Farmers can now look to the cloud for the latest updates on their crops. And this time, we don’t mean that literally. Agricultural company Granpa Co has teamed up with Hitachi for the latest high-tech app to use its Cloud Computing service for their newest greenhouse and help farmers check on the status of their crops without having to step on the field.
They can access the app using their smartphones or computers to check on the temperature in the greenhouse and the amount of sunlight that will reach the crops. The greenhouse is linked to a server which uploads and stores the data on the cloud. They also have a soil-free system that is perfect for use in harsh environments like the desert, or land that was affected by natural disasters, such as with the city of Rikuzentakata which was hit by the tsunami of the Great East Japan Earthquake. They used 8 of the 10 available greenhouses to grow lettuce in the area.
The seeds of the plants are sown in the center of a hydronic pool, and as the plants grow, they are pushed outwards until they reach the edge of the pool where they can be harvested. The system itself costs 35 million yen (approx. $427,000), but they are still finalizing the costs of the server-linked cloud computing service. Japanese farmers are under intense pressure to improve productivity because of the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade zone from China to Chile and including major agricultural exporters Australia and the United States.[ via The Telegraph ]