The new year is well on its way. With it comes new technology and innovation geared towards the many problems producers and other stakeholders face in agricultural production. Some of them are meant to improve entire industries while others simply seek to improve the lives of consumers. Each technology or method currently under research and development is astounding in its own right and will pave the way for the progress of the overall agricultural sector. Let’s take a look at some new innovations for 2014:
Biochar from Biomass:
By now many of us have heard of bio energy which is renewable energy made available from materials derived from biological sources. According to the website Wikipedia.com, “biomass is any organic material which has stored sunlight in the form of chemical energy. As a fuel it may include wood, wood waste, straw, manure, sugarcane, and many other byproducts from a variety of agricultural processes”
The Cool Planet organization has created a patented two-part mechanical and chemical process which converts biomass into both carbon negative drop-in gasoline and biochar. This clean renewable fuel can be distributed and used in today’s vehicles with no change to existing infrastructure. The biochar, when placed in the ground as a soil enhancer, removes CO2 from the atmosphere while improving the soil for agricultural use.
Later this month we’ll learn more of biochar from a young Belgian agri-entrepeneur who utilizes biochar in her business endeavors.
A diagram depicting how Film Farming works
Film Farming: Here in the Caribbean many of us are aware of plastic mulch used to suppress weeds, conserve water and sometimes to reduce disease. There is no better case of science providing an improvement that Film Farming. According to its creators Agricel this is “a technology in which plants are cultivated on a hydromembrane composed of water-soluble polymer and hydrogel. This hydromembrane absorbs water and nutrients from the culture medium, and does not release any to the plant side. Accordingly, the plant develops a lot of fine and dense roots closely attached to the hydromembrane surface to absorb water and nutrients.”
This technology saves 90% of water consumption, Uses 80% less fertilizer, protects crops from diseases via pathogens as bacteria and viruses cannot penetrate the membrane material, its low cost and it allows the plant to produce many nutrients. An interesting technology it is.