Santa Cruz Tech Beat


Taking Ag-Tech to the Fields

By Dennis Taylor
The Salinas Californian

September 3, 2015 — Salinas, CA

An upstart, home-grown ag-tech company has its product out working farmland in the Salinas Valley with plans to broaden its product line in the next couple of months.

And two students from the CSIT in 3 program run by Hartnell College and California State University, Monterey Bay, had a strong hand in designing the software.

Heavy Connect gathers data from multiple product lines and turns it into actionable information that farm managers can use to increase efficiency and save money, said Patrick Zelaya, cofounder of the Salinas-based company, a start-up born from the Steinbeck Innovation Cluster.

“The technology aids farm management,” he said. “Everyone who is not a farmer wants to put it in a category, but it crosses many categories.”

Designed for enterprise-size farms, Heavy Connect technology is being deployed in area cropland operated by Tanimura & Antle and Reiter Affiliated Companies.

At its core, the technology is a cellular-based platform that connects farm equipment with farm managers, providing acres of data that Heavy Connect turns into useful information. For example, sensors detect and transmit information about a tractor’s fuel consumption – one the biggest costs on any farm. The company’s analytics software pinpoints the problem to a lagging engine because wrong gears are being used.

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