How Agricultural Company CropX Uses AWS Cloud Computing for Agriculture

Global drought has been a stubbornly devastating presence this past year, even in parts of the world it is rarely seen – including the United States and Europe. the Drought in Europe August 2022: GDO Analytical Report By the Joint Research Center (JRC), the science and knowledge service of the European Commission, it states that this year 64% of Europe is experiencing – or is at risk of experiencing – drought.

Not surprisingly, the main driver of the droughts we are seeing around the world is climate change. Many factors contribute to the environmental repair we find ourselves in. Among them is agriculture. Globalism The agriculture industry has a huge impact The global water supply and its sustainability It is widely recognized as a significant contributor to climate change, particularly through methane emissions from livestock. But even in conditions less extreme than the drought experienced in European countries last summer (and other parts of the world are still dealing with it), the agricultural industry has an enormous impact on the global water supply and its sustainability. Food and animal production uses 70% of the available fresh water and 50% of the habitable land.

The pitfall, of course, is that we need food. The question for the agricultural industry is: “How can farmers feed the world’s population with the least possible contribution to climate change?”

AWS client Cropix He has one answer.

The Israel-based agricultural company uses AWS solutions to run more efficient and cost-effective farming. CropX’s farm management platform (“CropX Platform”) and easy-to-use app helps farmers increase crop yields by focusing on saving water, agrochemicals, labor and energy – which in turn helps farmers reduce their environmental and planetary impact.

Data mining, literally

While agricultural services are available that provide farmers with above-ground data for farming efficiency, less than 10% of companies extract data from the soil. And according to Matan Rahav, vice president of business development at CropX, the soil “is where the most valuable data can be extracted.”

Without soil data, many farmers do not optimize their resources, and may irrigate or fertilize too much or too little, and so on. On a planet with a rapidly increasing population, where farmers must grow more food with less land, inputs, and overall environmental impact, CropX has stepped in to tackle the resources wasted in farming.

Using the dashboard, CropX customers can track soil and crop health, manage irrigation and fertilization, and protect crops. The CropX platform integrates both proprietary software and hardware, and contains patented Internet of Things (IoT) sensors made by the company itself. Accessible on mobile and desktop platforms, the CropX platform helps farmers reduce resource inputs while increasing their yields.

Image of the CropX app on my mobile device.  One of the devices displays a map where soil data is monitored.  The other mobile device displays soil data with a graph.

Between 2018 and 2020, CropX expanded its in-soil data analytics platform on AWS fourfold, allowing it to ingest millions of soil and weather data points per day. Its platform also includes layers of above-ground data, including satellite imagery, and enables the AWS Cloud to integrate more satellite imagery and real-time weather data.

From raw data to actionable insights

The CropX platform processes raw soil data via soil sensors and analyzes it in real time, making data access easier and more user-friendly, and integrating additional data layers even easier. Data layers include soil maps, topography maps, weather data, weather forecasts, satellite images (CropX develops its own image processing), hydraulic models, crop models, user input, data from irrigation system and controllers, and data from all agricultural equipment (such as tractors, combine harvesters, and sprayers). CropX sends these layers together in the cloud to provide accurate crop-specific, stage-of-growth insights and recommendations, such as advising growers when, where and how much to water, fertilize and spray.

This information will be automatically updated on the CropX app, where farmers can view it on their mobile devices with additional insights and information, without having to download any raw data or export data. If farmers want the raw data, they can access it, as well as graph displays.

With AWS’s own cloud and tools, we have successfully built a world-class infrastructure and ultra-scalable, now winning channels and customers, positioning ourselves as the world’s leading agricultural farm management platform solutions.

Mattan Rahav

Vice President of Business Development at CropX

CropX platform insights for irrigation, nutrition and disease management

The CropX data solution captures data from thousands of global soil sensors and sends it to a central platform running on hundreds of soil sensors Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) cases. It then analyzes and saves the satellite imagery data, storing all agricultural data and insights in the cloud. CropX also relies on AWS solutions to support growing traffic from the web and mobile devices, and to relay messages between services.

The company combines above-ground datasets with soil data measured by sensors. It then transfers this data to its own AWS powered solution. The data was integrated with imaging metrics, weather, and terrain, as well as crop models, hydraulic models, and user input. The CropX platform uses artificial intelligence to analyze data and provide insights to farmers on the CropX web interface or mobile app. The solution particularly helps with irrigation management, telling farmers when they need to irrigate and how many millimeters of water are required for optimal humidity. Recommendations are specific to each crop and growth stage.

The CropX platform also helps manage nutrition, alerting growers when risks of salinity build-up or leaching of nitrates from the root zone into groundwater are detected. Nutrition management alerts can help farmers prevent overuse of nitrogen fertilizer, a leading cause of agricultural pollution. It is also an expensive fertilizer.

The third way the CropX platform helps farmers is through disease management. The solution identifies disease risks and specific sprays needed to prevent disease from occurring. This more targeted approach counters and mitigate the common practice of spraying everything, every week—until no disease ever develops. This traditional approach is expensive and not environmentally friendly.

“Our customers can use the app to view the updated status of soil readings, moisture levels and root zones,” said Sagi Briteman, Vice President of Research and Development at CropX. “We also provide alerts and notifications if the fields are too dry or too wet.”

CropX technology helps farmers who supply PepsiCo Mexico use less water

An example of a company using technology effectively is the collaboration with CropX PepsiCo Mexico. PepsiCo’s parent company PepsiCo Mexico – an American multinational food, snack and beverage company based in the US – has set a number of interrelated goals aimed at contributing to its positive impact on water. It designs its efforts and partnerships to facilitate long-term and sustainable water security for its businesses.

PepsiCo has an ambitious goal of reducing water by 15% by 2025. As part of this effort, CropX is partnering with PepsiCo Mexico (PepsiCo’s largest operation in Latin America) to help producers who supply potatoes reduce their water use.

The CropX platform provides real-time recommendations to potato growers, helping them to optimize irrigation management. Previously, farmers would go to the field to feel whether the soil was too wet or too dry. By using the app to apply the right amount of water, in the right place at the right time, potato farmers now use up to 25% less water. Given PepsiCo Mexico’s position as the largest buyer of potatoes, helping each farmer save water, in aggregate, has a very large impact on saving water.

After introducing a highly successful pilot project with PepsiCo, in which it demonstrated significant savings in water, agrochemicals and fertilizers and was able to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, CropX has expanded its collaboration to more countries. Now it cooperates with PepsiCo in countries such as Guatemala, Colombia, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Australia and New Zealand.

Serving more than 5,000 customers with more than 12,000 facilities in 50 countries, CropX has demonstrated savings of 50% in water and 20% in agrochemicals with a 20% increase in yield for 100 crop varieties.

Sustainability referees

This year, CropX expanded its platform to include an innovative disease management capability that can result in reduced use of chemicals while protecting crop yields. The CropX platform tracks key fungal diseases on more than 320 crop and fungal disease groups and provides advice on when to spray. This new capability integrates 25 years of agricultural research and experience from Netherlands-based Dacom Farm Intelligence, which was acquired by CropX in 2021. By timing the application correctly, farmers can ensure they are protecting their crops while limiting the use of chemicals to what is absolutely necessary.

“With the cloud and AWS proprietary tools, we have successfully built a global hyper-scalable infrastructure, are now winning channels and customers, and positioning ourselves as the world’s leading agricultural farm management platform solutions,” said Rahav.

To learn more about our leading CropX and AWS customers in farming and running in the cloud, visit Agriculture customer stories. Learn about the innovative work AWS customers in other verticals and industries are doing in the cloud by visiting AWS Customer Story Collections page.

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