Environmental challenges and an increasing population have presented industrial agriculture companies with the need for innovative, sustainable farm practices. Arkieva customer, Driscoll’s with headquarters in Watsonville California, is leading the charge on innovative and environmentally safe agriculture practices—setting the stage for a revolution in the berry production industry.

The berry giant with over 34% market share has nine breeding programs for strawberries in the U.S. and Europe. Driscoll’s employs a uniquely formulated and monitored berry diet to ensure the optimal environmental conditions for cultivating berries. With Driscoll’s substrate farming technique, berries are grown in coconut husk pots instead of dirt. Small probes in pots measure acidity and sugars, adjusting inputs when necessary. This type of farming technique reduces the need for flooding farms with water that may carry chemicals into nearby water streams. Additionally, substrate farming translates into cost savings and waste prevention.  

The Increase in scarcity of farming labor, has presented Driscoll’s with the chance to experiment with innovative cultivation methods including the possibility of robot harvesting. According to Bloomberg, Driscoll’s is currently working with the technology company, Agrobot, in developing robots that would harvest berries. Although this idea would require berries that grow around the same height for robot harvesting, Driscoll’s is up for the challenge— their internal breeding team is working on the development berries that grow at about the same stem height.

Read full story (Bloomberg)