Precision farming as a concept has been around for decades now, it has shaped years of technological advancement but certainly to begin with, it was overlooked. There has always been a deep-rooted mindset in farming communities that the old ways work best. Or if it isn’t broken then don’t fix it. Except for many decades the farming industry was broken and farmers all over the world were burying their heads in the sand and just getting by. Truth be told many farmers weren’t even getting by.
So, farming suffered significantly, farms everywhere were subject to foreclosure and “over-debted”, under-producing farmers were doing all they could to either hide from the problem or deny it existed. Then external forces started to have a huge impact on farms. So, coupled with the general day to day burdens from within came the outside world asking for more accountability in farming practices, cleaner farming methods and also with a growing population the world wanted more produce. With all that in mind it is not at all difficult to see why the suicide rate among farmers is much higher than the general population.
Then the concept of precision farming began to be realised. It grew beyond the early stages of an idea and blossomed into the saving grace of the entire agricultural industry. Farmers being asked to be accountable were finally able to monitor and measure every aspect of their farms. They were able to demonstrate with evidence how their farms were operating. They cut costs on outdated or expensive farm management practices. They cut labour costs as well as improved their own work life balance. In short, the precision farm revolution has helped farmers everywhere and here are 10 ways that sophisticated farm technology has improved farm managers lives. It goes without saying that precision farming is a game changer but we think you might be astounded at just how amazing it can be.
- Less pesticides and herbicides. Farmers are now able to earmark specific problem areas for spraying with the big bad pesticides and herbicides. Instead of investing in whole tanks of the stuff to spray entire fields they can now use drones to identify and spray only areas that need it. This means a small barrel might be enough for an entire farm and we are sure we don’t need to tell you how much money that saves every year.
- Less seed wastage. With precision seeders farmers are able to put seeds down into the ground where they want them and in the quantity they want. They are no longer relying on a scatter as much as possible and “hope for the best” mentality. By collecting specific yield data, year on year, they are improving output by honing in the fine art of seeding. This reduces costs as with point one simply because farmers are no longer having to spend on excess seeds.
- GPS tracking. This does a farmers driving for them, some farm machinery still needs an operator, however with GPS technology most vehicles will now not only drive themselves for the most part but they will also perform their role using their location to govern if it is needed. An example of this is seeder equipment that will use the GPS information along with field data to govern whether or not to release seeds.
- Cutting labour costs. Simply, instead of hiring a person (or army of people) to weed, spray or harvest for you it is now all in the hands of the machines or drones or unmanned rovers. Simple cheap technology is now replacing the need for expensive human labour and keeps farm management costs down.
- Big data. Farmers everywhere are using apps on their phones to input farm data, every day of the year. This is then collated into a huge pool of data and allows academics, tech companies and other farmers to use that information and see where things can be improved. It is like one big farming think tank that is fuelled by hard data from the ground level. It is truly astonishing to think that data can be used to improve yields in a whole sector.
- Better storage. Using the statistics and previous years data about crop spoilage in storage has allowed farmers to improve crop retention each year. Higher retention means higher profit margins as well as more produce to meet the growing demand without major expansion of existing fields.
- Improved soil quality. With precision tech farmers are able to conduct lab-worthy tests on their own soil, using this analysis they can then work out whether to plant cover crops or whether a field should be left to naturally improve. All of this is literally in the palm of a farmer’s hand now and without the expense of sending off samples to be checked by experts.
- Smarter irrigation. No longer do farmers have problems with irrigation. Precision tech can irrigate a field to the nearest drop and sophisticated drainage systems allow excess water that may build up during bad weather cycles to be removed rather than remain and damage the land.
- Financial Control. Software that any laptop can run is now being used all over the world to manage farm finances. Designed specifically for agriculturalists this tech allows farmers to understand where money is going and how much to expect in return. This then allows them to make smart farm decisions and set realistic and financially achievable goals without committing blindly to big financial risks.
- Reduced workload. All of these sophisticated tech advancements mean that the general running of a farm has become simpler, less stressful and more rewarding. The hard toil and excessive work strains are no longer plaguing farmers everywhere. An honest day’s work is no longer the back breaking, anxiety inducing burden of yesteryear. In fact, precision farming is having staggering effects on the wellbeing and quality of farmers lives. We have even heard of farmers that sit back and read a book while their GPS tractor does the field rounds. Farm life is once again good.
Why don’t you start precision farming today and take small steps to enrich your farm life? Perhaps you’re a precision farm pioneer and have some ideas, thoughts or advice to help farmers new to it all? If so leave your opinion in the comments below. Don’t forget to check back here regularly for the latest tech news and up to date reviews and precision farm opinions and practices.