Coral Beach Farms
Canada’s largest cherry grower solves its complex irrigation and frost control problems with RanchMaster
Location: Vernon, British Columbia
Crop Grown: 300+ acres of Cherries
Solutions: Weather and climate, soil moisture tracking, irrigation control, alerting
“Ranch Systems was the only supplier that could deliver an integrated weather, soil moisture monitoring and irrigation control solution with the versatility we needed and at a price per acre that I could sell to the owner”
Ashley Freeman, Farm Manager
Coral Beach Farms grows premium cherries along the shores of Okanagan Lake in the renowned Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. Their cherries are all hand-picked, hand-packed in a state-of-the-art, on-site facility, and shipped directly to customers worldwide. Coral Beach Farms specializes in the production of large, late maturing cherry cultivars. These varieties, combined with their northerly latitude and the cool moderating breezes from Okanagan Lake, enable them to provide freshly harvested cherries in the latter half of July and of August.
Coral Beach Farms consists of three larger properties and several smaller farms grouped into grouped into six separately managed, operating orchards. It is a patchwork of orchard zones serviced by a complex irrigation system consisting of as many as 120 valve stations on some farms. Each station needed to establish and maintain a deep water profile throughout growing season while conserving water usage. Water is supplied by both on-site sources and the local irrigation district. Each operation needed not only intelligently manage irrigation, but also monitor weather conditions for frost alerting during the critical spring blossom period and spray scheduling in the summer. In short, Coral Beach Farms needed not only a very comprehensive solution, but also a flexible one that could be configured to the requirements of each sub-operation.
RanchMaster Wireless Solution
Local Ranch Systems reseller Nulton Irrigation (Oliver, B.C.) designed and installed the RanchMaster solution used at Coral Beach Farms. One or two AquaCheck soil probes were carefully located on each farm to track the soil moisture conditions that would drive irrigation management. Flow meters were installed on pipes supplying water from on-site sources. Valves connected via nodes or existing wiring utilized the RL200 valve controller. Pressure sensors were installed on farms supplied by the irrigation district (to make sure water was actually being delivered when valves were turned on). Finally, six weather stations were strategically sited (with one station serving two farms). The RanchMaster software segmented the sensor data and valve controls into the six operating orchards; each orchard then could track soil conditions, automate irrigation, monitor weather conditions and receive email and cell alerts when selected parameters (like temperature or flow) went out of tolerance.