The HydroGrid64™ is a modular system that is able to individually monitor and irrigate up to 64 plants in groups of 8 plants each. It is ideally suited for table growing, where each table has 8 plants. The grow medium can be live soil, rockwool or similar media. Up to 4,750 systems can operate together in a single site, for a total of 304,000 individual plants per site.
Each plant has an individual moisture sensor and irrigation parameters can be configured on an individual plant basis or in groups. For example, on a single table, you can configure one plant to be irrigated on a full wet/dry cycle whilst other plants can be set to be kept at a specific soil humidity setting.
Irrigation cycles can be adjusted with optional ambient sensor units such that irrigation could be adjusted by Vapour Pressure Deficit (VPD) for example, or CO2, Humidity, Barometric Pressure or a combination of a plethora of ambient sensors at your disposal.
AgroMe engineers can work together with you to adapt the irrigation software to your particular needs, or choose from one of our pre-defined irrigation schemes for specific industries, or crops.
No Wire Mess!
In a single HydroGrid64™ system, only the master (and pump) station requires a plug-in power source. Only two 1/4 inch irrigation tubes extend to each of the 4 primary tables, and no power wiring!
Each 8-plant module (a.k.a. table module) obtains electrical energy from solar panels that feed off the same grow lights (or actual sunlight). This eliminates all power cable clutter. The only wires are those that extend from the table module to each individual plant to receive the signal from the soil moisture sensor embedded in the substrate of each plant. The only irrigation tubes, extend from each table module's diverter to each plant.
Primary table diverters drive secondary diverters (i.e. primary table drive secondary ones) so that only two 1/4 inch tubes extend from the primary diverters to the next table, reducing irrigation tubing clutter as well.
There exists no system on the planet that can deliver individual plant irrigation with this simplicity and at this cost. Combined with a nutrient diverter, the HydroGrid64™ system allows applications that are almost impossible today:
Complete automation of complex and/or manual irrigation systems such as potted soil-based organics.
Substantially reduce water and nutrient costs.
Virtually eliminate waste and run-offs.
Individual irrigation allows for research and development of nutrient combinations and applications, growing methods slashing time and costs for experiment cycles.
Ability to grow different species in the same environment, by applying specific nutrients to each plant depending on their specific needs.
Ability to grow the same species in different stages of growth and/or combining different species.
Ability to replace a single plant and grow a totally different one in it's place.
Create no-mess growing systems with substrates such as rockwool allowing plant growth in spaces unimaginable before (e.g. inside a common kitchen cabinet).
Ability to grow complex crops such as rice in a cost-effective way under Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) conditions.
Space Exploration and more...
Cost and ROI
Cost and return on investment will vary with each application but our aim is to keep the initial investment well below USD $40 per plant.
Real Case Study: Live soil, potted, Organic Cannabis
Cannabis legalization in Canada has caused a rapid evolution and specialization of the Cannabis market. Consumers are starting to demand better Cannabis products that are produced fully organically and with denomination of origin.
These specialized producers use secret live-soil formulations and ancient techniques such as employing natural Nitrogen boosters such as clover, and of course only water. The result are complex CBD/THC combinations and complex terpenes that typical commercial-grade Cannabis cannot provide. An analogy is like the Craft Beer versus their commercial counterparts.
Even though these products enjoy a higher price in the marketplace, they are usually very labour intensive, and 90% of their time is invested in irrigation alone: each plant is monitored, weighed and irrigated manually!
A typical small organic grow is around 1,200 plants. To automate a grow of this size, the total initial investment in the HydroGrid64™ platform would be less than CAD $55,000 which works out to approximately CAD $45 per plant. This includes 19 hubs and pump units, 150 table stations, 2 auxiliary ambient sensor arrays, set-up material and labour costs.
At minimum wage, the monthly labour costs directly related to manual irrigation are no less than CAD $5,000 which leads to an ROI in less than 1 year. This does not take into account the increase in yield (as staff can now dedicate more time to important trimming and canopy forming tasks), loss reduction (from human error, fatigue, lack of information etc.).
But most importantly, these growers now have the most powerful tool: information. With the HydroGrid64™ system (which includes SenseGrid™ and our Cloud-based Data Analytics services) growers can now go back in time and determine what factors influenced good and bad crops.
Bottom line is that by investing in HydroGrid64™ our customers are able to obtain significant operational cost reductions and increased yields. In the Case Study above, a small grower can increase their plant count without increasing on-going labour costs.