Inspiration

Water use has become a very important topic recently, especially in some of the western states right now that are experiencing drought. The Smart Crops app was created to enable users to visualize crop water needs and yield data. When a user adds input to factor in the cost of irrigation and the crops value this app can help identify an ideal crop.

What it does

This app provides two tools to aid people in finding an ideal crop.

  • The 'Crop Selection Tool' allows users to pick a state and compare crops. After each crop choice the user enters the crop price. The crops average yield multiplied by this crop price will be used when determining the ideal crop at the end. When the crops have been selected the user then inputs their irrigation costs. This info will also be used when determining the ideal crop at the end.
  • The "Crop Detail Tool' allows user to visualize detailed crop data for a chosen state. Yield and water use data are plotted on a bar graph by year. The user can drill down into this data by clicking on a line in the graph to get all the details available for the crop. This includes the number of planted acres, irrigated acres, yield per acre, irrigation source (ground or surface), and amount of irrigation used.

How I built it

I am a big Android fan so I decided to build this as an Android application. The data set behind this app is supplied by the USDA in the ARMS - Irrigation and Technology Water Use report. Available @ http://innovationchallenge.azurewebsites.net/#ArmsTab

Challenges I ran into

Mostly just the typical Android development issues - targeting multiple devices/screen sizes, and dealing with the sometimes finicky Android Development Studio IDE.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Food security is an important topic to me. The worlds population is growing quickly and those working in agriculture need to find new ways to use resources more efficiently and produce higher yields. I am proud to play a small part in aiding these endeavors by putting useful agricultural information into peoples hands.

What I learned

One of the most interesting things I found is the differences in how much water is used for irrigation for the same crop, but in separate states. Some states have very similar irrigation needs, but others vary wildly. For instance, on average California uses three times as much water to irrigate cotton than Texas. Wow!

What's next for Smart Crops

The example I gave about California's water use for cotton compared to Texas is not as easy to find as I'd like. In the next update to this project I will build in features to allow users to easily compare crops between states.

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