Can you transform a traditional indoor farm to a modern growing facility that helps you create optimal agronomic conditions? This has been our priority, through a collaboration with Sweden’s second largest greenhouse and Ecobloom. By now, we have spoken about the development of our service, EcoSense for gathering, managing and acting upon your farm’s data. These past few months we have been dedicated to training and improving this further.
Upon collaborating with one of Sweden’s largest greenhouses, we have uncovered factors in this facility preventing it from being optimized even more and properly allocating resources for the best possible growing conditions.
The farm our team has been working in, and most indoor farms today only use 1-2 air quality sensors for the entire facility. In this case, it gives off results that are mostly inaccurate and ultimately, will affect the growing process. In this greenhouse, we have installed our own EcoSense nodes, including 10 of our cameras to increase resolution and to better study the environment and plant’s health. Because of this, we now have a more accurate benchmark and overall insight into the food production process, in real-time. At present, the existing service provider does not give recommendations for specific farms which is something we at Ecobloom make sure to consider and personalize when working with different types of indoor farms (vertical farms and container farms for example). Each section of the farm is unlike any other. Our findings, using the micro-climate overview created by EcoSense suggest that the greenhouse itself was built in such a way that some areas of the farm are more unevenly optimal for growth than others. This presented itself when our dashboard showed that in selected areas of the farm, crops grow significantly smaller, and in other seasons they tend to get overgrown at a faster rate. Through this, we have identified the best growing zones within the farm and analyzed their conditions so that these ideal areas can be replicated everywhere.
Since this collaboration, our team at Ecobloom has learned a lot from uncovering these issues, as well as better understanding the logistics in the industry. Some clients of these farms have specific requirements such as length, (plants cannot be past the packaging size) or growth stage the crops have to be in, upon transportation. At present, the ordering process is still something that can be improved, as a huge amount of food waste occurs from mismanagement when more than what is needed is grown right away so that there will always be more than enough crops to send out for orders. Although this “works” to an extent for some now, it is not ideal if one of the farm’s goals is to reduce food waste in the long run and to cut down costs.
This issue can be tracked back all the way to the cycle planning phase, which is critical and time sensitive. Tasks here include managing batches in different stages of growth. When overlooked or miscalculated, without the proper tools and solutions, problems following this are oftentimes only visible when they are too late to correct. Overall, our solution’s ability to identify and analyze variations in microclimates alleviate such issues and find them at a stage early enough to change or prevent. All these are accessible from the dashboard. EcoSense today has the ability to help with yield increase as a result of insights provided by our solution on how to optimize production. It can support the reduction of costs and increase in sales by being a helping hand to farmers in achieving as close to 100% as possible when harvesting the crops that have been germinated and transplanted. While a similar amount of crops can still be produced, less and less of it is wasted. EcoSense on its own, provides value from day 1 but it continuously learns and gets even better over time and with every farm.