Helping fruit farmers with frost management
Smart Yields and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union have launched a state-of-the-art technology program, spanning nearly 400000 hectares of land (equivalent to 560000 soccer fields), with the goal of enhancing crop monitoring using wireless sensors and data analytics. Smart Yields uses the Orbit 3 sensors by Sensohive to provide accurate temperature and humidity data in real-time.
Late-season frost can be devastating for crops – and for a farmer’s business. When fruit trees blossom in the spring, unexpected late-season frosts can damage and destroy the tree buds, leading to drastically lower fruit harvest and big financial consequences.
To ensure that the crops are safeguarded, farmers use different heating and fan systems to increase the temperature by the trees. Heating an orchard during the frost season can cost 1200$ per hectare – and knowing where and when to turn on (and off) the heat can be a real challenge. On one side, the farmers don’t want to lose their crops, and on the other, they spend several thousand dollars on heating costs, decreasing their yearly profit.
Today, most farmers monitor temperature using manual, obsolete and costly solutions. This includes traditional thermometers, where they have to run around in their orchards (often in the middle of the night) to record the temperature, and expensive weather stations, which are permanently installed at one location and don’t provide the broader insights required for sufficient frost management.
Last year, Smart Yields did a pilot test with Leroux Creek Foods, which saved their important Honeycrisp apple crop during a late-season frost, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Investigating the market for a cutting-edge wireless temperature sensor for a scalable solution, Smart Yields chose the Orbit 3 sensor.
Smart Yields have this year deployed hundreds of Orbit 3 sensors throughout the state of Colorado to provide farmers with real-time crop monitoring, weather alarms, trends, forecasts and recommendations via their intuitive mobile app.
The Orbit 3 sensors measure the air temperature and humidity across several orchards and sends the data using the wireless and long-range Sigfox network to be displayed in Smart Yields’ easy-to-use mobile app. Smart Yields are using the Sensohive API to get all the data from the sensors and integrate it into their crop enhancement systems.
With strong support from the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, an organization representing more than 22.000 farmers and a history of implementing new technologies, the plan is to expand the solution into a crowd-sourced monitoring network that allows farmers to coordinate and share knowledge across the region to protect their crops and optimize operations.
Using the Orbit 3 sensors creates value by reducing risks and costs while improving performance and convenience.
Benefits for farmers:
- Protection of crops from late season frost through real-time temperature data
- Optimization of operations and frost management
- Reduction of heating costs
- Increase in yields and harvest
Benefits for Smart Yields:
- Best-in-class temperature and humidity sensor
- Long-range wireless network using Sigfox
- Low maintenance and durable batteries
- Easy integration of data using the Sensohive API
About Smart Yields
Smart Yields is an agriculture tech startup that helps small to medium-sized farmers grow more with less by providing access to intelligence through record-keeping and data-monitoring. The company is based in Honolulu, Hawaii, and was founded in 2015.
Read more: Smart Yields