i think a problem with many cannabis grow automated irrigation systems is that growers dont do things like set up lysimeters and soil conductivity sensors to get the same actionable feedback as one does when hand watering.
Hand watering is great cause it gets the growers out to every plant, picking up the pot, looking at the coco and the plant, etc. I feel like a lot of growers think of automated watering as a set it and forget it system when in fact it requires even more monitoring and attention, just in less time. With things like lysimeters, one could program the right amount of irrigation to different areas of the grow giving one the same “per plant basis” amount of irrigation that hand watering can do (in an ideal world). EC/moisture sensors can let you know when and in what way the plants dry out (top down, bottom up, sides to rootball) and/or help you determine the salt concentrations of the your media as the grow progresses. This could help the grower plan an ideal watering scheme with the right type of emitters for the media used or help plan watering and fertigation cycles to reduce waste and nutrient immobilization.
IMO, the future of commercial (not artisanal or boutique) production irrigation/fertigation is going to be automated. There is no reason why a system designed to emulate the necessary actions of whoever is in charge of watering wouldnt be designed for cannabis as there are already systems for other indoor crops. Besides the obvious savings in labor and overhead (after initial investment), automated systems also aggregate data so one could make conclusions about the water usages of particular plants, sections etcetc and optimize fertigation, ventilation, and nutrition. And automated systems are reliable. They arent going to miss that back section cause they were snapping or instagramming
**edit i will note though that a huge disadvantage of making a complex irrigation system is trying to troubleshoot it when it doesnt work. that sucks. a lot. but the payoff is worth it imo
Lots of systems out on the market, would be great to see more being implemented. awesome topic!