San Joaquin County farmers saw an increase in crop values in 2018, largely due to new technology and techniques, according to its annual crop report.
Growers are using such techniques as flying drones over orchards and fields, satellites to measure their crops, and collars for dairy cows to monitor their nutritional needs.
Stockton grower Paul Sanguinetti raises almonds, walnuts, corn, and tomatoes. He says he can monitor the watering needs of his crops 24/7 via the web.
“You get it from the probe in the field which goes to a satellite which goes to a website," Sanguinetti said. "The website gives us a graph so we know exactly what the water is doing so that we can keep it in a certain zone. You’re giving the plant everything it needs all the time and so it can get maximum production.”
He says the use of drones, soil sensors, and satellites can help to determine how much fertilizer is needed which can be inputted into the tractor to map it out.
“Technology gives us the advantage to put more on certain spots," Sanguinetti said. "Tractor knows it, here I am, so I know to put 100 gallons instead of 50 gallons.”
The report shows the crop value in the county at almost $2.6 billion, an increase of over 2.5 percent.
Almonds were the No. 1 crop followed by grapes and milk.