Digital agriculture is the general term given to technological devices that can collect, store, analyze and share data and information relating to agricultural processes. The practice of digital agriculture- also referred to as “e-agriculture” or “smart farming”- has increased in popularity in recent years and will inevitably allow for major growth of the farming industry soon. Below are two examples of smart farming:
Robotic Farming Systems
Currently, agricultural robots are capable of surveying and analyzing farm conditions and data then delivering the necessary actions based on their findings. For work out in the field, Agbots have been developed and will continue to grow more advanced. Currently, there is technology being developed that will allow these bots to give reports on the condition of the soil and the health of the crops and then give precise directions on how to proceed.
These systems are being implemented within the beef, poultry, and dairy areas of farming. These robot systems are capable of efficiently feeding, cleaning, and milking animals, and collecting and sorting eggs. In recent years, this kind of technology has also been crucial to the early detection of infections or illnesses in animals.
Satellite imagery is being utilized in the farming of crops. The imagery is fed to equipment capable of variable seeding rates based on the conditions of different areas of soil. This results in less waste and higher yields.
Satellite technology is also being used to aid in decisions regarding pest control, the application of fertilizer, harvesting and irrigation.
What are the Benefits?
It is projected that, in the next 30 years, the population of the world will increase from 7 billion to 10 billion meaning that the demand for food and produce from Australian farms will grow exponentially. In a time where farmers are facing such adverse and unpredictable climate and weather conditions as well as extreme variations in water availability, digital agriculture will help to revolutionize and stabilize the farming industry, helping farmers to meet the growing demand.
In some cases, smart farming saves time and in others, these machines are no faster than manual labour. However, the real advantage comes from the absolute precision and accuracy that these technologies can deliver. The complex data and information collected means that every aspect of the farm from the animals to the soil to the crops can be utilized to their maximum potential and benefit.
As well as farmers, consumers can also majorly benefit from e-agriculture as produce can be more easily traced. In 2019, consumers are demanding high-quality products and make their purchase decisions based on health, sustainability and the organic origins of the food they are consuming.
What Does the Future of Farming Look Like?
Richard Heath, the Executive Director of the Australian Farm Institute, has stated that “if all barriers were removed and the full potential of digital agriculture was realized today the potential boost to Australian agriculture could exceed $22.3 billion”. It is estimated that within the next couple of decades, digital agriculture will become the foundation for all aspects of farming, achieving a much more reliable and cost-effective industry altogether.
At Specialist Sales, we are experts in all things agriculture. We are committed to keeping our fingers on the pulse of the farming industry and as a result, we have gained invaluable and extensive experience with rural merchandise. To learn more about how we can help you, call 1800 780 317 to talk to a member of our friendly team or get in touch via our website.