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    How Lumo is Making Vineyard Operations More Sustainable Along Multiple Key Dimensions

    A sustainable vineyard in Napa
    by Steele Roddick

    When Lumo was first founded, we were squarely focused on the issue of water scarcity and helping growers use water more efficiently. 

    But as we’ve deployed our smart valves into vineyards and gotten more firsthand experience, we’ve come to understand that our impact is broader than we first imagined.

    Though the issue of water scarcity remains core to what we do, it’s become clear that we’re able to help growers run their vineyard operations more sustainably along a number of key dimensions. 

    To continue farming indefinitely, for generations and generations to come, growers need enough water for sure, but also enough energy, enough help, enough young people who want to take over, and perhaps most importantly, enough profit to keep the whole operation chugging along. 

    How Lumo helps with all those things. 

    The water piece is straightforward. We help growers move from duration to volume-based irrigation. More precision. Greater control. No running the water an hour or two longer just in case or just because. 

    We take manual errors out of the picture. We monitor flow rates in real-time, so that accountability is built-in. We can catch leaks automatically, preventing gallons and gallons of water from spilling out and causing crop damage. And irrigations can be scheduled in advance and executed on their own, allowing growers to shift to nighttime irrigation runs and lose less water to evaporation. 

    But there’s more…

    Now, because we give growers the ability to irrigate at any time of the day or night, that also means they can take advantage of off-peak electricity rates. Some growers see a 20-30% cost savings on their electricity bill right there. 

    With the valves opening and closing automatically, growers are also able to greatly reduce the number of times they need to send irrigators out to different ranches. Our software sends updates when irrigation cycles start, when they stop, and whenever there’s an issue, so there’s no need to send someone just to check. Growers can check themselves, on their phone or laptop, at any time, from wherever they are. 

    The end result is a dramatic reduction in the amount of labor hours required, fewer miles on your trucks, a lower fuel bill and smaller carbon footprint. We’re saving more than just water here. 

    People and Profit 

    Of course, none of the environmental stuff matters if you don’t have people who want to run and work in the business. And even that doesn’t matter if the operation isn’t economically viable. Vineyard work needs to be attractive and it needs to pay. 

    Young folks don’t want to be wasting their time doing jobs they know technology could do better, faster, cheaper, easier. And they want software that looks, feels and functions like all the other apps on their phone. 

    That’s exactly what growers who use Lumo say. “This is actually really easy to use” is something we hear nearly every day. Making good software is a priority for us because we know the young people coming into the industry won’t settle for less, and frankly, the older folks already in the industry shouldn’t have to either.  

    Where the rubber meets the road 

    In the end, no business is truly sustainable if it can’t turn a profit. From day one, we’ve known that our value proposition must, first and foremost, deliver on a dollars and cents basis. The return on investment needs to be real and immediate. 

    The returns from using Lumo come from reducing irrigation labor, saving on energy, fewer truck rolls to the ranch, wasting less water, and improving crop quality and yield. Perhaps even more notably, it comes from having a product that’s easy to install and that’s supported by our expert field team who are always ready to address any and all issues that may arise. Automation systems that aren’t in use or that cost thousands of dollars to maintain or repair are no good to anyone. The technology must be practical. It has to work on the farm, day in and day out, not just in theory. 

    When people think of sustainability, they often still think of narrow environmental concerns. But most growers know that a much broader definition is required. To keep farming for generations to come, growers need clean air and water, but also so much more. 

    In a world where water is scarce, labor is short, and profit is hard to come by, vineyard managers must find ways to do more with less. They need innovative solutions that dovetail seamlessly with the rest of their sustainability efforts. You know, solutions like Lumo.

    Go Back to the Lumo Field Journal