a scruffy coarse jeans, shirt sleeves rolled up, high gray beard is full cheeks spread to the left and right of out of the hat will Gerry like a genuine farmer. But as he expertly from her pocket a smartphone, charting the term sold in science and technology, he began his analysis in order to farm all data points, Gerry and juvenile genius like silicon valley.

in a (in California) in ventura county farm has more than 140 years. But the native of the farmer never afraid to break the conventional farming methods, for example: grow in hot, dry California berries.

in fact as early as more than a decade ago, Gerry was already in the camaro coastal blueberry farm planting blueberry in fine irrigation manner. He boldly abandoned the family tradition of citrus and butter fruit tree planting, to grow more than 30 strains of blueberry bushes production, supply the global market.

“we’ve always wanted to improve the environment,” said Gerry, “soil health is the root of all problems. If the soil is not good, you will lose a long-term competitiveness. If cannot be sustainable development, then we will die sooner or later.”

although the current drought let social concern of agricultural water problems, but in a long time before they have been trying to sustainable farming techniques.

as California’s agricultural surface water supply reduces about 33% this year, and must be carried out on the 6-7% a year to irrigate their fields lie fallow system, more and more farmers have to take fine irrigation methods to increase planting.

“these plants are perennial plants,” Gerry said, pointing to his 170 acres of blueberries, “we don’t remove or casually in a number of other plants, so we need them always healthy growth.”

Gerry said, blueberries is especially sensitive for soil moisture, too dry or too wet will influence their growth, so he installed in his farm Hortau intelligent irrigation management system, the real-time monitoring of plant stress and soil moisture. These wireless solar monitoring station is equipped with the soil and temperature sensor, the growth of crops can be real-time feedback.

by smart phone, tablet or computer, in May, according to the current soil moisture tension/temperature/humidity data such as deciding whether to need to irrigate. Through online dashboard drawings of plant stress threshold table, Gerry can clearly know when I need to open the computer automatic drip irrigation system, and more importantly – in the best water and nutrients to root zone closed system in a timely manner.

investors to fine farming

since 2013, Monsanto (Monsanto: a famous American agricultural chemical company) acquired the Climate group (Climate corp.), fine irrigation time/farming has become a hot technology investments.

California face rare a worst drought on one hand, on the other hand, agricultural technology and unprecedented, a series of activities emerge in endlessly, such as GAI AgTech Week, Forbes’ Reinventing America and so on. Agricultural technology summit, agricultural innovation exhibition and agricultural investors BBS and so on, in every investor on the calendar this year.

Hortau, and most of the other fine irrigation companies recently, deeply attracted the attention of investors. Earlier this month, the company from Advantage Capital Agribusiness Partners (vc) has just won a $5 million in financing.

other will complete the financing deals in recent months of precision agriculture technology companies have a Farmer Business Network ($15 million) by Google Ventures, investment, VitalFields (the financing $1.2 million) and powwows ($3 million in financing, sponsored by the government and angel investors investment).

about Google and careful cultivation, Eric schmidt, the Innovation Endeavors (VCS) last year to participate in the farming to optimize the robot the Blue River, Technology of financing activities, the company completed A round of $10 million, by the Data of Collective Venture Capital led), can imagine only in silicon valley has gained A lot of tension in the area.

but what an agricultural technology company will persevere until the last? It depends on the acceptance of the company’s products and they are more willing to take what kind of solution to reduce costs, and reduce the use of water resources, and other energy and reduce the impact on the environment.

fine cultivation of practical application in the fields

both perennial crops and crop, central coast of California growers have begun to widely use the placed in farmland transfer plants need water and nutrient data precision farming.

in the local strawberry farmers, for example, improve the quality of soil has become a habit now. They usually by fine irrigation methods such as electromagnetic soil positioning and laser measurement to get more water.

other widely used in the central California coast of precision farming are:

s GPS navigation of tractors and harvesters

s weather data monitoring

s automatic irrigation system


variable frequency pumps

s aerial

Drip irrigation


“local plant adopted these fine after irrigation management tool, can know to farmland in a timely manner, not only reduce the waste of water resources as well as enhance the growth and fruit yield of crops,” an expert of the gill Hortau irrigation management system, luiz inacio lula da silva said, “find an innovative way to save resources and at the same time to increase production is the development priority of the agriculture, and those who have adopted fine irrigation farmers should be encouraged and rewarded.”

water conservation is the most important

similar to California in alternatives, on a farm in oxnard – El Rio – is to find a way to how to increase production at the same time as much as possible to save water during the drought.

in oxnard, famous strawberry production area, is now facing a serious shortage of water resources, not only the soil salinity problem caused by the depletion of water resources is also very serious, and seawater intrusion, urban and rural development, water and water treatment, etc.

although serious water resources problem, the farm’s operations manager parr halsted said their way of strawberry planting this year can reduce about 27% of the water consumption can be compared with last year, it’s all thanks to drip irrigation and precision irrigation methods such as intelligent monitoring soil moisture tension sensor.

“I personally concerned with water conservation,” halsted said, “I think this is very important, not just in the natural level. We can not live without water, at least for the moment we have no choice.”

in the face of the water less and less, the fourth consecutive year of drought in extreme cases, governor brown issued an executive order in April, to promote agricultural irrigation management and improvement of water utilization technology field.

local agencies are now responsible for the different levels of production, the water resource sustainable management in the near future will become a new standard in California.

as the hot summer is more and more close to more than in previous years, drought has caused an economic loss of about $2.7 billion, here is not including the loss of 18600 jobs disappear – the above data from California, Davis, watershed science center released a report: “the primary analysis: research on the effects of drought on the economy” in 2015.

all these show that the future situation is very serious, our local growers have to raise awareness of resource conservation and adopt measures to the reform of the fine irrigation.

“the effects of water problems to our daily life is significant,” halsted said finally, “the importance of water is self-evident, protection of water resources is our unshirkable responsibility for the generations to come.”


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