Autogrow has been in business for over 27 years but in the last four years they have been focussing on cloud-based solutions and digital platforms. “That is the future of the industry,” said Kylie Horomia, Head of Brand & Communications.
Hwang Shuang Chuan Regional Business Partner Manager in Asia adds, “There is a push towards automation, SEA (South East Asian) governments are driving technological advances as a means to improve food security. There has been a big increase in interest since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Hwang Shuang Chuan Regional Business Partner Manager in Asia
“Having sufficient workers has become a big issue for many companies and jobs such as fertigation were always done manually. Someone would have to go along and measure the doses and apply the nutrients, now we can do it all automatically. The nutrients can be measured and applied with precision using our systems which then frees up a worker to do another job. In terms of recovering investment obviously the larger growers will see a return faster than the smaller or mid-size growers. Using Autogrow’s systems can make a big difference. It is not only the mechanisation of procedures, but the data produced.
“Different growing environments have different requirements, for example a smart greenhouse will need a sophisticated system whereas a tunnel would work with a simpler one.”
One of the major benefits of this kind of controlled system is the consistency of output which is what the growers want. “We can set this up and it goes automatically so he doesn’t need to worry about it. We can also manage the climate within the growing space.”
Kylie: “It is a continual learning experience, like a recipe. You keep repeating it and adjusting it until you find the sweet spot. The key word for automation is consistency. Consistency of quality and consistency of yield.”
Growing in a controlled atmosphere also means you can get multiple crops each year, Hwang takes the example of ginger where you get one crop each year when its grown outside, but it’s possible to achieve 3 or 4 when it done in a controlled environment.
The future is in the clouds
FarmRoad is a new crop management platform offered by Autogrow which uses A.I. and combines all information and data together in the cloud. Currently the platform offers yield prediction to tomato growers with modelling showing up to 95% accuracy.
Kylie explains, “This information is invaluable to growers; they can set prices on it and be certain that they can deliver to their contracts. They can utilize the information to accurately predict staffing levels for harvest and by controlling for the growing conditions they can plan the harvest for the shoulder seasons to get better returns.
“We say to growers, if someone comes to them with a one size fits all solution, it’s probably too good to be true. There is no magic fix as there are so many variables. However through our research, development and working with fantastic growers that recognize the value in yield prediction - we can help control the variables and give more certainty when it counts.”
For more information:
To learn more about FarmRoad – www.farmroad.io