The harvest season of berries in Jalisco begins in January, and runs through June. Gonzalo Guerra of BlueDrop shares: “We have just started the harvest but so far we have been seeing better prices this season than we saw last year. Demand-wise everything is normal, I’d say – there is always good demand for blueberries.”
BlueDrop, a Mexican berries company, has incorporated new AgTech into their production fields this season, aiming to improve their profitability. “We have partnered with NXTAgro and have incorporated precision agriculture into our farms,” Guerra says.
Precision farming to improve blueberry yields
Through the use of sensors inserted in the substrates of key plants, BlueDrop is able to collect agronomic data and monitor how the plants are growing in real time. “We gather insights like soil moisture, pH, electrical conductivity, as well as weather data including forecasts. This allows us to have a better understanding of our crops, and take decisions based on reliable and continuous data. We are sure this technology will boost our yields, and support our sustainability goals – we listen to the plants, and the berries talk to us,” Guerra explains.
The technology allows them to identify problems in early stages and prevent them from becoming a real issue. “At one point we found that a whole irrigation sector was not working right, because we identified an anomaly in one of the watering lysimeters of our sensors. When we went to check on it, we found there was algae blocking the droppers of the irrigation system. We were able to fix it before it became a big issue. The same goes for nutrition and pest issues, too. We have been able to find them early and take corrective and preventive actions – nowadays, that is one of the things that adds more value to our operations,” Guerra says.
More efficiency and order in daily operations
BlueDrop has been using the technology since the beginning of the current growing season, which started in June 2020. While it is still too early to talk about yield results, Guerra already sees positive differences. “Though we’re still early on in the harvest, we are seeing a lot of improvement from last season with regard to our yields,” he says.
The biggest change the company have noticed so far, however, is in their day-to-day operations. “There is a lot more order and purpose in our daily planning meetings. Every morning, our team analyzes the NXTAgro dashboard and realizes the needs of our plants. This has also increased our confidence in our decision making process as a team. So, the main difference so far has been in the methodology and organization of the company,” says Guerra.
Besides boosting the yield potential and enhancing the company’s daily operations, the technology can also help the company to have more control over of the crops because of the real time monitoring system.
“With this technology we can actually monitor our crops 24/7 and understand what is happening on our fields. Although the technology still is not able to predict the timing of our peak season to align with the peak prices in the market, we are hoping advancement in data capabilities and AI will let us know how the crop is growing and align our operations accordingly in a near future. We expect that by leveraging the technologies available to us, we are able to maximize our profits more than what we already have,” Guerra concludes.
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Author: Annika Durinck