Farming By Smartphone

Computerized cabbage and carrots: how do you feel about that?

Virginia Tech helps develop smart farm in Roanoke County -

Virginia Tech is adding the Smart Farm to the Smart Road (ahem) in its bag of tricks. They don’t say how much wire, microprocessors (with their externalized costs) and rare earths are involved in testing and measuring the moisture and nutrients of the ordinary earth through which miles and miles of wire would pass under the vegetable rows. I feel certain the average small-scale farmer couldn’t buy such a system now on the income from ten years worth of sales.

My first thought was that it would take me about a half hour to chop cables in two with my big hoe. How do you plant wires and then avoid them? I’m sure they’ve thought of that.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. ah, this reminds me of a friend who lived in a village without mains sewerage and whose neighbour stuck a garden fork at regular intervals through their waste pipe. It wasn’t until a pool of raw sewage collected at the bottom of the garden that they realised their mistake.

    Is it not possible to test the soil by less high-tech means?
    I am no farmer but…