U.S. farms looking at going wireless

Nov. 10, 2010 at 8:41 PM
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Internet hot spots, or WiFi, aren't just for coffee shops and airport terminals anymore, U.S. researchers say; the technology has a place on American farms.

Researchers at Texas A&M University say wireless technology is increasingly being used on farms to help produce better crops, generate more income for growers and provide a superior product in stores for consumers, a university release said.

Texas rice farmers will benefit from the technology, scientists say.

"We're working on a system that uses wireless sensing in rice production," Lee Tarpley, a Texas AgriLife Research plant physiologist, said.

"We'd like to be able to continuously monitor field conditions such as temperature and soil moisture, and using sensors allows us to do that. We can put them in the field and collect the data from them inside on our computer," Tarpley said.

As wireless sensing networks become commercially available, Tarpley said, they will help farmers make crop management decisions.

"We can't do that using the more typical wired sensing network because the cost of running the cables out to the field would be too expensive," he said.

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