Technology has changed the landscape of farming, highlighting how connectivity (or the lack thereof) can severely disrupt the supply chain. While demand is growing, growers are still trying to get back on their feet after COVID-19 and the supply chain disruptions it caused. Unfortunately, the journey will be longer and harder for small-medium companies who were also hit the hardest.
Thankfully, small-medium agriculture companies also stand to gain the most from recent technological advancements and embracing digital transformation. Numerous small-medium farming companies have begun using indoor farming to combat today’s obstacles. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the ways you can do this as well.
4 Ways Indoor Farming Software Improves Yield and Efficiency
Many indoor growers have turned to AI-based indoor farming software to maximize yield and efficiency. This allows them to make the most out of a controlled environment, from the detection of disease and pests to accuracy in forecasting and space management.
While indoor farming is on-trend, there are different sets of challenges to consider. To date, manual yield prediction has been inaccurate. By using software, yields from prior harvests, pest management trends, and other data can help increase accuracy for better crops.
Maximizing yield continues to be an issue, but there are a few things that help optimize the system for more bountiful growth and harvests.
Space planning is an intensive activity that takes time and is only effective when every variable is taken into consideration (which increases the amount of number crunching required). But when done right, space planning not only ensures that crops are not cross-contaminated but also that they are in the right area with enough room to maintain the proper climate, and more.
On the other hand, inadequately planned or poorly planned spaces lead to decreased results during harvest time and is one of the top causes for indoor farming inefficiency and even failure.
An AI-based indoor farming management solution helps reduce the burden of space planning significantly. Instead of manually recalculating after every change in the environment, the software can automatically crunch numbers based on the variables which you only need to enter once. Every growth space can be planned and tracked down to trays, batches or even individual plants as they move throughout the facility. Growers get an overall snapshot of the space, providing templates to help assign plants to the correct spaces within zones.
Growers can also play around with hypothetical scenarios and get instant numbers to make informed decisions.
LED lights are crucial to the growth process in indoor farming. Growers must learn how to properly position the LEDs to provide the right amount of light exposure. They also need to plan different lighting cycles, on and off times, and intensity levels to optimize growth.
Using an indoor farming management solution introduces automation to the mix and reduces human intervention required for ensuring all plants get optimal lighting.
Controlling the climate helps in a myriad of ways. There are no sudden surprises. There are no pockets of cold snaps coming in to destroy the plants, nor are there chances for crops to experience droughts. When all things come together, everything works great, but setting the temperature and walking away isn’t an option. Indoor farming requires monitoring and regular changes (albeit) in the climate to create the perfect environment for growth.
Different plants require different climates at different points of their growing cycle, so there should be a rotation of temperature set points, humidity, irrigation, and air circulation.
Once again, indoor farming software becomes immensely useful as it automates climate control. Software controlled climate is also more reliable and consistent than manual setups.
In hydroponic systems, soil and growing mediums, it is crucial to control the nutrients plants receive to ensure a good harvest. Producers must account for the specific needs of each crop, the amount of nutrients each plant will need, the best times to deliver those nutrients, and more.
Calculating the right amount of nutrients can be done manually but doing so for every plant, on different farms with different environmental factors is a complex task. There is also a large possibility of human errors. By using an indoor farming software, growers can eliminate the risk of errors and deliver unmatched speed and consistency.
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Where does this lead? These functions cannot work well if there is no system in place to align all needs. Digital solutions are consistently being created to address one specific function when there should be one tool that can address all functions while collaborating a team. In other words, it can be difficult to find an indoor farming management solution that does everything.
Finding the Right Indoor Farming Software
As we keep moving into a digital space, studies are showing that automation in farming is more effective than manual labor. But achieving that automation relies heavily on the software you’re using. So which one to use?
There are many indoor farming solutions on the market today but not all of them are built the same. For instance, RedBud Software assists with controlled environmental agriculture operations by tracking everything on one platform to increase efficiency, accountability, and yield. Gathering this information in one platform enables data-driven decision making that allows indoor farming operations to optimize growth and improve yields.
In addition to the basic planning and monitoring functions, the ideal indoor farming software should also offer:
• Task management
Indoor farming is much like outdoor farming—but in a tightly regulated environment. As with any farming operation, indoor or outdoor, there are many tasks that need to be done, and accountability for those tasks is crucial. RedBud automates the assignment of production tasks based on the crop. All communications are centralized to keep everyone in the loop, and staff can monitor tasks via mobile app, streamlining everything into a simple, printable task list.
• Maintenance and Equipment
RedBud makes it easy to track inventory, schedule preventative maintenance, and keep a log of emergency repairs to determine the best time to replace equipment. Each routine maintenance task can now be automated, removing the potential for human error.
• Pest Scouting and Management
RedBud allows users to keep track of their pest scouting data (also known as pressure), cultural data (like PH and humidity), and their control applications. Farmers can see this data all together and tie it in with other data such as harvest and yield. Advantages include the ability to quickly spot pest trends and evaluate the efficacy of pest control measures.
RedBud Software: A Data-Driven Approach to Controlled Environment Agriculture Operations
Improving efficiency and yield isn’t a one-day event. It’s an ongoing process that must be consistently monitored and revised. RedBud Software has taken a data-driven approach to controlled environment agriculture operations – embracing the digital transformation taking place in agriculture and enhancing connectivity among producers and staff while providing the data that farmers need to learn and grow.
From lab testing and soil samples to power data analytics, RedBud Software captures all the intricacies of indoor farming in one application. It’s the next generation of indoor farming technology, poised to streamline operations and increase efficiency. Teams can collaborate from different farm spaces through the app, creating synergy and symmetry in the way things are handled.
Embracing solutions to help move the agricultural industry forward by way of indoor farming is inevitable—and producers who aren’t relying on data to manage operations will be left in the dark. Improve yield and efficiency the right way, using Redbud Software. To find out more, request a demo or contact us to meet our team.