Just a few short years ago, almost no one knew what agtech was. But today, agricultural technology – from vertical farming to data science – is the new hot thing. In 2017 alone, total investment was over $1.5 billion – a new record for the industry, and one that's setting the stage for explosive growth.
The market potential is almost limitless because the world appetites are too. We all need food, and as our population grows, so does our need to find sustainable solutions for growing food. But agtech is finding a home in a more marginalized industry, indoor cannabis grows. So while many embracing agtech provide essential food for a growing world population, a large sector of cannabis farmers are embracing technology in new and exciting ways that are moving technology forward. Let's examine the most profound reasons to embrace agriculture technology.
1). Water- An estimated 790 million people worldwide, and 1.6 million Americans live without access to clean water. According to the US Department of Agriculture, farms consume 80 percent of the nation's water and more than 90 percent of what is currently being used in Western states. It is our most crucial resource. Using agtech to mitigate water waste in greenhouses and indoor grows regularly decreases water consumption for a crop by as much as 90%, allowing this precious resource to be accessible to more people.
2). Yield - IOT backed agricultural methods through a mobile app has not only added convenience; it has resulted in better crop production cycles and increased crop yields for farmers. Sensors, monitors, fertigation, and motor controllers streamline processes and allow the creation of an ideal growing environment that increases overall yields.
3). Lower Overhead - Using modern agtech allows precise dosing of water and fertilizers while monitoring ph levels. This eliminates the waste of valuable resources but also ensures perfect growing conditions. Precision dosing of fertilizers ensures that expensive products are accurately used to increase yields and cut costs for your bottom line.
4). Lower Labor Costs. Automation not only ensures proper watering and fertilizer dosing, but it also requires less personnel, decreasing your labor costs by reducing labor expenditure. With fewer labor needs, businesses can move employees to more productive and profitable areas.
5). Analytics. Accumulating the data from your farm automation allows farmers to transform information into actionable insights. In just a few clicks, you can customize dashboards, share results and ideas, and make a positive impact on your farm. Analytics help farmers see and understand their data, allowing them to make adjustments, fine-tune business, identify waste, and build on successes.
And this is why digital technology plays a critical role in modern farming. At its core, agtech uses advanced monitoring tools and data analysis to create more, with less, finding ways to increase yields without overwhelming already taxed resources. From sensors, AI, biotech to big data, this cross-section of technologies is changing how progressive startups boost food supplies and make cannabis more accessible.