Artificial intelligence (AI) has transformed the way we do many things in business and at home. It is also key to a transformation in how farmers operate, at least in wine country. This interesting topic came to us from Quartz in their article, “Artificial intelligence is transforming the way we farm.

Irrigation is a key component of farming. Too much water can be as damaging as too little. Just ask those farmers in the Midwest this year whose fields were ponds. One winemaker in Napa Valley, California wanted to make sure it was watering its grapes just the right amount, so they used AI and drones to capture color, thermal, and infrared images of the vineyard, and analyzed those images to see if the grapes were being over-watered.

Thermal imaging can be used to manage watering of crops, and for other purposes than just the growth and harvest production. During drought season, water is a precious commodity. Thirsty crops tend to be a little warmer than others. That’s because, normally, plants release some of the water they soak through their roots through tiny pores on the underside of their leaves. When that water evaporates, it cools off the plant, just as sweating cools off humans. And the earth.

Melody K. Smith

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