Automated weather station short course set July 28 in College Station

Students will learn how to conserve irrigation water, energy

By: Robert Burns

A Texas AgriLife Extension Service student worker services an automated weather station in San Antonio. (Texas AgriLife Extension Service Photo by Charles Swanson)

A Texas AgriLife Extension Service student worker services an automated weather station in San Antonio. (Texas AgriLife Extension Service Photo by Charles Swanson)

COLLEGE STATION – Students attending the Automated Weather Station for Landscape Irrigation workshop in College Station July 28 will get to build a weather station from the ground up.

“What’s really neat about this course is that it’s hands-on,” said Charles Swanson, AgriLife Extension landscape irrigation specialist, College Station. “In the afternoon, after we finish the classroom instruction, the students will actually build a weather station.”

Held 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. at 317 Scoates Hall on the Texas A&M University College Station Campus, the course is hosted by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and the Irrigation Technology Center-School of Irrigation.

Though always important for conservation, irrigation management based on real-time weather conditions has become increasingly crucial during times of drought, aquifer drawdowns and expensive energy, Swanson said.

The course is designed for anyone who manages an irrigation system, either professionally in an urban setting such as a park, golf course or other commercial landscape, he said. But in past years, farmers with large irrigation expenditures have also attended the course.

“It’s not just about water management,” Swanson said. “It’s about crop management too.”

This course covers the operation of automated weather stations and how to use them conserve water, he said.

“Students will learn basic psychometric — or climatic — relationships that influence water demand, electronic terminology and soil-water-plant relationships for proper irrigation water management,” Swanson said.

Morning topics will include selection of sensors, data loggers, power supplies and peripheral equipment necessary for downloading and transmitting weather data.

“There will also be instruction on installing, calibrating and maintaining weather
stations to ensure data quality control,” he said.

Other topics will include use of weather stations and potential evapotranspiration, or PET, networks for automated irrigation scheduling.

After the classroom instruction, students will assemble a weather station from components, program the onboard computer that monitors the various sensors, and test it under simulated wind and moisture conditions, all under instructor guidance, Swanson said.

Registration is $155 for licensed irrigators, irrigation technicians and irrigation inspectors, all of whom will receive eight continuing education units toward renewal of their licenses upon completion of the course.

Registration for non-licensed Texas Nursery Landscape Association members and Texas Master Gardeners is $116.25. To register online, go to search for the keyword “station.”

For more information, contact Swanson at 979-845-5614, . Information on other school of irrigation courses can be found at

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