Let’s Get Real About Agriculture

The majority of industries have successfully embraced high tech.
What about agriculture?

 

 

The agricultural industry has long ignored incorporating cutting edge technological solutions into its practices. Why is this the case? 

 

The blending of high tech solutions with existing practices has been transformative for many industries, from cars to communications to banking. In many of these industries specialists have had to merge their craftsmanship with high precision and new technology.The intensive care unit in modern western hospitals reflects the merger of technology, high precision and skilled medical doctors; and the trading and marketing industries demonstrate the fusing of algorithm technology, high-speed data processing and professional experts. As author Matt Ridley said, “ideas were and are having sex with each other as never happened before in human history, and this interdisciplinary renaissance is just getting started”.

 

 

 

However, compared to the integration we have seen of high tech, knowledge and skills in other industries, very little of this has occurred in the agricultural sector. Agriculture missed the high tech bus. We trust the technological innovations behind hospitals, smartphones and automobiles, yet we mistrust high-tech solutions for producing safe food. Why is this the case?

 

 

It is tempting to believe these ideas. However, with the global population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, it will not be possible to feed everyone using current agricultural methods without depleting our natural resources and destroying the planet. There is a solution: technology. We have already seen technology transform other industries; this is the future of agriculture.

Can this vision become a reality? Yes, there have already been countless large and small-scale initiatives worldwide, with many more expected to come. The Japanese government, for example, has demanded a transformation in agricultural production. Electronics giants including Toshiba, Fujitsu and Panasonic are now using their computer skills to monitor crops being grown in previously empty factories.

 

Are these initiatives similar to what we do at PlantLab?

more about  managing the variables of nature  our approach

 

 

 

 

 

We need a smarter way to feed the world

For thousands of years, humankind has grown plants in man-made fields; wrongly referred to as ‘nature’. Traditional growing methods have been optimized through the development of pesticides and fertilizers. Rather than perpetuating existing practices, we at PlantLab started from the ground up, in order to understand the real needs of plants.

Already in the 1990s, we began studying plants and developing mathematical models in order to unravel the algorithms that help explain them. For example, we studied the mathematical relationships that exist between light and dry matter production; leaf area and light interception; and, temperature and growing speed.  We sought to identify the specific requirements that plants have for every stage of their development, in order to understand how we can help them reach their full potential. In nature, and even in the most sophisticated greenhouses, plants only reach a fraction of their potential.

We need to become smarter about global crop production and distribution. Production must be done in a sustainable way, which allows plants to reach their full potential while not using pesticides or depleting natural resources. Distribution chains must be transformed, as food should be grown locally, where consumers live or ingredients are needed. We must also ensure that crops are always affordable, safe, nutritious and tasty.

 

 

 

 

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A new balance

“If you fail often and fast, you will learn more and move forward faster.” This saying truly resonates with us at PlantLab. This is how we built our business, and how we will continue to grow it. Driven by our mission to change the way the world is fed, we will continue learning and improving our technology in the coming decades.

One might say that we are building a new balance between the components of growing, both at the level of crop production and global food provision. The system continues to change at both levels simultaneously, and we are proud to actively contribute to both.

PlantLab’s technology can put all of this into practice: it helps plants reach their full potential, by exploiting the opportunities that stem from their natural plant processes. In the right environment, plants have the potential to accelerate their growth and enhance their nutritional and taste qualities. If this is what they can, and naturally “want” to do under optimal growing conditions, then why wait any longer?

More About  Our technology Managing nature’s variables  Our approach