Utah farm using robotic vertical farming to feed their animals for less

Posted at 8:19 AM, Nov 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-30 01:08:05-05

MOSIDA, Utah — A Utah tech company, Grōv Technologies, is working with a local farm, Bateman and Mosida Farms, to produce food for their cows more efficiently.

It's being done in towers that handle the whole growing process from start to finish.

The farm produces milk and meat from their cows, but raising them takes a lot of feed and a lot of time.

Now, technology is making part of the process easier.

Olympus Tower farms made by Grōv are a form of robotic vertical farming.

"The key is you can eliminate the weather challenges and it can give you a predictable optimized crop every time," said Steve Lindsley, the president of Grōv Technologies.

It starts with wheat seeds being loaded into trays. Then, they're wheeled up to the top of the tower to start a six-day journey back down to the bottom of the tower for harvest.

Along the way, they're watered with precision and given light from special LEDs that don't give off any heat.

The whole process is automated too, meaning it can run without the help of many traditional farmhands.

Grōv says each one of the towers produces 6,000 lbs of food each time it goes through its cycle. That saves money, time, water and energy. The benefits don’t stop there either — they are then passed on to the consumer.

"Each of these machines represents between 35 and 50 acres of land, so in this case here, it's the same as 50 acres of land but it's only covering 875 square feet of the ground and it uses 95% less water to grow the crops," said Lindsley.

Saving water and space is something that's becoming increasingly important as the demand for more homes increases and climate change increases the chances for extreme drought in the summer months.

"One of the biggest challenges farmers have around the world is how do they deal with the weather, the climate, and the uncertainties that come with that," Lindsley said.

The new technology couldn't have come at a better time for the farm either.

"In the first weeks and the first month of the COVID-19 Pandemic things started to go a little bit crazy," said Brad Bateman, a farming operations partner at Bateman Mosida Farms.

He said the farm wasn't able to order in a lot of their feed at the beginning of the pandemic, threatening the cows' food supply.

Now they can rely on their own production of feed, and this model of farming could be adopted beyond farms in the future.

"The vision that I see is there’s probably one of these in the back of every supermarket growing fresh food right in the store," said Bateman.

Grōv Technologies told FOX 13 they plan on rolling out this technology worldwide once they reach agreements with other farms.