Precision viticulture: better wine starts with data

March 10, 2017

If there’s one thing we’ve learned working with customers across the agricultural sector, it’s that farming is a precise science demanding nimble responses to continuously changing environmental factors. And because 30MHz is lucky enough to have an award-winning sommelier as a colleague, we know just how high the stakes are in wine growing— where the mix of natural conditions and human intervention can define a vintage for years to come.

Wine growers are natural innovators, using cutting-edge technology and a base of centuries of human ingenuity to overcome the challenges of diverse terrain, seasonal unpredictability, water shortages and the ever-present wild card of climate change. Sensor technology— falling under the bracket of the Internet of Things (IoT), can be a key driver of continuing innovation in agriculture, providing insights and evidence for decisions aimed at greater sustainability, productivity, and efficiency.

Data-driven agriculture

Sensory data can serve as a modern wine grower’s almanac, tracking and analyzing farming conditions, and informing the most effective responses to maximize quality yields and profitability. Optimal, profitable and sustainable water use is business-critical in wine production.

It yields the best product, maintaining predictability and control over grape quality and concentration. Improved water management improves control over salt content, preventing loss of nutrients in soil.

It curbs costs, reducing expenditures in a time when droughts are a consistent reality and maximizing efficiency throughout the production process. Reducing unnecessary water pumping reduces energy costs.

It drives brand equity. Consumers value ecological responsibility. Sustainably grown wine boosts consumer confidence.

Wireless sensors can monitor irrigation in real-time, providing the granular insights needed to optimize and modify water and nutrient delivery, avoiding water stress and over-irrigation.

Insights help you stay true to terroir

What if you could track leaf surface temperature to prevent losses from leaf burn? What if you had real-time alerts on which patches of land need irrigation? What if you knew immediately when a vine was at risk of overwatering? What if you could avoid the costs of a uniform approach to irrigation? What if you had the insights to tailor your approach to any section, any vine— and guarantee a more optimal product, bringing out the best from your grapes every season? What if you could optimize watering based on wind speed and direction, to guarantee that the water you spray actually reaches its intended destination?

What if all these insights were available immediately, enabling you to take action as soon as conditions change? When available immediately in the form of alerts and deep analytics, environmental data captured by sensors makes decision making in agriculture even more proactive, evidence-based and quicker.

A complete view of your agribusiness on any device

The more information you have, the better your ability to make decisions. To fully leverage the data on your environment and transform it into intelligence you can act on, you need the full picture: the ability to examine data from all sources and observe how different variables work together. From 30MHz sensors (capturing metrics including temperature and humidity, wind speed and light intensity) to third-party sensors and other systems or apps (via our API), we center our product philosophy around delivering the most usable data to our customers, so it can be shared across systems and applied as precisely as needed. We know data is our customers’ greatest asset, that’s why we leave full ownership with them. There’s no analytics black box: customers can export and share data however they need in convenient CSV.

Augmenting, not replacing, human ingenuity

Despite significant advances in technology, when it comes to the agricultural sector, nothing beats human ingenuity and experience. Even with the early adoption of automation technology, we know from our customers in agriculture that humans will not be made redundant anytime in the near future. Co-founder and CEO Jurg van Vliet points out in a recent post,

Across industries, the biggest challenge businesses face is not the need to automate minor tasks. It’s ensuring that they have the best, most up to date information on how to act, and when. Automatically tuning a greenhouse system– as opposed to doing so manually– does relatively little for an agricultural business’ bottom line. Saving a greenhouse’s worth of crops by knowing when temperature or humidity changes, and adjusting the temperature accordingly is business critical.

At 30MHz, our aim is not to replace the human element with technology. Instead, we want to complement human innovation— augment human decision-making with real-time feedback on the effectivity of choices, lowered costs and improved efficiency.

An IoT toolkit for any agricultural context

From viticulture to greenhouse monitoring to processing facilities or storage— the right combination of sensors can streamline processes in any agricultural context. Where there’s a need for measurement, there’s an opportunity for innovation. Need inspiration? Have a look at how some of our customers use sensory data, or contact us about your needs.

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