From the Rose Garden at the White House, to the laser-leveled fields of Yuma, AZ (home to 90% of this country’s winter leafy greens), data analysis, precision/digital agriculture, and drones are hot topics of conversation, writes Lee Allen on GrowingProduce.com. Already familiar to commodity growers, the technology applications are catching on in the vegetable-growing community.
There’s a lot to work with in Arizona, according to February 2017 figures from USDA that show close to 20,000 farms and ranches representing 26 million acres with the average farm size about 1,300 acres.
Steve Alameda of Yuma’s Top Flavor Farms, a grower for Tanimura & Antle, brings a 40-year career background to the table in trying to keep up with technological innovations he can use on his 2,000 acres.
“Despite what’s new, it still goes back to basics,” he says. “Doing a better job of land preparation, disking, leveling, breaking up soil, and using plant tape or spacing out pelletized seed for mechanical thinners. If you don’t continually step up your game and make sure the basic conditions are right, a lot of what you do with new technology goes for naught.”