By Tiffany Pelt - email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – A Lubbock company is receiving a million dollar investment through the Texas Emerging Technology Fund to help commercialize a device that could change the face of farming nationwide.
Lubbock based Smartfield has about 100 SmartCrop devices in use. "These will actually measure the temperature of the plant itself. It will communicate back to the base station that information," says Smartfield chief financial officer Kyle Gayler.
Using infrared thermometry, SmartCrop monitors the plant's temperature and alerts the farmer or producer of the plants stress level through a text message or email. The device basically allows the farmer to listen to their crops to know when they need water or if they've had too much.
"Ultimately we are convinced it will help save water," says Gayler. He says the new technology will help farmers produce more efficiently by giving them the information to make smarter decisions on watering their crops.
Gayler says this SmartCrop doesn't just affect the farmers. "If we live in Lubbock, Texas, we're affected by the agriculture industry, and certainly we rely upon water and food so we think this technology that will benefit everyone," he says.
This new technology has also brought new jobs to the Lubbock area. Smartfield started out with four employees and quickly grew to more than a two dozen after receiving funds from the state. "These are jobs that are higher salary positions and really help in economic development throughout West Texas," says West Texas Coalition for Innovation and Commercialization Executive Director Steve Anderson.
Although SmartCrop started here in Lubbock, Gayler says the device has the potential to change farming far beyond Lubbock's city limits. "This is something that we think will have a significant impact throughout the world," say Gayler.
Smartfield hopes to have more than a thousand SmartCrop devices in use by the end of next year.
Copyright 2010 KCBD. All rights reserved.