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GPS to help irrigate farms in Georgia

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division, US is developing a state water management plan that will consider the needs of municipalities and industries as well as farmers who need water to keep crops healthy during Georgia’s long, hot summers. The technology includes special sprayers that apply varying amounts of water, depending on the temperature and dryness of the soil.

Wireless networking, such as a 100-square-mile system planned around the rural southwest Georgia town of Morgan, may help save water by allowing farmers to monitor irrigation systems using video cameras and GPS, said Harrison, an adviser on irrigation issues.

The latest survey shows the state with nearly 1.5 million irrigated acres, putting Georgia among the top six or seven states in the nation that rely on sprinkler systems as opposed to surface watering, Harrison said. Irrigation has allowed Georgia farmers to diversify and is largely responsible for the growth of the state’s $465 million vegetable industry and its $1.6 billion turf industry.