Happy National Farmers Day!
As an agriculture major I often get asked how on earth I ended up in the computer science industry. Can two industries be more different? We’ve been growing food for thousands of years and the internet has been around for less than 50. Agriculture and technology are by no means mutually exclusive. In fact, technology plays a huge role in agriculture.
Population, and therefore the demand for food, has been increasing. Farmland and the number of farms have been decreasing. How is this possible? Technology. There’s even a blended word for it: Agtech.
Timing is everything in agriculture. You don’t want to cut hay or water the fields before a downpour, breed outside of estrus, or harvest too early or late. Technology has allowed farmers to make better predictions so they can get the timing just right. Sensors can detect things such as pests, soil moisture levels, and fertility. Combining this information with historical data and 3rd party information such as weather, gives farmers insight into not just what needs to be done now, but also what should be done in the future.
Keeping track of resources is of utmost importance. If livestock break through the fence, they can get lost or injured. A cow doesn’t show for milking? You’ll know it and you’ll know where to find her if she’s down.
GPS enabled self-driving equipment ensures optimum use of land and resources by precision planting and freeing up farmer time.
If you want to improve your ROI, you need data. And because every no two animals are the same, you will need to have it for each one to determine which to breed and which to cull. How much feed is being eaten? How much milk is being produced?
While you won’t need data for each individual plant, each field has its own soil characteristics and fertilizer needs. You’ll need to know how much seed was planted and how much water, fertilizer, and pesticide used. What was your yield for the harvest?
The Future of Agtech
Technology is not slowing down and we are seeing even more opportunities to enhance agriculture, particularly through the Internet of Things and LoRa. If you need an app or embedded development for your business or industry, contact us!