Data-Driven Farming

Inspiration: Farmers told Vincent Kimura they needed an affordable way to protect their crops and increase their yields. Once he had an idea to address that problem, he teamed with Ryan Ozawa, Isar Mostafanezhad and Justin Hedani to create the mobile and desktop app called Smart Yields. It is part of the latest cohort of Blue Startups’ companies.

Product: Smart Yields gives farmers data they can learn from, Kimura says. Sensors are integrated with climate and microclimate databases, satellite data and farmers’ observations, allowing the app to monitor conditions such as soil humidity, soil temperature, pH, carbon dioxide, solar conductivity and soil moisture.

Ozawa says the numbers might tell a farmer that a certain level of soil moisture is creating sturdier branches and more fruit. That lets the farmer make “adjustments and do it in a smart way, objective way,” Ozawa says.

Kimura says the next step is data analysis: “Once we have a growth season to compare, we can then apply data science. Further seasons/harvests will allow us to look at predictive analytics based on each crop.”

Market: Smart Yields targets small to medium farms that produce high-value crops such as cherry tomatoes, grapes and cannabis. Fred Lau, owner of Mari’s Gardens, says the app’s automatic monitoring is valuable for the farm’s hydroponic and aquaponic food production as it allows for faster reactions.

“What we have been doing prior to this is taking a handheld oxygen meter, putting it in the tank and then recording it in a composition book. So that’s pretty tedious,” Lau says. “This thing gives you real-time data, and it’s continuous.” He estimates he can get 200 measurements every 24 hours.

Categories: Agriculture, Business & Industry, Innovation, Lifestyle, Natural Environment, Sustainability, Technology