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5 reasons commercial farming needs to embrace technology

Lucy Starley
October 14, 2021
4 min read
Farmer in commercial farming greenhouse inspecting and documenting tomato crop
Farmer in commercial farming greenhouse inspecting and documenting tomato crop
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Stepping forward with technological advancements

Agriculture is one of the oldest industries known to man, and many traditional methods and commercial farming practices are still unrivalled. However, technological advancements are continuing at a rapid pace, and rather than shun these, commercial farmers can utilise them to improve their operations.

Technology will probably never completely replace the need to physically observe your crops to assess their health or any potential risk factors. But, technology can work in harmony with commercial farmers and growers to enhance crop management, increase yields and improve profitability.

If you are still using a pen and paper, a whiteboard or other manual way of recording and storing crop management data then now is the time to look forwards to a new way of working.

24-hour access to live data

Handwritten data, be it in a notebook or on a whiteboard is only accessible when you have it in front of you. This limits who can view the data and when it can be viewed. It also rarely gives you an up to date or live picture of the status of your plants and growing environment.

By using smart agri-sensors such as Grow Sensor, you will have access to a wealth of environmental data that is live and accessible to you at any time of day and in any location. Multiple people can also have access to this data at the same time as you, for example, your management team or even your entire growing team.

This high level of access to your environmental data allows for maximum control over your growing conditions and can quickly alert you to any potential risks or disasters that could be caused by fluctuations in conditions.

A 24-hour digital view of your growing operation can reduce plant loss, energy wastage and the people power required to manually record data.

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Historical data to help you look forwards

If you use a whiteboard to record data about your plants, task lists and environmental conditions, then this information is likely to be erased on a regular basis. While that data will have been useful whilst it was visible, all of its importance is lost the second it is erased. Written data stored in notebooks can also be difficult and time consuming to look at when a big picture view is required.

Historical data about your grow cycles and crop management techniques is vitally important to keep hold of in order to develop and improve your operations.

Grow Sensors store and allow you to download all the data they collate. With an archive of detailed digital data, you will be able to make better-informed decisions when it comes to planning crop cycles, rotations and management practices.

Data driven plans and decisions lead to more environmentally friendly growing that requires less inputs and has less risk of plant loss, wasted energy and is more cost effective.

Intelligent data

Working in commercial farming, you will be aware, there are many important correlations between different environmental factors, for example the relationship between temperature and humidity, or Vapour Pressure Deficit.

These intertwined relationships are tricky to analyse without the help of technology that can conduct mathematical equations quickly and accurately. Again, the results of these equations can be stored and mapped over time to show progression or areas for improvement within your operations.

Depending on the size of your growing area, hand collating data could take days or weeks. The combination of Grow Sensors, soil sensors and the associated app can turn this lengthy process into one that can be conducted in hours, with the added bonus of generating detailed graphs and reports for deeper analysis.

Staying competitive

Commercial indoor farming is a competitive industry. Customer demands are changing quickly and the need to stay ahead of the curve has never been more important for commercial growers.

Customers want high quality produce, at affordable prices and they want lots of it. This means that it is essential to adopt any methods or technological aids to help you to grow more of the best quality crops in efficient time frames.

Using Grow Sensors across your growing space gives you that big picture view that is needed for effective crop management. Having access to high level data gives you the maximum chance at maintaining high quality, healthy produce that will easily satisfy the consumer demand.

This is vital in order to sustain your reputation as a grower and make your business as appealing as possible to potential customers.

Utilising smart technology shows that you have a detailed understanding of your operation as a whole. Using your archive of data you can quickly demonstrate the strength of your crop management skills over time and show how this is driving innovation for your future growing developments.

Save time, money and energy

The traditional pen and paper equipment may seem like the cheapest way to record data, but with it comes costs associated with time, data inaccuracies and missed opportunities for optimum plant growth.

A network of Grow Sensors can collate data from across your grow space far quicker than any human, so the first saving is most definitely in people power. This frees your team up to do other important tasks, like crop registration.

Energy loss is a key area where businesses are losing money and wasting precious natural resources. The high level data and emergency alert system provided by Grow Sensors allows you to quickly and easily see where improvements could be made to your indoor growing setup.

Whilst this can incur costs if more energy efficient equipment is required, it can also save money by highlighting if your equipment has lost efficiency or is not optimised for your unique set up.

Humans are great, but there is always the potential for human error when it comes to data collection. Collating data digitally reduces the risk of inaccuracies, or at the very least makes them easier to see and manage than if that data is recorded and stored in old fashioned ways.

Pests and diseases can quickly spread, particularly in grow spaces that are not fully optimised to reduce these risks. Plant loss from pests or diseases can be avoided when you have intelligent data from which to drive your crop management.

Takeaways

Traditional commercial farming practices are to be respected, and in some cases are still the best methods to work by, but there is also room for technology.

Using Grow Sensors in place of manual data collection can help you to improve the quality, quantity and profitability of your grow cycles, whilst facilitating crop steering.

Access to live 24-hour data is essential in order to prevent plant loss, energy wastage and to keep costs down.

Using technology alongside physical plant monitoring is the best way to effectively and efficiently manage your operation.

Gaining access to historical and live data at a high level allows you to make data driven decisions that will result in positive outcomes for your plants and your reputation as an indoor grower.

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Lucy Starley
October 14, 2021
4 min read

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