Open Source Orchard

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2023: $30,000.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2025
Grant Recipient: KC Bailey Orchards, Inc
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Josh Bailey
KC Bailey Orchards, Inc


  • Fruits: apples


  • Crop Production: irrigation, other, water management
  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, farmer to farmer, networking, on-farm/ranch research, other, technical assistance, workshop
  • Energy: energy conservation/efficiency, energy use, other, renewable energy, solar energy, wind power
  • Farm Business Management: agricultural finance, budgets/cost and returns, feasibility study, financial management, labor/employment, other
  • Production Systems: holistic management, other
  • Soil Management: other, soil analysis
  • Sustainable Communities: community development, community services, employment opportunities, infrastructure analysis, local and regional food systems, new business opportunities, other, partnerships, social capital, social networks, sustainability measures

    Proposal summary:

    At this stage, it’s well-known how critical it will be to increase our food supply for a surging world population in coming years and decades. One of the most important components to addressing this is through the adoption of digital technologies at the farm level to manage labor, resources, and variability more efficiently. The Open Source Orchard Project will contribute to the development of digital agriculture from an Internet of Things (IoT) perspective to effectively help farmers increase their daily productivity and efficiently manage inputs more sustainably. In addition, a main objective of our project will be to utilize open source solutions to develop our systems at a fraction of the cost of current commercial solutions, with the hope of breaking down this barrier of adoption for farmers.

    Working with the Purdue OATS Center, we’re hoping to use KC Bailey Orchards, Inc. as a model farm for digital agriculture development that addresses the needs of Northeast agriculture, and have identified network connectivity, irrigation management, irrigation automation, weather data collection, asset tracking, fuel tank monitoring, and dashboard integration as our forefront objectives.

    By kickstarting this project with initial SARE Grant funding, we believe we can have a true impact on the Northeast region with support from Purdue’s Ag & Biological Engineering Dept. (ranked #1; U.S. News, 2022) and farm location in the heart of Wayne County. With outreach involving farm tours/demonstrations, public engagement, and provision of data for academic usage, we will strive to revolutionize Northeast agriculture in the digital era.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project seeks to address the need for cost-effective digital agriculture solutions that make it easier for farmers to manage their daily operations/inputs efficiently.

    1. LoRaWAN Gateway Deployment – assess optimal implementation of an on-farm LoRaWAN network to interface with all sensor nodes in a commercial orchard in the Northeast

    2. Irrigation Management – determine optimal way to sense drip irrigation needs/success and deploy LoRaWAN sensors in irrigation zones/orchard blocks based on soil maps, elevation, and apple variety

    3. Irrigation Automation – implement LoRaWAN valves for irrigation zones and determine best setup of valve transmitter/cable and irrigation box 

    4. Weather Data Collection – establish a LoRaWAN weather station and collaborate with 2-3 other farms in the area with already-established weather stations to compare weather patterns near and away from Lake Ontario 

    5. Asset Tracking – assess LoRaWAN asset tracking capabilities and attach nodes to specific pieces of equipment to track live location/historical paths taken

    6. Fuel Tank Monitoring – apply LoRaWAN tank monitors to 2 diesel tanks to view levels at any time for refill planning 

    7. Dashboard Integration – integrating all data to one open-source dashboard for live andaggregated data visualization, and potentially providing updated imagery with drones

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.