How New Farming Technology Is Influencing the Way Crops Are Produced
We think of farming in terms of tradition. Practices that are handed down from generation to generation with few changes. However, new farming technology has also touched this industry, with new tools and farming equipment that help streamline operations, save money and yield better crops.
We look at 6 of the latest technologies in agriculture that are transforming the work of farmers and growers across the country and the world.
1. GPS Helping Farmers Find Their Way
We think of GPS in terms of drivers on a highway or getting directions to a store in the city. However, new farming technology incorporates satellite positioning to precisely map crop layouts and the location of irrigation systems.
Advanced tractors are being outfitted with automatic steering systems to help dig rows and furrows in a field or paddock. Once the field is plowed, GPS information can help farmers control the placement of seeds within the furrows. This leads to a reduction in waste while saving time and money.
Need to test the soil to decide which areas need fertilizers or other nutrients? GPS positioning can help plot the samples so you always know exactly which areas to treat.
Finally, GPS guided drones can be used to perform many tasks, from creating 3D maps of fields and spraying crops to monitoring livestock.
All of these tools ensure farmers can make smarter planning decisions and make quicker adjustments to produce higher yield, healthier yields.
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2. Sensor Technology Becomes a Farmers Right Hand “Man”
Farming requires constant monitoring. Crops require precise conditions, from the nutrients in the soil to the proper water levels. Sensors are used to automatically monitor soil content, the weather, levels of humidity in grain silos, and manage irrigation cycles.
These new tools allow farmers and growers to understand crops at a micro-level. This way they can make adjustments to reduce environmental impact, make better use of resources like water and soil, and adapt to changing weather conditions.
2 Types of Sensors:
- Location sensors – Use GPS technology to triangulate a position in a field
- Optical sensors – Used to aggregate and process data related to the color of plants and soil composition
Above all, sensors help farmers have a deeper understanding of soil and plant health so they can make adjustments if needed.
3. Online Resources for Farmers and Growers
The World Wide Web offers endless information, resources and management tools that help farmers in many different ways.
Internet tools for farmers include:
- Cloud computing
- Bookkeeping and other business software
- Farming apps
- Production tools
- Planning and plotting tools
- Online discussion forums
To find online forums in your country or internationally, simply Google "farming in New Zealand forum" or "raising livestock in the US forum".
Well-known online farming resources:
- Farmers Weekly New Zealand
- Farm News New Zealand
- Farm Online Australia
- Farming UK
- Farm Europe
- Farm Week Now
- USDA Small and Mid-Sized Farmer Resources
- AG Daily
Favorite farming apps:
- Grower’s Edge
- Weather apps
- Ag PhD App Suite
- Pioneer/Encirca View
- Farm Futures
- Climate Basic
- Weed ID
Be sure to check out our resources as well as tools and equipment for precision agriculture and farming.
4. Mobile Devices Make Farming Smarter
How has technology changed farming? Let’s talk about mobile devices like phones and tablets.
Smartphones aren’t just for making calls and checking emails. Mobile phones and tablet devices such as iPads put a wealth of “farm tech” right in your hands. These devices can be used out in the field for any number of tasks.
- Mobile apps that collect information about crops
- Check the weather
- Get updates from buyers
- Create farm and plot maps by guiding drones from a mobile device
- Take pictures of plants to determine the source of disease or pests attacking crops
These tools can help farmers manage day-to-day operations and make long-term plans for future seasons.
5. Smart Farming Is the Future
All of these technologies have combined to create an emerging trend called Smart Farming or Precision Agriculture. It involves taking contemporary Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) into agriculture.
In many ways, the future of farming lies in ICT.
ICT incorporates modern tech like the Internet of Things (IoT), GPS, robotics, sensors and actuators, Big Data, drones, and precision equipment to enable farmers and growers to make decisions now and for the future.
For example, real-time sensor data can be used to determine where and how to irrigate crops by measuring soil moisture. The data helps farmers pivot the sensor to vary the rate and directions of irrigation.
Drones can be fitted with sensors to detect plant health and NIR values so farmers/growers can make adjustments.
Smart farming is also beneficial for those raising animals. Technologies can be used to better regulate nutrition, monitor the health of livestock, and help prevent disease.
ICT provides more opportunities to enhance sustainable farming practices and elevate productive output based on data generated from the fields.
6. New Farming Technology for Livestock
Livestock management includes poultry, dairy cows, cattle ranches, and other related agribusinesses. It’s important to keep accurate financial records, supervise staff, and ensure the health and safety of animals. Modern technology makes it easier to track and manage livestock in areas like nutrition, genetics, and digital technology.
For instance, dairy cows can be fitted with wearable sensors that track their activity and health. The collected data can provide insights so farmers can make adjustments. New genomic technology allows farmers to make animal selections for breeding and find ways to avoid genetic risks.
Computer vision and data allows farmers to make critical decisions that result in stronger, healthier herds. This translates to increased profitability and higher yields.
Farming and Technology Growing Together
Technology has impacted every segment of the population and every industry. The agriculture industry is no exception. New farming technology is creating helping to collect data, create plans, map planting, and monitor growth.
Be sure to explore check out our resources and tools for agriculture and farming. Our blog is also another great resource to learn more about the latest farming methods.