While water makes up nearly three quarters of Earth’s surface, many regions are suffering from severe droughts due to a lack of rainfall. This has been particularly devastating for farmers who are unable to sustain crops, in turn losing revenue. Today’s severe droughts, such as those in California, are in parallel with a rapid increase in population–there are more mouths to feed on the heels of poor crop growth. Together, these issues have increased the need for alternative agriculture practices. There is a dire need to improve the water situation to have sustained success.
Recently, a Silicon Valley company, CropX, raised $9 million dollars from investors to launch their latest project, sensors that send data to a cloud platform where data is analyzed and give farmers recommendations about water distribution on their farms.
There are tremendous benefits to an improved water distribution system. Previously, farms would have to manually water crops or purchase an intricate underground network that would line the crops to deliver water. The problem with past methods is that there is no way to regulate water distribution–meaning that every area of the farm–regardless of water need–received the same amount of water. The new cloud system developed by CropX allows farmers to determine how much water goes where through recommendations from the sensors.
CropX has been able to leverage technology, along with its understanding of the agriculture industry to develop these sensors that are able to relay information to a cloud platform. The service is then able to make recommendations about how much water to distribute to each area of the farm via a smartphone application. CropX’s ag-tech approach is a result of a joint effort between Israeli technology researchers and New Zealand irrigation technology experts. The company’s efforts are just the first step in improving water usage efficiency, and industry leaders expect more to be done.
As the drought drags on, the need for water is becoming more severe. CropX has provided a solution that would benefit farms, farmers, and even consumers. The need for efficient use of water is very high, and the ag-tech company’s sensor-cloud integrated system is an initial step in the right direction. In the future, it is possible that the actual framework of the system is improved, including better irrigation systems and an improved cloud platform that will allow farmers to have remote access to water the crops. For now though, CropX is planting the seeds for an agriculture-technology revolution.