In the modern world, agriculture has become one of the engines of progress alongside medtech, fintech, edtech and others. There is even a term “agritech”, which means the introduction and use of modern technologies in agricultural practices. The technologies for collecting, analyzing and processing data from farms have evolved and become more accessible. That allows farmers to make accurate predictions, save money and time, simultaneously resulting in sustainable farming evolvement. But why does farming have to be so technologically advanced?
Over the past two decades, the revolution in information technology has changed all aspects of people’s lives. Why should agriculture stay behind? Besides, the meaning of agro has now gone way beyond just farming. It is becoming more and more integrated with other sectors of the economy, and this integration requires optimization through the use of smart technologies. Let’s see what the options are.
Smart Farming Technologies
The main sign of progress in agriculture is the fact that fewer people are working with the land today. Their work is now performed by special agricultural machinery, robots, drones and other devices. Those smart technologies can be divided into three large clusters:
- Precision farming
- Smart agro device (drones, robots, and sensors)
- IoT tools and apps
The definition of precision farming is the use of smart devices and online tools to manage crop productivity in response to different changes. Such approach to farming leads to optimization of operating costs and an increase in yields due to reduction in the amounts of seeds, agrochemicals, fertilizers, and water used. Precision farming also includes satellite field monitoring and agricultural machinery management via GPS navigation, which allows for full, remote control over the sown land.
It also provides the possibility of applying no-till farming methods. Such methods significantly cut labor and fuel costs, but require highly accurate data to make a decision of abandoning tillage. And this data cannot be obtained without the use of modern technology.
Smart agro devices
Drones include ground-based drones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), multicopters (quadro-, hexa-, octocopters), and winged drones. The latter are more often used over large areas or for mapping purposes. They also allow creating electronic 3D maps of fields, calculating indicators for fertilization, inspecting fields and monitoring the state of crops, as well as monitoring the operation of transport and agricultural machinery. Monitoring from drones can provide data not only about crops, but also about weeds, namely their density and even variety.
Sensors are installed in the ground at control points for determining the characteristics of the soil and are able to detect soil types, weather conditions, weeds, parasites and promptly inform the user about it.
Agricultural Robots are used in a wide range of farming tasks from harvesting to cleaning the area from weeds. For instance, smart tractors and combines can work autonomously and do not require a human presence, which makes it possible to use them at any time of the day. Besides, they can be equipped with many additional features, such as built-in pest control systems.
IoT (Internet of Things) is a system of interaction and information exchange between various devices and machines, which makes it possible to automate management and control processes through various smart devices, significantly reducing the need for human participation.
Thanks to all these technologies, net farm income is forecast to increase by almost 23% from 2019 till the end of 2020, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The main benefits these technologies bring are the rational use of time, reduced number of personnel, and monitoring in real time, significantly cutting the expenses on farm management. One of the tools that can help enjoy all these advantages is EOS Crop Monitoring.
EOS Crop Monitoring
This is an online agro platform to help farmers monitor their fields easily based on the most relevant satellite data. Here are the main benefits it offers:
- Convenient and time-efficient monitoring of all the fields in one place
- Budget-friendly variable rate application method: saving up to 20% on planting seeds and fertilizers, based on the data about changes in field’s productivity and the distribution of resources accordingly
- Better planning of farming activities with the historical weather analytics up to 5 years and reliable 14-day forecast
- Field Activity Log – Managing all your field works in one place (planning, comparing planned and actual costs as well as the time spent on the activities)
- Accuracy and transparency of insurance payouts based on objective indices (rainfall, drought, NDVI, pasture)
- Sending scouts to investigate only specific parts of the field: problem areas detected as early as possible
- Making better-informed decisions thanks to soil moisture monitoring for individual fields
The main takeaway here is that farmers should not shy away from using any particular technology or group of technologies. The future of agriculture strongly depends on the use of the latest innovations. With time, farmers will be able to afford choosing between myriads of technological wonders helping to create a more sustainable economy and environment.