Creating a sustainable farm for the future
When the Bhana family migrated from India and started farming in the famous Patumahoe clay loam of Pukekohe, they couldn’t have known that their small plot would become one of the largest producers for the growing city of Auckland.
But, thriving on a diet of fresh vegetables, the Bhana Family Farm grew its original 25 acres (10 hectares) to now exceed 600 productive hectares, (well over 1,500 acres), growing potatoes, onions, carrots, lettuce, cauliflower, cabbage, a bit of pumpkin and some seasonal watermelon.
This huge, intensive operation has seen the Bhana family members develop an incredible body of knowledge that allows them to maintain the farm and deal with ever more-intensive red tape behind the scenes.
The knowledge of water, climate and plants, developed over years of trial and error, and is difficult to pass on to others. The family recognised that to create a sustainable farm that was not reliant on generations of knowledge, the family needed to turn to technology. The Adroit monitoring system, has been installed across the farm, this allows everyone to see exactly what is happening with the soil at any time.
Sensor data is securely delivered in real-time to the Adroit Platform, via the specialised Spark IoT Private LoRaWAN network, hosted on AWS. The Adroit platform dashboard is easily accessed via an app and provides visualisation, reporting and analytics to aid and improve decision making on the farm. Data can be viewed on any device and is easily shared with other programs and reporting formats.
This solution allows the Bhana team to set parameters that enable automation of farming processes, resulting in consistent, high-quality decision making.
“As we expand, everybody's got more things to do, so sometimes they might not get around the crops as much as the older generation used to. With new technology, they can see exactly when water is needed. Having this technology, we can actually put on less water than what we were putting on in the old days. Sometimes less is more.” Says Bharat Bhana.