WiseConn: Closing Yield Gaps through Water and Nutrient Management
“Over 70 percent of agriculture is the result of crop yield that is based on robust water and nutrition management,” begins Guillermo Valenzuela. Well-versed with the fundamentals of precision agriculture and water management, Valenzuela is uniquely positioned to speak about how farmers today are running an uphill marathon with uninformed irrigation decisions, and undeveloped water and nutrition management. Sure, the farmers have numerous theories and time dedicated to making decisions centered on ‘how?’ and ‘when?’ to irrigate with minimal water usage, but what they lack is a platform to efficiently execute those decisions. Valenzuela also points out that despite the inception of accessible, easy-to-use technologies like the Internet of things (IoT), AgTech companies are yet to materialize the much-needed water management solutions for farmers against droughts and dropping commodity prices. At the helm of California-based WiseConn as the Co-Founder and CMO, Valenzuela leads his team to fulfill the company’s mission of delivering best-in-class telemetry technology and cloud services to provide growers with unparalleled overall irrigation experience.
WiseConn proffers a patent pending IoT-powered water management platform to be infused with the existing irrigation systems to drive enhanced irrigation decisions, and its execution to benefit farmers with a high crop yield. WiseConn’s IoT platform is a mesh network of field devices connected to the irrigation infrastructure via intercommunicating sensors whose output is accumulated on the cloud for easy and reliable access to information. The IoT platform is compatible with a spectrum of sensors such as flow meters, pressure transducers, pH and electric conductors, for detecting soil moisture, reservoir, and groundwater levels. WiseConn’s IoT platform leverages ‘hydraulic intelligence’—an independent, collaborative radio mesh network—that monitors and controls sensors to execute different scheduling processes and irrigation decisions in the field without being connected to the cloud.
WiseConn’s IoT platform utilizes moisture sensors to analyze the water movement under the soil and effectively manages irrigation duration and frequency for executing agronomic water usage plans with reduced human error, and 5-25 percent improved yields.
With a wide variety of crops in multiple regions, WiseConn focuses on shifting IoT from higher-value crops to low-value crops while educating distributors, vendors and end users to install, maintain, use, and service the platform for improved yields. “We are not just a hardware or product vendor, we are also a service provider that offers appropriate agricultural education component to slightly alter the irrigation process for a quick ROI,” says Valenzuela.
Recently, a veteran grower in California farming 170 acres of almonds experienced a drop in water supply from 1000 gallons per minute down to 500 gallons per minute after losing a well mid-season. As Valenzuela recalls, “Without enough water to irrigate the land, his choices were either sacrifice a part of his farm or deploy an efficient water and nutrient management solution. He chose the latter.” Upon implementing WiseConn’s IoT platform, the almond grower could control the root growth of the trees to two feet below the ground, reducing the water consumption by 30 percent with a 5-10 percent improved yield.
Scripting similar success stories, WiseConn, well-established in the Chilean and Californian markets, strives to partner with global players in the AgTech space for cultivating new, innovative products for different regions across the globe. Having made great strides with the existing IoT platform, WiseConn is currently working on a new and improved controller-specific C1 model that boasts seamless automation via Bluetooth connectivity. Looking ahead, the company is finalizing the development of a low-cost monitoring-only unit that is compatible with narrow-band IoT and LTE technologies for flexible switches between communication standards.
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