Technology: Agriculture’s Most Powerful Tool

All facets of agriculture are measured from how crops are grown to optimal harvest cycles, packaging and transportation, emissions, and knowing how to offset them. That data is essential for adaptation and improvement, and embracing technology can speed up that process.

Learning and Working Faster

In 2023, B&W Quality Growers introduced a new crop, water spinach, on its farm in Fellsmere, Florida. Water spinach’s harvest cycle is the opposite of our other crop cycles – watercress, red watercress, arugula, and spinach. Through a custom-built data system, best practices for growing, harvesting, packaging, and shipping this new crop were developed in just two years.

The data system was built to determine some key factors, such as:

This allowed us to incorporate covering areas to augment production. Controlling the temperature and humidity of an environment removes one of the most uncontrolled variables in agriculture: weather. The ability to capture this data in such a brief amount of time has been instrumental in expanding water spinach production from the current 16 acres to 60 acres by the end of the summer.

We can optimally farm year-round by using the covering areas and our Smart Farming, where we follow the seasonal patterns across the eight states we farm in.

More Sustainable

Technology positively impacts how we sustainably grow crops from the land to the sky. On the ground, the red and green watercress beds utilize water recirculation systems that recycle the water for a net zero water loss on the farm. Besides net-zero water use, the other advantage of recycling is the 100% utilization of the nutrients you input into the systems. The technology doesn’t simply lie in the equipment to run the water recycling system; it measures the water’s temperature, conductivity, and pH, and notifies the team if they are off.

Using drones on B&W’s farms in Tennessee and Florida has been an enormous success for water conservation. Conventional application methods would use 30 gallons of water per acre, whereas intuitive drone technology uses 2 gallons. That has a significant impact.

The planet is changing at a faster rate than ever before, bringing a new set of challenges with it. We need to be able to keep up. Utilizing technology to strengthen our weaker areas provides us with that capability. If you don’t know your data, you cannot improve.

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Author: Hailey Dolan is a marketing and communications professional with a passion for storytelling.


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