Man using technology to improve water usage in farming

LIVINGSTON, Mont. (AP) — In this Sept. 19, 2017 photo, Jeff Reed holds a wireless rain sensor, which helps reduce his draw of water from the Yellowstone River, in Montana. Reed makes use of the latest technology to reduce water use and improve soil quality on his land in Paradise Valley. (Nate Howard /Livingston Enterprise via AP)

Jeff Reed has made his living in technology including serving as chief technology officer of Arrow Electronics, a company that makes many of the electronics that run our various gadgets and devices. Recently, he has turned his tech skills to what was once a relatively simple farmer’s life — growing organic alfalfa on his property along the Yellowstone River.

After the unprecedented closure of the Yellowstone River last year due to a parasite that killed thousands of fish, Reed turned his tech mind to irrigating his fields — from water rights he holds on the Yellowstone River — more efficiently, with the goal of leaving more water in the river.

"I’m working on the water primarily in response to what’s happening with our fish species," Reed said. He installed high-tech sensors to monitor a variety of data, including — but not limited to — rainfall and the moisture content of the soil, which, when tied in with his pump and irrigation system, allowed him to water only as needed, rather than turning his pivots on and allowing the water to flow all season. "We can predict how much water is […]

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Man using technology to improve water usage in farming
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Man using technology to improve water usage in farming
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Reed turned to irrigating fields - from water rights he holds on the Yellowstone River - more efficiently, with the goal of leaving more water in the river.
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SF Gate
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