Giving Tree Farms
Anderson Valley, CA
Labor-intensive crops with strict climate requirements benefit greatly from the help of robotics and sensors, making farming more efficient and accurate. For cannabis farmers, perhaps the most crucial factor for our success is the climate we choose to cultivate in, which smart-farming technology has helped us control.
While selecting correct cultivars for our specific area is important, understanding the ebb and flow of the environment is just as crucial. This is when our iGrow panel comes in handy. This sensor regulates humidity inside the confined space of our greenhouse, ensuring the plants aren’t exposed to an environment that promotes mold growth. It also regulates the temperature, making the drastic nighttime swing to lower temps a thing of the past. And when it’s too hot, the vents can open, allowing fresh air to flow inside and rustle the plants’ leaves.
The iGrow panel also controls the light exposure by pulling back shade curtains and other equipment that enables us to utilize the most sunlight possible during the plants’ vegetative state, and gives us the control to alter the sun’s exposure when we want to manipulate the cannabis plant’s natural flower schedule. This plug-and-play technology makes it easier for any farmer to dial in the specifics. In addition, the data is stored so it can be compared and altered for future cultivation cycles.
When we’re outside in our cold-frame greenhouses, weather forecast technologies are an absolute must. Local weather forecasts are too general for most cannabis farmers; we need to be aware of any changes in the climate so that we can take steps to counteract those that will hinder our yields. On-farm weather stations record and report real-time conditions, helping us fine-tune our methods to match our local micro-climates. There are even companies, such as aWhere and Aeris, that craft customized hyper-local forecasts. As these technologies continue to improve, the awareness increases, sometimes giving us a few days to properly prepare.
Pest outbreaks can also be monitored and controlled with the help of technology. The first step is to identify the pest “hot spots” in the garden before they have the chance to spread throughout the entire crop. Our farm is digitally mapped into small quadrants that help us monitor pest pressure in particular areas. We then use these sections as a guide when we perform our daily scouts for possible pests in the garden. Portable wireless microscopes connected to our iPhones help us determine if pests are present while working in the field. When coupled with data-collecting technology, we can clearly define a hot spot, then apply our organic pesticides only to that specific area. This site-specific application process is an example of “smart-spraying,” and it not only decreases operating costs, but it also saves us time by reducing the number of sprays we have to apply to the plants.