The Hobolink Data loggers are an innovative technology that Farm to YoU NH adopted in August of 2015. Andrew Ogden, Farm to YoU NH instructor, was rewarded with a grant from The Tuttle Foundation’s Endowment for Environmental Horticulture at UNH which helps to supports horticulture education, teaching, and research here at UNH. This has allowed Farm to YoU NH to better monitor and manage environmental conditions in our high tunnels.
This system measures many variables in our field and high tunnels that allow students to track the micro-environment for our farming systems online. Hobolink uses sensors in the beds and a datalogger to measure specific variables: soil and air temperature, relative humidity (%), water content of soil, dew point, and photosynthetic active radiation (PAR). They are connected to a WiFi hot-spot that is installed in the heated high tunnel; this allows for 24 hours monitoring. The students can access this data online from any location to see the status of the farm. Having this system helps Farm to YoU NH stay as efficient as possible because the students can adjust the amount of irrigation and ventilation needed in the tunnels and on the field for optimal efficiency while also reducing waste. The Hobolink online database takes the data from the remote locations and create a chart for each variable measured. The changes in data are tracked for analysis and to make comparisons between the tunnels and the field, as well as making comparison between months, etc.
The cost of the equipment itself is fairly reasonable- the unit itself costs about $900 and each individual sensor is an additional $100-200. It’s an investment for any grower to choose to make, but so far it has proven to be a very valuable resource to the class. Our data logger is connected to a WiFi hotspot that is set up in our heated high tunnel, but there are other options for internet connection, such as direct connecting an Ethernet cord or by using cellular service. They do not require a lot of electricity and can be run off of a very simple solar panel, allowing for use even in remote off-grid areas. We have incredible technology at our disposal and can access the information our data loggers record whenever we want. The links to the information that is recorded by our three sensors are posted below and we encourage you to take a look!