Precision farms are losing money because they cannot consistently grow the crops they need to meet customers’ demands for which they can command a premium price. The problem is that they do not have a means to measure their crops for safety, potency, taste, and aroma until after harvest (i.e., “plant and pray”). As a result, they can’t optimize the growing environment, nutrients, etc. to produce this high-quality product that their customers demand.
In addition, there are a number of high value crops (e.g., spices, grapes, etc.) that are very sensitive to the growing environment, weather, and other factors that are difficult to control.
Finally, the adverse effects of climate change, the need to feed more people with less arable land (for example, over the last 50 years the amount of arable land available per person has been reduced by 50%, and the need to produce more agricultural products in remote & harsh environments (e.g., the Canadian North) means that more production is being moved to indoor, high-tech, facilities. So, not only is there more pressure to increase the yield, but also to guarantee that diseases and pathogens are not introduced to this high-density environment.