Now is one of the most exciting times to be in the agtech space, with the technology driving its breakneck advances getting more and more sophisticated. At The Yield, we’re the little agtech start-up that could, leading the charge with some of the most advanced farm sensing equipment in the world.
Agriculture of course has been and always will be the industry that underpins almost everything else; it’s not one most people pay attention to, but as the biggest user of global resources and the source of the world’s energy, it’s become home to a fascinating blend of traditional methods and technological change.
Right now it’s at the centre of one of the biggest global challenges: we need to increase food production 60 percent by 2050. It’s amazing that the very thing that we depend upon for survival is subject to one of the most unpredictable forces on the planet. When you know how much of our food supply could be lost in even the tiniest variation of weather, it’s a miracle that we exist.
Our mission at The Yield then is to transform food and farming practices that will feed the world without destroying the planet – by building secure, scalable digital technology. We take microclimate sensing data and combine it with predictive modelling, so we can help growers increase their yields and reduce their risks. We then deliver the data in easy to use apps so that growers can make, fast, informed decisions.
While there are many sensors and sensing systems on the market, The Yield’s product – Sensing+ for Agriculture – is the first of its kind in that it’s a complete end-to-end system, from the hardware and sensors in the ground, through the data analysis platform, through to the insights sent directly to the Sensing+ app on the grower’s phone.
We also use true Artificial Intelligence to run our models, letting us predict local conditions and reduce uncertainty. Microclimate conditions vary enormously and drastically affect important on-farm decisions, so our AI-powered technology predicts microclimate weather conditions and converts it into crop-specific knowledge. These predictions help growers make vital decisions like when to irrigate, feed, plant, protect and harvest their crops.
Take, for example, the need for irrigation. Growers keep track of the water they put onto a crop but there was previously no easily accessible data measuring the water that is lost through evapotranspiration (ETo). In summer, when daylight hours are long, and conditions are hot and windy, growers can potentially face enormous daily water loss. We can predict metrics like wind speed, air temperature and relative humidity for the next seven days at crop level, predicting ETo and water balance so growers know exactly when and how much to irrigate.
“We had a dry period early last year, which led to us increasing water. A lot of that decision was made on gut feel. But Sensing+ will be able to tell us more accurately. Having that ability during growing season is critical,” said Matt Pooley of Pooley Wines in Tasmania.
Decision-based agricultural solutions, in our perspective, is the future of farming. A real person with their decades of experience and knowledge can never be replaced; but they can be given the tools to make their decisions faster, smarter and better for their business and for the environment.
If you’d like to find out more, take a look at our website or visit us at the Irrigation Expo.
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