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How Arable’s In-Field Monitoring Technology Supports Sustainability In Agriculture

Today’s growers are being asked to feed the world and save it too. Between preserving natural resources like water and soil and reducing chemical inputs to minimize environmental impact, they are learning to do more with less.

To meet this monumental task, growers need more advanced tools to inform critical management decisions. These tools must be accurate, easy to use, and easily integrable into  their current operation. They need to be flexible and give growers critical insights in the field (where split-second decisions are often made). And rather than just capturing and relaying data, these tools must provide meaningful, field-specific analysis and insights.

As a leader in crop intelligence, Arable is transforming agriculture by providing growers unparalleled visibility and insights into their operations, enabling them to be better positioned to make decisions that lead to greater productivity and sustainability.

Supercharging Tradition and Experience

Growers have always relied on experience, tradition, and a deep connection to the land when making key management decisions. Faced with more extreme weather and diminishing natural resources, however, growers now require a broader range of data and intelligence to maintain productivity and sustain their operations.

In-field monitoring technology like Arable enables growers to shift from experience and intuition-based judgment calls to tech-enabled decisions based on site-specific crop intelligence. No longer relying on wisdom alone, growers can now access real-time, comprehensive data, account for historical patterns and trends, and make more confident, data-driven decisions. Arable’s solution, powered by robust agronomic models and machine learning, transforms in-field weather, forecasts, plant, soil, and irrigation data into actionable, field-specific insights.


Management Decisions Driven by Intelligence

Every decision a grower makes–from what to water, how to fertilize, or when to spray–can impact crop health, yield, and the bottom line. As stewards of the land, growers understand that their decisions have an impact on and beyond their farm. They are acutely aware of the importance of preserving and protecting natural resources and are focused on building an operation that’s more resilient and sustainable for the next generation. But sustainability can’t come at the expense of productivity.

With Arable, growers can make smarter management decisions that support a healthier, high-yield crop while reducing total inputs used and the impact on the environment. Customers are already seeing Arable’s digital solution help them achieve five key sustainability goals:

1 – Make Every Drop Count

As the number of hot days and prolonged heat waves increase, researchers expect extreme drought to continue–straining water resources including ground water, surface water, and soil moisture. With agricultural production accounting for nearly 70% of global freshwater withdrawals, and 40% of the world’s producers relying on unsustainable groundwater extraction, water is scarcer than ever. But without water, there is no crop.

Using Arable’s crop intelligence solution, growers can understand their crop’s unique water balance requirements with precise, field-level insights derived from synthesized weather, plant, soil, and applied irrigation data. (Remote weather services, by contrast, can indicate geographic weather patterns but can’t target field-specific rainfall locations and amounts.) With this information, growers can determine when and how much to water to maintain plant health and vigor. They can conserve water and prevent the detrimental effects of overwatering, such as nutrient leaching and reduced crop quality.

One example of Arable’s impact in the area of irrigation is its sugarcane irrigation project in Brazil. Arable has partnered with Bonsucro, a global non-profit organization that developed the sustainability standard for sugarcane production, and Raízen, a major Brazilian integrated energy company and the world’s largest individual sugar exporter. Arable technology is being used to address the challenges faced by Brazil’s sugar-energy sector due to prolonged droughts with the goal of improving water efficiency, better managing production according to the microclimate, and mitigating climate risks.

2 – Prevent Input Waste

Similar to water, many growers employ a “spray and pray” approach when it comes to pesticides. This approach can be detrimental to a crop, as spraying at the wrong growth stage can reduce insect and disease control. At the same time, spraying in the wrong environmental conditions can lead to wasted resources and contamination due to drift. One study showed that 730 metric tons of pesticides enter and contaminate rivers each year across the globe.

Many growers employ a similar approach with fertilizer, over-applying it in the hope that enough fertilizer is there when the crop needs it. Yet research shows that 80% of applied nitrogen ends up as pollution or is wasted by denitrification. Given that fertilizer and pesticide expenses were at all-time highs in 2023 and accounted for over 14 percent of total farm production expenses in the U.S., wasted inputs also impact a grower’s bottom line.

With in-field monitoring, growers can identify the “sweet spot” and more precisely tailor and time the application of fertilizers and pesticides to the specific needs of the crop and local environmental conditions–and simultaneously reduce costs and environmental impact. For example, with Arable’s spray timing tool, a grower can plan labor more accurately and minimize drift by targeting when weather conditions will be most optimal for spraying. Using the Arable system, a leading agtech partner in Costa Rica was able to lower disease risk and reduce inputs by 15%.

3 – Maximize Every Acre

To stay ahead of plant stress related to extreme weather, pests/diseases, and water deficit, many growers rely on a suite of different tools and technologies to monitor their crop. With Arable, growers can turn to one single solution. The IoT-based, Arable Mark continuously monitors and collects essential weather, plant, soil, and irrigation data.  That data is then synthesized and processed by Arable’s system which couples agronomic models with machine learning to provide actionable insights.

Growers can target signs of water stress, pest and disease pressure, and nutrient deficiencies earlier than through field visits alone. Using Arable Vision in addition to sensed data, they can have an eye in the field even when they can’t get there in person. With a constant pulse on their operation, growers can intervene earlier on potential issues and prioritize those with the greatest impact. They can be more efficient and effective in how they manage their crop and use resources. Fewer trips to the field results in reduced fuel and labor costs as well as lower emissions.

4 – Manage Risk and Adapt to a Changing Climate

As weather across the globe becomes more extreme and unpredictable, growers increasingly need tools that provide precise and timely information into what’s happening in their fields. Access to real-time actionable insights enables growers to implement proactive measures or react quickly to mitigate risks such as frost, drought, or disease outbreaks.

According to Will Drayton, Director of Technical Viticulture, Sustainability and Research at global wine leader Treasury Americas, “There’s an immediate, obvious cost to making the wrong decisions in light of weather events caused by climate change–specifically, poor yield and quality–and also an immediate prize to being nimble and adapting while also reducing future risk.”

By using Arable, Treasury has immediate access to critical decision-making data. They can correlate in-field weather, plant, soil, and irrigation factors with vineyard health and grape quality. Most importantly, they can get ahead of intense weather and climate events, and determine the most economical and effective use of resources to achieve the best outcomes.

5 – Reward Stewardship

Scientists estimate that agricultural soils could sequester over a billion additional tons of carbon each year. Yet introducing the sustainable practices required to sequester carbon comes with sizable risk and cost to growers. Agricultural carbon programs were introduced to offset those costs and risks, but the costs associated with current measurement protocols reduce the value share of carbon credits that growers receive.

By leveraging the ground-truth crop intelligence that in-field monitoring technology provides, carbon programs could replace the more expensive soil tests and infrastructure used currently to verify impact. Arable has partnered with Shell International Exploration and Production Inc. to pilot a high-trust, low-cost monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) system. This program pairs the comprehensive data collected through Arable’s in-field sensor with Quanterra’s carbon monitoring solution and HabiTerre’s carbon models to prove that estimation and verification can be done accurately at a fraction of the cost of existing MRV methods.

The result? Arable can help growers receive a greater share of the carbon credits they build on their farm to offset the costs and risks of introducing more sustainable practices.


Making Sustainability Achievable

For agriculture to take the lead in advancing sustainability, growers need tools and technology that support smarter management decisions without adding significant cost or complexity, or sacrificing productivity and profitability. Arable’s in-field crop intelligence system gives growers a farm-tough, practical solution to help them not just sustain, but grow their farming operations for the future.

As Will Drayton confirms, “The Arable system gives us access to critical decision-making data when we need it and plays a pivotal role in producing high-quality wine sustainably, something that is extremely important to us and our vision for a brighter future.”

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