Our global population is estimated to reach ten billion by 2050 – and the challenge of feeding these people is something to be addressed today for the good of tomorrow. Innovation around sustainable farming methods is well underway and smart agricultural technologies are providing effective solutions to help farmers increase yields and sustainably utilise resources. What do these smart solutions look like and what are they achieving on the ground?
Entering the smart green revolutions
Over the years, agriculture has had to adapt to shifting needs – dubbed green revolutions. The latest green revolution is underway and it involves a combination of precision agriculture and data collection and analysis to drive action and automation. The projected population growth is anticipated to require a 60% increase in crop production. Add resource scarcity and increased urbanisation and we are facing numerous challenges going into the future. We are also facing a range of opportunities, with exciting prospects for large- and small-scale farmers.
Sustainable farming methods in action
There are many different smart agricultural technologies on the market. These collect data in myriad ways, giving farmers real-time insights into resource usage, wastage, and optimisation. A quick overview of some of these technologies include:
Sensors are being used to collect data on a range of metrics throughout farms – everything from weather to irrigation effectiveness and fertiliser use. Data derived from farms in real time has the potential to inform the best way to plant, cultivate, harvest, and distribute crops.
By reducing inputs such as fertiliser and pesticide, farmers also prevent leaching of toxins and greenhouse gas emissions. By using data, farmers have a chance to fine-tune production yields through projections and probability maps around disease and climate.
Reduced overheads. Increased profitability
Decreased resource inputs means increased profitability for farmers. Smart farms are less dependent on labour and are more focused on machine learning and automation. In feeding our global population, we also need to strategise around distribution and smart farms create possible innovations throughout the value chain.
Consumers are more concerned with the sustainability, safety, and quality of their food than ever before. Optimised farm management also creates an opportunity for higher quality of crop yields and traceability.
Sustainable farming methods: from crops to cattle
Tags, sensors, and the Internet of Things are being used for the full spectrum of farming applications. In the field, crop farmers get almost constant insights into the state of crops, moisture and temperature, water usage, fertiliser, and pesticides.
Livestock farming is also getting smarter and more sustainable. Through ingestible technologies like the bolus from Smarter Technologies Group, individual cattle monitoring is inspiring data-driven herd management. This technology acts as an early warning system for undesirable temperature readings of individual animals for disease and calving. These actionable alerts are sent to a farmer’s remotely accessible dashboard, putting a stop to contagion. This ensures veterinary intervention takes place in good time and when necessary, upholding the viability of every animal.
GPS cattle collars work within an ecosystem of smart technologies, giving farmers location readings of cattle and sending notifications should their movements be out of the ordinary. This functionality is useful both for grazing management and as a preventative measure around stock theft.
Sustainable farming methods for smarter farming
Sustainability in a farming context aims to achieve a few key things. This includes the reduction or elimination of the use of chemicals, the preservation of natural resources, and reduced emissions. Simple systems of tags, sensors, pressure pads, and wearables for livestock allow farmers to use data collected on their own and neighbouring farms to optimise performance of their processes. By using this data, farmers are given a knowledge base for strategic decision-making and reduce inputs.
Contact Smarter Technologies Group today to find out more about our range of smart agricultural solutions for more sustainable farming.