Palm date trees – a staple agricultural product in desert regions, and the main crop grown specifically in the UAE – is an industry with an imperative need for water use efficiency and an irrigation revolution.
They’re a highly water-consuming tree – with an intake of up to thousands of liters per tree in just one month, with water becoming increasingly scarce in the face of escalating global water shortages. For Mawarid Intelligent Irrigation Technologies (MIIT), a UAE grower with hundreds of thousands of palm date trees in the country alone, even a small improvement in water efficiency results in significant savings.
Over two years, from 2021 to 2023, irrigation techniques were tested and monitored in dozens of MIIT’s trees. Two irrigation controlling systems were juxtaposed to monitor the differences between the former long-run irrigation technique (one tap valve per tree) and SupPlant’s AI-powered autonomous solution, which included tailored plant sensors aimed for accurate soil moisture measurements, emphasizing central leaf elongation and fruit development, along with integrated weather forecasts and a deep analysis of the pattern of plant growth.
The first year alone showed significant savings, but then the second year exceeded all expectations.
SupPlant precision agriculture systems saved 35% of water use in palm date cultivation over two years, even with summer conditions proving harder and drier. The key is perfect timing and precise irrigation quantity all year round.And there were some additional “perks”. Not only considerable amounts of water were conserved, but remarkable results were also observed in the crops themselves – with a surge of 22% in overall yield in 2022, and 30% superior yield in 2023 – particularly in fruit size.