Innovation in agriculture is critical to accomplishing long-term food security and increasing productivity. According to Baron Trees, “We’re on the cusp of a new revolution in agriculture on the scale of the industrial revolution.” From full-scale automation to precision farming methods, the future of farming is set to look quite different to traditional approaches. What can farmers expect and how does technology address the challenges they face going forward?
What is driving innovation in agriculture?
The need for development
As an essential service, how we produce our food has the potential to be streamlined for enhanced sustainability and increased yields. Tim Mordan at Defra has said that agriculture is three times less efficient than other sectors of the UK economy. A £24 million package by government to boost agritech is indicative of the need for change – and government’s support of new technologies.
The risk around food security
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation has said food production will need to increase by 70% by 2050 if we are expected to feed a growing global population. When it comes to meat production, the World Health Organisation has estimated that meat production needs to increase to 376 million tonnes by 2030.
Multifaceted challenges exist on this front including ever-reducing arable land and limited resources. With this in mind – in-hand with climate change commitments for 2050 – farmers are going to need to pivot dramatically from traditional methodologies to increase production at the required rate.
The labour question
The lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the dependence on foreign labour by farmers in the United Kingdom. Indeed, around the world, farmers have been inspired to integrate automation wherever possible to combat the shortcomings of manual labour processes. With benefits around increased capacity, lower overheads, and streamlined supply chains, this is one of the major areas affected by innovations in agriculture.
As we have mentioned in previous blogs on smart agricultural solutions, lockdown has also had the effect of raised crime rates in rural areas. This has a knock-on effect when it comes to productivity, requiring downtime in the wait to replace lost equipment, lost resources, and interrupted operations. Smart technologies alleviate these security issues, with the ability to provide additional data insights with benefits for management and supply chain efficiencies.
Smart Technologies and Innovations in Agriculture
Smarter Technologies’ smart farm solutions are informing data-inspired management for precision farming. This means increased productivity. If you are imagining a complex digital ecosystem, the key to their effectiveness is simplicity. This system of tags, sensors, pressure pads, and gateways is easily integrated into existing systems – and advances them through real-time digital insights.
A full-farm view at all times
These smart technologies are powered by the Internet of Things and communicating data to remote dashboards over the secure Orion Data Network. This means farmers get a comprehensive view of their farming operations, even over multiple locations 365 days a year, 7 days a week. The data is collected in real-time and alerts can be set to notify farmers and farm managers of changes outside of the norm, inspiring meaningful reaction across customisable metrics. This empowers farmers to calculate resources, reduce wastage, and increase yields for high levels of productivity.
Supply chain optimisation
Through data insights, farmers are able to strategise to prevent bottlenecks, inventory glitches, maintenance issues, and threats to productivity and profitability. Both on the farm, on trucks and transport, and at point of sale, what can be monitored can be managed to precision levels of efficiency.
Smart livestock farming
Smart technologies don’t stop at the farmyard or field. They are being used to great effect in cattle management too. Our ingestible bolus keeps farmers informed around temperature readings for the purposes of early disease detection, calving, and milk production – an insight that informs broader strategic disease management for cattle and dairy farmers. GPS tracking collars are also nothing new in the industry but, in tandem with this smarter infrastructure, is a powerful tool to reduce theft and enhance herd management.
The latest innovation in agriculture are smarter
Smarter Technologies is leading the change for farming operations of all sizes. The future of farms will almost certainly be data-driven, automated, and smart – simplifying the lives of farmers.
Contact Smarter Technologies today to find out more about their smarter farming solutions.