Soil and microclimate conditions vary from location to location. Even in a single field soil type, crop type, wet spots, low spots, hills, and numerous other factors can influence field conditions. This is why measuring at a single point is not enough. A single Farm21’s field sensor measures soil moisture at three depths, soil temperature, air temperature, and air humidity. The low price of €79 – per sensor allows growers to create multiple measurement points per field. More sensors greatly increase the quality and accuracy of the data. With this highly accurate and reliable field insights, growers are able to increase crop yield and save on valuable resources.
The Farm21 sensors work completely wireless. Data is transmitted via LoRa, which is a long-range, low energy network. Farm21 has partnerships with commercial LoRa providers in several countries, ensuring nationwide coverage. In other locations, growers are able to build their own network with a LoRa gateway. Farm21 offers pre-configured plug and play gateways. A gateway has a range of 2-5km. Due to the low energy requirements of the network, a sensor can send year-round hourly data on a single, replaceable, battery.
A gateway sends data through to the Farm21 platform. Here, the data is translated into concrete farming advice. The online dashboard can be accessed by growers on all devices. Updates and improvements with added value for growers are made every month.
“During the years of development of our product and platform we worked together with many farmers and crop advisors, trying to learn as much as possible,” says Thomas Houwers, Co-Founder and CEO of Farm21. “We also use the knowledge of growers in future developments in order to create additional products and digital farming advice with a clear added value” That Farm21 puts the grower first, is also reflected in the way the growers are in charge of what happens with the gathered data. “A grower decides with whom he shares his data. He can choose to share his insights with crop advisors or colleagues for example.”
Farm21’s short term goal is to improve the advice from their assistant by including other data sources such as local weather data. This update, expected halfway in 2020, will enhance the quality of the advice.