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Climate Tech for Agriculture: Now Is the Time to Plan for Smoke Taint, Extreme Weather and Other Climate Events

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Agrology unveils 2021 Smoke Exposure Report and discusses ways growers can begin to plan for climate change issues in 2022

agrology logoSonoma, CA, January 19, 2022—Agrology, the leading Predictive Agricultural company, today issued a 2021 Agrology Smoke Exposure Report for Sonoma and Napa counties to the public. This industry report looks broadly at the smoke exposure across both counties based on proprietary and public data collected throughout the region in 2021 and is a subset of the type of information provided to Agrology customers at the end of their growing seasons. 

“We are relieved that in 2021 California wineries overall did not experience the levels of smoke taint risk that threatened the industry in 2020,” said Adam Koeppel, CEO of Agrology. “However, given the impact of smoke in past years, growers should begin to prepare for the upcoming growing season by installing technology to monitor crops not only for wildfires, but for drought and extreme weather conditions as well.”

Overall, in 2021 Agrology measured low smoke exposure in vineyards and measured brief Air Quality Index (AQI) events likely due to wildfires. In addition to PM2.5 and PM1 monitoring, this year Agrology deployed agricultural environment harderened outdoor Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) monitoring sensors, a first in the agricultural world. The Agrology sensors sit on the trellis, inside the canopy by the fruit, and are capable of detecting the VOCs that are often thought to cause smoke taint, instead of just fine particle correlations. Agrology also pulls satellite imagery to visually verify smoke presence over regions, then alerts customers immediately when smoke is detected.

The major smoke exposure events this season resulted from distant wildfire smoke, which posed less risk of smoke taint. Additionally, the exposure periods thankfully corresponded with dynamic weather patterns and shifting winds, preventing the smoke from descending and dwelling in areas like Napa and Sonoma for extended periods of time. Preliminary lab testing results confirmed Agrology’s data and analysis, with grape lab test guaiacol levels decreasing throughout the season and early microferments not exhibiting smoke taint.

Agrology’s ground truth sensors gather the right data on heat, soil and air moisture, VOCs, and weather events, artificial intelligence (AI) is then applied to the data to predict future events and issues. To make the data actionable, Agrology delivers it via an easy to understand mobile app dashboard. 

While Agrology is thrilled to share its industry report today, the company knows that granular data is critical for growers. Each Agrology customer received a custom report at the end of the growing season that reviewed their annual smoke exposure and risks, down to the subsections of their vineyard blocks. The reporting allows Agrology customers to compare and contrast results from multiple years, giving them a clear picture of air quality and smoke issues in their vineyards and fields. 

Koeppel adds, “In the era of climate change, predictive agriculture may be the only route to saving the wine industry and specialty crops. The next climate change story is about the solutions available to help growers predict and mitigate the issues that are impacting their businesses.”

Agrology’s solution relies on installing smaller nodes directly in the row at a high density, which enables the system to better identify temperature differentials. Agrology begins by tracking the standard temperature differentials in each zone and overtime build predictions, giving farmers 3-7 days of advance notice when microclimates could change. The Agrology app sends farmers notifications on their mobile devices, pinpointing the exact locations at risk and allowing farmers to take action ahead of time.

The Agrology sensor nodes install in less than 10 minutes and users alway have access to their data through the app, even when their phone is off network in a field. In addition, data refreshes every 30 minutes and Agrology models curate intuitive and easy to implement alerts and insights that are sent directly to the mobile app. Agrology customers own and control their data, enabling them to put their farm’s data to work for their business. The Duckhorn Portfolio, a leader in technology and industry best practices, has been using Agrology in their vineyards.

Anyone interested in downloading the 2021 Agrology Smoke Exposure Report can do so here. 

Pricing, Subscriptions & Installation

If your vineyard or winery struggles with the risks of smoke taint, or you would like to learn more about how Agrology can help your vineyards or wineries with the challenges of climate change, please reach out to [email protected]. Agrology offers an annual subscription that can be paid annually or monthly. For the first time, farmers can monitor their acres for the cost of a Netflix subscription. The subscription includes the installation and replacement of all sensors, real-time monitoring, and secure access to a farm’s data via the Agrology mobile app. 

About Agrology

Agrology develops predictive agriculture technologies to help growers maximize profits with minimal input costs and environmental impact. Founded in 2019, Agrology’s predictive agriculture platform combines proprietary, affordable sensor arrays with machine learning to provide actionable insights and trends via a mobile application. Agrology is a Public Benefit Corporation committed to focusing on protecting the economic viability of our farmers and the sustainability of our planet. The company’s strategic partners include The National Science Foundation, UC Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, and Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Agrology has offices in Alexandria, Virginia, and Sonoma, California, and can be found online at Agrology.ag.

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