Las Cruces – Researchers at New Mexico State University are using satellites to help pecan farmers.
NMSU won a nearly $870,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Researchers plan to study various aspects of pecan trees and how the data they gather correlates to satellite imagery.
Satellites take photos using visual, infrared and other bands of light all the time. Unfortunately, it's difficult for researchers to use those satellite images to know whether trees are stressed from a lack of water or nutrients.
Towers have already been constructed in two pecan orchards near Las Cruces to record air temperature, relative humidity and other information.
NMSU's work will focus on nitrogen and water modeling in orchards as well as validating water use and conducting educational outreach so that growers have the best information. In the end, researchers hope to be able to tell growers exactly when specific orchards need to be irrigated and fertilized.
The team from NMSU will also work with partners at the University of California-Davis and Texas A&M to study other trees such as almonds and walnuts.