Droughts are expected to continue, and along with them the pressure on growers to conserve, report, and adapt.
Communities globally are coping with the first mega-drought in over 1,200 years. Farmers, a crucial piece of the food system, are feeling the impacts of droughts almost daily. Under immense pressure between rising input costs, increasing regulation, and uncertain water availability, this essential sector hasn’t hesitated to adapt to difficult conditions.
Technology companies are finding ways to help growers better manage resources to the benefit of themselves and the environment. The broad sector offers unique opportunities to improve water and energy efficiency. The best of the technology is offering a way to improve resource and crop efficiency without decreasing, or better yet, while improving profitability.
One of its greatest advantages to growers comes in providing high quality, reliable visibility into their operation via sensors that monitor on-farm data. Real-time insight into water extracted, pump runtime, and energy usage allow a grower to make better business decisions and provide access to a full farm view from anywhere.
One of the barriers can be getting budget approval for technology like this, which is why the better solutions are offering a proven ROI or an innovative revenue stream to cover the costs.
For example, in the Western US, droughts have contributed to a reduction in available surface water for irrigation, leading to increased groundwater pumping. This frequently involves large, deep well pumps that are expensive to operate.
Growers can now access reliable, high quality, real-time data and pump controls that provide insight, savings, and revenue via incentive programs that pay farmers to install controls and reduce grid load. One program offers $200/kW of load shed towards the installation of controls. The payments for curtailment events vary based on grid stress, going up to $2,000/MWh.
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One grower in California was estimated to shed 40 kW over the course of a year, reaching an $8,000 incentive payment for installing the technology. The estimated revenue from event participation was an additional $1,000+ for the summer.
Farms that are using this technology to monitor pump usage enjoy reduced labor costs, better visibility, automated reporting for many regulations and more
The farms that are using this technology to monitor pump usage enjoy reduced labor costs, better visibility, automated reporting for many regulations and more. As the quality of technology and data improves via satellite connectivity, solar power, and other advances, agricultural technology is becoming more reliable and accessible for growers.
Drought conditions are expected to continue, and along with them the pressure on growers to conserve, report, and adapt. The right technology will help farmers to succeed, stay competitive, and rest a bit easier knowing they have a trusted source of truth for their business.