Developments Using Swan Systems to Manage Water Applications

3 min read
May 18, 2022

Watermetrics has worked with Swan Systems for around 3 seasons in New Zealand. There have been several improvements and developments over that time.

Swan now is operating in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Mexico, Chile, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Singapore.

SWAN Systems is a precision irrigation and fertiliser platform founded by farmers in Western Australia in 2016, and won the Global Agtech prize, competing against finalists from across five countries and recently Swan displayed at the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit in California.

Global demand for food and water is set to double over coming decades. The changing climate is putting pressure on our available resources, making it critical to conserve what we have.

At the same time, irrigators are recognising the importance of data in informing their planning, budgeting, monitoring, management, and reporting of water and nutrients applied. Whether it’s agriculture or urban green space, the use of smart software can help make sense of this data to enable better management decisions.

That’s where we come in. SWAN Systems is a science-based and user-friendly decision support system that will help you to navigate these factors in a cost effective and accountable way, helping you to save time and resources, increase yield and reduce harmful leaching/runoff.

Swan gathers information on soil characteristics, climate and individual crops. Through the combination of satellite imagery, crop agronomy, it calculates accurately the timing and quantity of irrigation required to achieve the desired targets for best crop performance. Fertiliser requirements are included.

Traditionally this information has to be gathered from multiple sources and as such is difficult to bring together in a meaningful way. Swan gives a clear picture of where the crop is at in an easy to decipher way. It updates continually so any operator can see at a glance what is happening.

In New Zealand Watermetrics has Swan accounts in Dairy, Potatoes, Viticulture and Kiwifruit.

Feedback from these operators commends

  • Weather recording and forecasting is proving reliable and accurate and Swan gives detailed weather information that is proving great value and easy to see.
  • The satellite imagery is showing views of the property that operators simply do not see when walking the farm. It is easy to see problems by viewing the color index and this identifies problems way before they are noticed at ground level. One viticulture operator uses the satellite imagery to track water movement through the blocks.
  • The prediction of water requirements is drastically altering the farmers approach to irrigation which always was applying water when gathering some limited weather information. With Swan the watering can be done earlier and in a much better combination with predicted rainfall.
  • This helps save water and at the same time meet a crops exact requirement and we note many examples of significant crop improvements in quality and yield.
  • The water budgeting tool has helped operators allocate limited water supplies to best serve the crop. With some suppliers charging extra at peak times this tool helps be in the best position to minimize these additional costs by having an early understanding of when schemes are likely to be short of water and have their crop best prepared.
  • The gathered data is proving a must have in any environmental audit situations where the information proves the merits of a watering decision.
  • There is a growing interest in the ability of Swan to not only calculate water requirements but actually turn the irrigation controller on to automatically apply the desired amount.

See Swan's Overview in this video:

SWAN Systems - Latest Features, Release 12 - February 2022

But are based on automatic KCVI use in calculations and updated and simple to use presentations.

This sort of technology is new to many New Zealand farmers but in this world where efficient water use is a must and detailed crop management is increasingly important and necessary then we see Swan Systems as an important management tool.

Contact us if you’d like to learn more.