed it inside the tank. Using HOBOlink, he set up alarm notifications so he’s immediately informed (by text or email) when the water level in the tank is getting low or is expected to change.

He also installed Onset’s new wireless HOBOnet Multi-Depth Soil Moisture Sensors at two different crop locations and set up alarm notifications for these as well. Because the multi-depth sensors monitor soil moisture along the entire root depth, he is able to improve irrigation planning and ensure that sufficient water is available, without overwatering. To further maximize crop yield, the cultivator also deployed several HOBOnet Soil Water Potential/Temp Sensors to better understand the stress the plants experience given available moisture in the soil.

After quickly seeing significant savings in water consumption, the cultivator has expanded his HOBOnet system to include soil moisture/temp/EC sensors, as well as light intensity and temp/RH sensors in his greenhouse and dry room to better track conditions there.

The data I collected with the HOBOnet system enabled me to fine-tune my irrigation system, so I’m now consistently using the appropriate amount of water. I’m amazed by the system’s powerful wireless signal strength and how easy it was to install the sensors. And I’m happy to report I haven’t received any alarm notifications in over a month!

Products Used

ProductHow it was used
HOBOnet with RX3000 StationFor continuous remote monitoring and instant access to data from anywhere, at any time
HOBOlink, Onset's cloud-based platformTo view and manage data and send alarm notifications via text or email should conditions exceed user-set thresholds
Water Level SensorTo measure water level in water tank
HOBOnet Multi-Depth Soil Moisture SensorsTo measure moisture in soil along the entire root depth
HOBOnet Soil Water Potential SensorsTo measure water available to plants
HOBOnet SM/Temp/EC SensorsTo measure soil moisture, temperature, and electrical conductivity