Posted on

Smart sensing tech makes it simple for growers to optimize crop production, farm to fork

Growers of ornamental and edible crops can use the 30MHz platform to capture and manage real-time data on crops and environments.

From cultivation to harvest, packing, processing and shipping, agri- and horticulture faces challenges that can be avoided with environmental and crop-level data. Real-time monitoring with wireless sensor technology empowers agribusinesses to look back on their crops’ history and current status, quickly respond to prevent a range of risks including disease, rot and sunscald and take proactive measures to ensure the highest quality, best flavor and most efficient use of resources. Developed with input from leading growers, the smart sensing solution offered by Dutch-founded agritechnology provider 30MHz makes it easy for growers to deploy wireless sensors and start capture the metrics most crucial to their operations in minutes, without technical expertise.

30MHz sensors make it simple for users to collect a variety of metrics and to access the data on any device and to view the data alongside data from other sources.

Photos courtesy of 30MHz

“We’re making actionable growing data accessible to agribusinesses of all types. What we’ve seen is that whether it’s greenhouse, vertical, arable, ornamental, cold store, processing, packing, transport, retail or livestock, physical data is crucial to optimisation and improved production” notes Joanna Madej, head of product marketing and strategy. “That data needs to be easily accessed— so on any device— and presented flexibly for the needs of the individual role, whether it’s the growers, the technical manager, or the COO. That’s where customizability comes in. At the same time, we know no one in agriculture has time for complex, fragmented solutions with steep learning curves. That’s why from sensor deployment to dashboard setup and the user interface, everything is modular, quick and intuitive, so growers can focus on doing what they do best.”

Capturing the metrics that matter

“Yes, we provide customers with sensors, but we’re not really a sensor company” Madej explains. “We’re looking beyond the question of ‘what sensor do you need?’ to ‘what metrics, what insights do you need to be more effective?’ Our sensor portfolio has applications across crops, and across contexts. A sensor might have one application in a greenhouse, another in a packhouse or cold store. Ultimately, we source the sensors our customers tell us they need. We make sure they’re rugged and wireless, and we make sure we’re providing customers with an infrastructure to capture accurate data in high volumes and see it in visualizations, graphs, heatmaps and alerts that make sense.”

Real-time monitoring of their crops enables growers to change their strategies receiving immediate feedback as to what works and what doesn’t.

30MHz enables customer to captures metrics including: crop-level object temperature, ambient humidity, VPD, dewpoint, light intensity, soil moisture and EC, airflow, weather (rain gauge, wind speed, light, wind speed) and CO2. Real-time sensor data can be viewed alongside data from other sources, including climate control systems, shelf quality control and traceability.

Data that delivers results

At three years old, 30MHz has over 150 customers across 5 continents, spanning agri- and horticultural industries. “We’ve seen the difference real-time, granular, crop-level data can make in this industry, even in a relatively short time. Results have included:

  • 5-10% reduction in energy costs across large scale greenhouses by monitoring temperatures at extremities of greenhouse and maintaining more constant temperatures
  • A fruit storage customer immediately identified overnight malfunctions in their cold stores, which was leading to significant and unnecessary product loss
  • Flower grower significantly reducing mildew (and so boosting production) by maintaining humidity levels below 80%
  • Pepper growers reduce production losses from skin damage by 2-3% by monitoring surface temperature. ROI > 1000% payment. 1-2mth payback
  • Plant breeder paid for investment within 2mths by almost completely eliminating pesticide use by using our pointed microclimate sensor (keeping conditions below the point where pests propagate)
  • UK packhouse saving manual labour time and costs (and diverting to more productive uses) by replacing manual data collection with real time sensors. 100%+ ROI

“Real-time monitoring enables growers to experiment and tweak their strategies, with immediate feedback on what works and what doesn’t. This sort of innovation is growers’ intellectual property, so we make sure all data is owned by those same growers— with the ability to selectively share and communicate their results. Customers are the sole proprietors of their data, and can easily export their data. Furthermore, to facilitate communication with consultants and partners across the chain, we make widgets and dashboards shareable with adjustable permissions within and outside the organization.”

At the growers’ pace

“30MHz was founded by cloud computing experts— a robust and reliable architecture is at the heart of what we provide.” says Madej. “Agriculture will only generate and make use of more data over time. As data endpoints proliferate, having an architecture that can handle this volume will make a major difference to businesses. We make it easy for agribusinesses to start small and dip their toes into smart sensing tech, but we’re here for the long haul, and provide an architecture that’s anticipating the future. Our customers can add more sensors and new data endpoints at their pace without having to worry. A single gateway can support around 4,000 sensors— the potential is immense here.”

30MHz’s rugged, wireless sensors are capable of capturing accurate data in high volumes which can be seen in visualizations, graphs, heat maps and alerts that make sense to growers.

“Because we are not growers ourselves we always listen to our customers. They define our roadmap. They know the industry that we are operating in in a way we really don’t.”
Although sensors are a major part of its business, Madej said 30MHz is looking past sensors.

“We are increasingly partnering with other leading technology companies making sure our data platform can be one central point for all the data that growers are working with,” she said. “That means that we will keep adapting to the needs of our customers. We have the infrastructure to keep up with them.”

 


For more: 30MHz, https://www.30mhz.com.

 

This article is property of Hort Americas and was written by David Kuack, a freelance technical writer in Fort Worth, TX.