Imagine having millions of tomatoes to supervise in greenhouses across the country. Imagine it’s your job to know which plants have pests, which ones are thirsty, which ones are ready to harvest, and which ones need extra maturation time. Well, that is a daunting task for anyone, and to err is human. So, obviously certain conditions may be missed, unfortunately resulting in losing tomatoes, losing crops, losing efficiency.
Things are changing – and for the better. Just as smart phones have changed our lives, technology is changing the way that crops can be grown, monitored and harvested. One company in particular has started integrating technology in a way that is empowering its employees, helping them better assess and monitor each of their tomato plants, while also helping their plants grow to their fullest potential possible.
"Nothing will ever change when it comes to needing people -- Our associates nurture and handpick our tomatoes at the peak of freshness with care; But it can be a very difficult to consistently recognize trouble, such as infestations and dying plants. Not to mention the process is sometimes slow and expensive. We realized that this all could be done so much more efficiently – for everyone – through technology. This will benefit not only our Associates, but will create a much more perfect environment for each of the plants.” said Lori Castillo, Marketing Director.
Now, in their huge greenhouse in Willcox, AZ, some of the NatureSweet® sites have sensors so plants can be monitored by a centralized app right on their employees' phones, easily available so that all can simultaneously see the same data and know what they need to do – at any moment.
With a swipe, Associates can monitor each plant and make sure each will have what it needs to be at its most healthy and best. Everyone at NatureSweet® involved in growing the tomatoes can be on the same page, at the same time – and in real time. This makes a huge difference when monitoring millions of tomatoes across greenhouses, which not only improves the daily lives of the employees, but the plants themselves.
Monitoring their Jubilees, Eclipses, Cherubs, other proprietary varieties is so fine-tuned that NatureSweet® can grow more, grow them in the most perfect condition and to their peak of deliciousness, and lose less crops. Yields are increasing – from 4% and soon to 20% – simply by using these new tools available through technology.
The future is now in agriculture, and if you’re like me, you can’t wait to see where else it takes us.
For more information on NatureSweet, visit www.naturesweet.com