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Arable Labs launches new tools for data-driven farming

Arable Labs enhances Mark 2 device, launches mobile app, customisable API, and sensor-integrating Bridge device.

At the center of Arable’s innovation is the Mark 2, an all-in-one weather station, crop monitor, and irrigation management tool. The Mark 2 is a solar-powered IoT device that synthesises both climate and plant data to produce actionable insights for all growing conditions around the globe.

More than 30 enhancements

The Mark 2 features more than 30 enhancements, including improved sensor accuracy, expanded cellular connectivity, extended battery life, and a protective UV coating to withstand extreme temperatures and harsh environments.

The device measures over 40 elements, including rain, solar radiation, canopy cover, crop water demand, environmental stresses and microclimate indicators. By sensing the temperature and spectral conditions of the crop, Arable can determine not only how rapidly the crop is growing and it’s current growth stage, but also how stressed the crop is and in many cases the cause of that stress.

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In weather forecasting, Arable uses the measurements on the ground to augment global forecast models to make each forecast specific to the grower’s field. - Photo: Arable Labs
In weather forecasting, Arable uses the measurements on the ground to augment global forecast models to make each forecast specific to the grower’s field. - Photo: Arable Labs

Streamline irrigation plans

Hourly water stress based on comparison of the crop’s temperature and that air temperature shows whether the plant has enough water available, allowing producers to streamline their irrigation plans and link decisions to outcomes for effective land and resource management.

Weather forecasting

In addition to measuring the crop and environment, Arable’s solution also integrates with third-party data to provide local weather forecasting and enhanced satellite imagery. In weather forecasting, Arable uses the measurements on the ground to augment global forecast models to make each forecast specific to the grower’s field. “Today, most weather forecasts operate on large grids, up to 60 miles across. Given the differences microclimates create for each location, this is not specific enough for reliable decision making. By taking the best forecasts available, adding accurate, continuous ground truth data, and using machine learning models that improve over time, Arable is able to create a new level of accuracy in predicting key weather outcomes that improve on current forecast accuracy by over 30%”, says Arable Labs.

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The Mark 2 measures over 40 elements, including rain, solar radiation, canopy cover, crop water demand, environmental stresses and microclimate indicators.
The Mark 2 measures over 40 elements, including rain, solar radiation, canopy cover, crop water demand, environmental stresses and microclimate indicators.

Satellite imagery

While satellite imagery has long been used in agriculture to monitor fields, there are two main challenges to using this data for decision-making on the farm, says Arable Labs: the images aren’t that frequent, and when available, they can be dependent on good light conditions and unreliable due to interference from clouds.

Arable claims it solves this problem by taking zero-interference measurements directly above the plant canopy, with the same types of sensors deployed on satellites, at five-minute intervals. These measurements are then integrated on the full spatial scale of the satellite to provide reliable recommendations that take into account every corner of a growers field and every key event of the growing season.

New method of connectivity

The company says it has also pioneered a new method of connectivity. Taking advantage of new cellular technologies that are part of 5G, Arable’s solution connects to existing cell towers – no complex local radio networks to manage – and it does so at a range six times greater than that of a typical cell phone.

According to Arable Labs, in North America, this allows potentially 95% of farmland to connect simply and easily, compared with an average of 60% today. In countries like Brazil, this is an even bigger advancement, as it will move the ability to connect fields from 7% to 70%—and that number will only grow in the coming years with additional investment in cellular infrastructure.

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Taking advantage of new cellular technologies that are part of 5G, Arable’s solution connects to existing cell towers - no complex local radio networks to manage - and it does so at a range six times greater than that of a typical cell phone.
Taking advantage of new cellular technologies that are part of 5G, Arable’s solution connects to existing cell towers - no complex local radio networks to manage - and it does so at a range six times greater than that of a typical cell phone.

Arable Bridge

When deployed in a field Arable also serves as a platform to connect and make useful familiar third-party sensors. By tying Arable’s data together with sensors like soil moisture probes and irrigation flow rate sensors, all key data about the growing season are put in one place. The result is simplicity in the field, data in context for better decisions, and a lower cost, says Arable Labs.

Arable does this through Arable Bridge, an intuitive and easy-to-use way to collect data from auxiliary sensors and seamlessly integrate it into the Arable platform for useful, real-time analysis. The advantage of such a simple system gives individuals and enterprises flexibility and deep insight into their crop health and quality, all in one place.

API 2.0: Arable Open

Open, Arable’s API 2.0, allows platform users to contribute to, edit, and collaborate. Arable Open was designed for interoperability, meaning the data can be integrated into a wide range of digital farming platforms, already in use with BASF’s xarvio FIELD MANAGER and Netafim’s NetBeat.

Arable Mobile

The Mark 2 launch coincides with the release of Arable Mobile, bringing the insights of Arable’s software platform to a mobile app. Users can access data collected by Mark 2 devices across their operation anytime, anywhere. Mobile features decision tools such as irrigation insights (water demand, precipitation, and ETc in daily and weekly amounts), in-field weather (including frost alerts, heat spikes, forecasted 24-hour low & high temperatures, dew point, and humidity), and disease risk (field wetness, past 24 hours of surface wetness, past 48 hours of precipitation, and a rain forecast).

Arable Mobile is included in all subscriptions, and available in seven languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Ukrainian, and Polish

Also read: In-field sensor amalgamates growth metrics

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