Precision Ag in the News

Chuck ZimmermanPrecision Ag in the News

According to a story from the Cleantech Group, researchers have found a way to harness electricity from trees and this has an agricultural application.

Boston, Mass.-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers said this week they’ve engineered a way to use the natural power generated by trees to recharge battery operated sensors that can detect forest fires.

The development figures prominently in an emerging field of technology in which wireless sensors, monitoring devices and novel uses of biological systems for agriculture are being put to use to save resources and improve growth in plants.

The MIT researchers are not alone in their innovative efforts. Several other new startups and university projects are underway in the area of precision agriculture.

In simple terms, precision agriculture is devoted to applying technology to better manage use of water and other natural resources to improve agricultural production. To date, the private sector has made a significant investment to tailor information technologies for agricultural applications, according to experts.

The other potential sensor applications for agriculture and vineyards include optimizing the use and timing of fertilizer application as well as early warning for frost and excessive heat and prediction of the potential for disease and pest outbreaks.

Some of the other wireless-sensor startups in the area of precision agricultural include Grape Networks and Fruition Sciences. Both are focused on the high end of the winery market.