Adam Wolf is co-founder and CEO of Arable, producers of a portable weather station, Arable Mark 2, which provides localised weather and plant health status in real-time via a mobile phone. He coined the term ‘Decision Ag’ to describe how agri-tech tools could provide insights to farmers in order to improve decision making over a variety of timescales.
The theme of the REAP conference is time; Adam explains why this topic is so relevant to Arable.
“I often think about ‘what is the lifespan of the insight we are generating?’ Some insights like a burst pipe may require an SMS alert this moment because it needs immediate attention. Frost is also in this category, as is excess heat and risk of fire.
“Irrigation usually needs only weekly, or occasionally daily data because there is not a lot of dynamic decision making on water – – – the plumbing and the labour availability impose their own limitations on an agile schedule.
“At Arable we have focused our product around alerting farmers to meet these needs.
“Harvest planning needs continual updating, first to organize marketing plans (including printing coupons and promotions!) but gradually this gets localized to allocating scarce labor and capital (ie storage) in the days ahead of time. To some extent we work with breeders to quantify the clock time and thermal time of their varieties for greater sensitivity in planning out planting and harvest schedules by the growers.
“And then there’s the other challenge of increasing farmer returns on the time and labour they put in. Every generation half as many people are managing essentially the same amount of land, which means each person has a larger and larger set of responsibilities, less time per field, likely more drive time to get to the field as they are spread across a wide geography, and is called upon to do more different jobs (management but also reporting and data collection and such). I think one of the big roles of agtech now is providing productivity tools to increase returns to labor (yield per farmer), which basically amounts to time saving.
REAP 2021: Changing Time(s) for Agriculture – 10th November 2021
Imagine a world where agriculture is not constrained by time. The ability to manage and manipulate time is increasing and REAP 2021 will explore the advances in technology and breakthroughs in science that is making this possible.
REAP brings together people from across the agri-tech ecosystem who believe that innovation is the engine for change. The conference bridges the gap between producer needs and technology solutions and showcases exciting agri-tech start-ups.