A Digital Future for Farmers
The world may have had a slowdown since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but that has not stopped technology from advancing towards something bigger every day. It is said that we live in a highly digitized era, as has been witnessed through massive and steady growth in technology over the last decade.
Digitalisation is basically incorporation of technology in everyday tasks to improve functionality. For example, when you request for an Uber or make payments directly through apps on your phone, you are using a digital platform to perform tasks which were once done manually.
Just like in other sectors, digitalisation is slowly revolutionising the vast and complex Agriculture sector. This has brought about massive impact on how the food and farm industry operates. Concepts like indoor farming, vertical farming and hydroponics have made us wonder what else can be achieved in agriculture through modern technology.
Digital farming leverages on an integration between precision and smart farming. Precision farming is a technology-enabled approach to farming management that observes, measures, and analyses the needs of individual fields and crops while smart farming is more focussed on the use of data acquired through various sources (historical, geographical and instrumental) in the management of the activities of a farm.
Digital Farming can be done through installation of network connected ‘smart’ devices as part of Internet of Things (IoT) or they can be software as a service (SaaS) based agritech.
IoT in agriculture comprises the use of sensors, drones, robots and cameras which are installed on the farm to record data. The data can be analysed to provide information on soil, weather, and crop growth patterns.
Digital farming has basically enabled efficient farm management as farmers can access timely valuable insights so that they can adopt best practices, thus optimizing productivity of the farm, reducing losses and maximizing profits. Farmers can now get their queries solved and manage the supply chain directly through applications on their phone.
What does the future hold?
- The idea of a driverless wheel on farms might not sound that practical at this point but will soon be a reality through advanced technology. Agriculture will have driverless tractors, drone controlled robots and remote controlled harvesters.
- Farmers will be able to access and control the actions on their farm remotely through digitized systems.
- The introduction of artificial intelligence, satellite imagery, machine learning, data storage in clouds and advanced predictive software will help farmers make crucial decisions in real time, hence saving time, resources and maybe even crops from the destructive effects of pests or extreme weather.
- Advancement in agritech will be pretty favourable as it will be highly scalable and easy to use by farmers who do not have advanced IT knowhow.