System of Environmental Acquisition Data
The objective of this project is to develop an embedded system for data acquisition. A all-in-one system for Environmental Data Acquisition (EDA) that incorporates the knowledge that we have acquired over our course work within ESET at CPP.
Background on SEAD
A major component of this project is to get a very detailed understanding of the agricultural aspects that go into growing produce effectively as well as efficiently. Because agriculture and growing produce has such a large spectrum, we are focusing on more stationary crops with an emphasis on wineries and vineyards. Our first meeting was with a professor at Cal Polytechnic University Pomona who is also a member of Boskovich farming inc. He gave us an insight on the importance of finding “The Right Nicht”. Typical growers either lease property on a temporary basis, grow a specific type of produce, then till the entire site and prepare for a new grower to Lease the property. Other growers use the land indefinitely but replace the types of plants on a seasonal basis. Unfortunately for our type of project completely removing all of the growth/plants can cause damage to our design. We have decided to focus on stationary crops. We will go into more detail in other parts of the project.
We set an appointment with a local winery that works with our Hospitality department on campus. On our initial meeting we noticed that 76 acre vineyard did not look like a typical vineyard that you would see on the side of a hill. The vineyard was set in a 6 block grid that grew different types of grapes. The vines were not on trellises or garrisons the plants were simple planted between 10 and fifteen feet apart and grew in mounds low to the ground. Greg Galleano one of the owners and growers explained that the specific site we were at uses a technique called dry farming. They do not use much water and because the soil has a sandy textured top layer and a more gravel like layer 12 to 15 inches lower, the ground tends to hold moisture fairly well. Greg Explained some of the pros and cons of this site. The pros were that it is completely organic they did not add anything to the soil to affect the growth they simply “Let nature do its work”. They would take samples of the soil and send them to a company to be tested for specific nutrients. Another benefit is that they did not have to put a lot of money into the site because it was fairly self sufficient. On a good year with proper rainfall and temperature they could yield between 300 to 400 tons of grapes that would be used in wine production. Some of the cons were that it was a very windy location without garrison or trellises, the wind would cause some of the young grapes to fall from vines and this would affect the growth of the vines. He went into more detail about the temperature and how it can affects the sugar content of the grapes. It should be noted that too much sugar or too little sugar content greatly affects the fermenting process and how the final wine will taste. Another con was that on a very hot/ dry year the plants struggle more and as a result the grape yield was at 100 tons of grapes this was a third of what the potential could be. Greg also explained that it cost $250 to $400 dollars to have the soil tested each time and that they randomly pick locations to pull the soil from.
We asked Mr. Galleano what would some of the needs or things he would find beneficial. He said that the ability to test the soil for nutrients and water content would be a huge benefit. He also stated that keeping track of temperature and wind would help. He seemed most excited about the ability to have quick and efficient access to what was happening in the vineyard. The ability to know when to harvest to get the best/quality grapes and to have data to recognized over time what patterns were most beneficial. Overall this was a great opportunity to learn that there is more than one type of grower in the wine production process. This will give our design the ability to cater to multiple type of wineries and insure new opportunities as well as longevity. Our design will also allow growers to produce more efficiently while keeping track of positive and negative situation due to environment over long periods of time. These benefits can cut cost produce a quality product and track in real time what necessary data is needed. We believe that with our design growers will be able to grow more efficiently and with more knowledge of what is happening at any given point in the growing process.
Although wineries are our focus we also want to make sure that not just wineries can benefit but other types of stationary grower can find benefit in our design. We chose to meet with Dr. Jillian M. Gomez she is a agriculturalist that works at Cal Poly Pomona in the Henley centers agricultural dept. On our initial meeting she was very friendly and very enthusiastic about explaining what they do as far as research and growth for the hospitality department and the local cal poly farm store. The location was very small in comparison to the winery. She went into detail about some of the produce they grow examples kale, basil, carrots, pepper, etc. She felt that our design could have an impact on what they are growing and being able to track that information would have great benefits. She said while there department is small and they enjoy getting out in the field and doing certain things larger grower who are more focused on quality and quantity could benefit from the system. The downside is that with larger growers they typically turn the soil after production and prepare for a new season. The pros of this site were that smaller growers don't usually remove everything. They pull the plants and replant new ones without turning the entire area. This would allow us to work with smaller growers that have a specific need. Aaron and I also recognized opportunities to work with companies that do agricultural research as they could benefit with real time data. We plan on using this location as a testing area for our design because they will allow us to use a section to receive environmental data.