The startup’s product was first used in California’s wine country as wildfires damage crops
A Virginia-based startup has deployed what he calls the first “predictive farming system” capable of using AI, IoT and machine learning to provide winemakers and specialty crop farmers with agronomic data that can be used to predict and solve problems. issues related to climate change and other environmental factors.
The company, Agrology, has developed a patented system of hyperintensity sensors that can be deployed on a crop to collect data on nano-climates, regions, weather patterns, air quality and ground truth, which can all of which can be used to predict environmental issues, such as dryness and smoke odor.
Agrology’s sensors, or GroundTruth Arrays, measure a variety of data useful to growers, including conductivity and matrix potential in soil, volatile organic compounds and fine particles in air, and salinity in water. . The data, which is encrypted, anonymized and secured behind a firewall, is fed into the company’s prediction engine and combined with historical and regional information to anticipate changes and provide alerts. In 2021, Agrology’s models helped farmers exceed their yield goals by 20-40%, the company said.
GroundTruth Arrays install in less than 10 minutes and autonomously update the Agrology mobile app whenever the user’s phone is in range. The system’s network-edge architecture means users have access to data, which is refreshed every 30 minutes regardless of cellular coverage or canopy density, the company said.
“Farmers are facing new challenges and current sensor and data collection technology does not provide a streamlined experience to provide growers with useful data and a complete view of their threats and issues,” Agrology said.
Agrology touts the affordability of its system, which “allows farmers to monitor their acres for the cost of a Netflix subscription,” unlike traditional sensor platforms that require a large upfront capital investment. Agrology offers an annual subscription which can be paid annually or monthly.
The subscription includes installation and replacement of all sensors, real-time monitoring and secure access to a farm’s data through the app, which provides what Agrology says are intuitive and easy to implement.
Agrology is a public benefit corporation and a partner of UC Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the National Science Foundation, which awarded it the SBIR Award and 1.25 million dollars in SBIR grants.
Until now, the primary application of Agrology has been in the California wine industry. The system is currently in use on 500 acres in Northern California, including the vineyards of the Duckhorn Wine Co.
In January, Agrology published a smoke exposure report for Sonoma and Napa counties, which showed relatively low smoke in vineyards, which is a good thing for the local wine industry, as the so-called smoke smell from wildfires can damage grapes. Earlier this month, the company published another report detailing an “extraordinary level” of drought in both counties in 2021, which bodes ill for the wildfire season this year.
“Unfortunately, growers now face the constant threats of a changing climate,” said Agrology co-founder and CEO Adam Koeppel. “It’s imperative that growers can track and understand all the important elements in real time, from water to soil to smoke. We built Agrology to do just that. A system and app to give growers insight into what’s happening now and in the near future. »