Future Farming at IPM Essen: New partnerships on the horizon

Future Farming at IPM Essen: New partnerships on the horizon

In January 2024, Grow Director and Future Farming came together to take aquaponic farm automation to the next level. The beginning of the collaboration is the result of a two-year tender process to find a supplier of hardware and software for our farms, followed by structured data storage and analysis. Together with our Israeli partner, we plan to use artificial intelligence to analyze three years of data from Future Farming’s operations to significantly optimize the entire operation.

Representatives of Future Farming attended the IPM Essen trade fair in Germany. The delegation of our company, which consisted of Michal Fojtík (Managing Director), Kateřina Patloková (Head of Research and Development), Alena Pešková (Project Coordinator) and František Havelka (Crop Production Specialist), was invited by the Israeli company Grow Director. We discussed the possibilities of implementing their hardware and software in our aquaponic farms and setting up mutual cooperation. Representatives of Grow Director presented their products and the possibilities of connecting them with our technological units.

As a result of the meeting, Grow Director agreed on a two-phase technology delivery. In the first phase, sensors (both hardware and software) for our aquaponic hobby set A-shape will be delivered to us, which will allow for small-scale testing of user acceptance and functionality of the technology. If the technology proves its worth, it will be further installed in greenhouse 3 at the farm in Brno Heršpice, which represents the second phase of the cooperation.

At the same time, the analysis of the already measured data will be carried out and processed by artificial intelligence, which should take over the control of the entire technological units of our farms. Over the last few years, we have systematically and structurally collected a huge amount of information and data on the operation of aquaponic farms, which places us at the forefront of the world in this field. At the same time, it is a stepping stone for fully autonomous and standardized technological units, which are the goal of our long-term development.

At the fair, we also held talks with other potentially interesting partners. With regard to the desire to replace mineral basalt substrate with a more environmentally friendly alternative, we held negotiations with manufacturers of coconut substrates (Senarath Lanka Ltd.). The Estonian company MIKSKAAR, specializing in the production of wood fiber substrate, which in our opinion has the highest potential to replace mineral substrate, has also offered very interesting possibilities in this respect. We have agreed with this company that our research department will test their substrate in our systems and possibly make suggestions on how to adapt their product for our application. We are very much looking forward to the results and future cooperation. 

In addition, we are actively working on the development of a hemp fiber growing medium that could be grown directly in the Czech Republic. Information about this development and about our new partners will be provided in a new blog article.

Another important meeting took place with Food Autonomy, a manufacturer of lighting for horticultural applications. The rapid progress in the development of grow lights requires regular updates of greenhouse equipment every year. The lighting technology used in greenhouse No. 1 on our farm in Brno Heršpice, which has been in use for five years, is now considered obsolete. New findings in the field of plant anatomy and physiology, together with technological advances in LED sources, make it possible to use more efficient and modern lighting technologies. We have submitted our lighting requirements for the plants we grow to Food Autonomy and are currently awaiting a quote for lighting the second part of the Herspice greenhouse.

The visit to IPM Essen is a key moment for Future Farming, opening up new opportunities for international cooperation and potentially bringing innovation to the field of modern agriculture. At Future Farming, we continue to focus on sustainability and efficiency in our operations, and new partnerships are a prerequisite for achieving these goals.

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