AUSTIN (KXAN) — How can farmers know when to water their crops, and how much to water?

Technology being developed by Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension aims to answer those questions to not only help out farmers, but also the environment.

The technology, called Liquid Prep, uses a soil probe that connects with a mobile app.

Texas A&M Researcher Gurjinder Baath said determining some of these critical factors can be a huge challenge for farmers.

That’s where this artificial intelligence comes in.

The initial plan is to offer the technology to 250 small farms whose livelihoods are threatened due to water-related climate and other environmental challenges.

“We are trying to enhance its scalability, so that it not only takes the soil moisture data on the back end, it processed the weather forecast information, the soil information, the crop information,” Baath said.

In addition to helping the farmers save water, the technology has the potential to help prevent fertilizer runover by limiting overwatering.

That in turn can help ensure safe drinking water and prevent harmful algae blooms in bodies of water downstream.