Agricultural operations across America are using the latest technology to optimize productivity, minimize waste and improve food safety. This process, called precision agriculture, implements software, web-based programs, and connected devices to better manage resources, lengthen growing periods, track harvests, and more. The largest peach grower on the east coast, Titan Farms in Ridge Spring, South Carolina, utilizes precision agriculture in packing, shipping, and production to maximize output and product quality.
Titan Farms uses a detailed web-based application to track water usage across their farms, ensuring their peaches, bell peppers, and broccoli fields are properly watered. Technicians control water pumps from mobile devices connected across radio or cell signals with a single click. The application also administers analysis of water levels and reports the information back to farm and orchard managers.
“One of the web-based applications uses sensors in the ground to analyze how and when we are best utilizing our water resources,” said Lori Anne Carr, Vice President and Administrative Manager for Titan Farms. “These sensors give us the ability to make smarter decisions with our resources. We can log into an area and see a graph that tells us what is oversaturated, what needs more water and when the levels are where they need to be.”
Other applications track bins and pallets of peaches and vegetables, providing a complete history for every unit; the variety, the field or orchard of origination, the date picked, date shipped, and more.
“Once that information is assigned to that bin, the information stays with the bin all the way to the store,” explained Carr. “It’s all a part of food traceability—giving the consumer more information and a safe, secure food source.” Third-party food safety audits give Titan Farms record high scores, due in part to their precise control systems.
With a state-of-the-art packing plant, digital surveillance systems, mobile-accessible electronic payroll, GPS-controlled farming equipment, and resource-management applications covering over 5,000 acres of peaches, 385 acres of bell peppers and 325 acres of broccoli fields, Titan Farms works from a sophisticated interconnected network. Located over 25 miles from any major city, broadband connections powering these devices can be costly. In-ground infrastructure supporting most commonly used connections (broadband over cable or phones lines) doesn’t reach Titan Farms, making costly radio and satellite devices the only options.
Connect South Carolina works to expand broadband coverage in the area for both residents and businesses. As networks continue to expand, large-scale operations like Titan Farms, as well as smaller farms, will use precision agriculture to a greater extent, resulting in more efficient operations and safer, better quality produce. Learn more about how technology is changing agriculture and other industries across the nation at www.connectmycommunity.org.
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