With more states legalizing medical and/or recreational marijuana every year, it should come as no surprise that the cannabis industry is booming. Meeting demand is getting easier for growers, though, thanks to the many recent advancements in growing tech. Read on to find out about some of the must-know cannabis tech trends for 2021.
- Smart Agrometers
Agrometers are used to measure the nutrient balance in the soil to ensure that crops of all kinds have access to everything they need to grow and thrive. While i49 has fertilizer designed specifically to provide cannabis with all the right nutrients for every phase of the grow cycle, many home growers and commercial cultivators want more precise control. They can now purchase a Smart Agrometer that harnesses the power of machine learning to analyze reflected light from plant leaves to identify nutrient deficiencies that could be limiting crop growth.
- Improved Data Use
It used to be the case that farmers and growers could only observe what was happening on their own land and in the nearby communities. Today, there are artificial intelligence programs that can collate field data, including everything from satellite and aerial imagery, field sensors, weather stations, and other sources across the region, that can make it easier for growers to make accurate predictions. Access to the data network may make it easier to predict and take preventative action against common problems like diseases, insects, and even non-native plants moving forward.
Hemp farmers, in particular, will appreciate at least one other novel use of this data web. Many companies and municipalities are now offering incentives for carbon sequestration, and they plan to use these reliable data networks to evaluate the sustainability of each participating farm. Given how effective hemp is at sequestering carbon, there should be plenty of opportunities for cannabis growers once carbon sequestration initiatives are implemented on a large scale.
- Remote Crop Monitoring
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has changed how companies do business in just about every industry, and the cannabis industry is no exception. To reduce risk to workers, tech companies are now developing remote crop monitoring systems that incorporate high-resolution drone-captured imaging, precise, leaf-level diagnosis, and other information that will help growers identify corp issues quickly from anywhere. Taranis won the 2020 PrecisonAg Award of Excellence for just such a system, and the company is continuing to improve upon it in 2021.
- Improvements in Vertical Farming
Vertical farming has been catching on across all agricultural sectors in recent years. The technique allows farmers and growers to produce crops indoors on a wide variety of scales. Thanks to advancements in precision agriculture, today’s vertical farms also use up to 70% less water than normal field-grown crops. Combining indoor hydroponic or aeroponic vertical farming systems with highly energy-efficient, modern LED grow lights, AI-controlled temperature and humidity monitoring systems, and other tech advances may increase the proliferation of vertical farms even more in 2021.
The Bottom Line
Most growers can keep their plants alive and pull down some kind of crop at the end of the season. Only those who get on board with using the latest in agricultural technologies will be able to guarantee maximum yields with minimal space and environmental footprints. Things are changing fast, so don’t get left behind. It’s worth buying high-quality grow equipment, precision fertilizers, and data-monitoring systems, especially for larger commercial crops.