Why precision farming is here to stay

To date, I’ve written about many technological marvels that are changing the agricultural landscape bit by bit – from drones, to cloud computing and renewable energy, from water optimisation to virtual fencing.

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Many of these innovations are viewed as single-standing technologies, but tech-savvy farmers are likely to use a selection on their farms.

How are we going to integrate these technologies and still keep it simple? Enter precision farming.

Precision farming is not just an idea – it’s an industry. There are already many service providers that offer integrated solutions to get the most from your farm.

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According to London Free Press, precision farming is expected to become a US$4 billion (about R64 billion) global industry within the next few years.

Just imagine having a drone monitoring your land, sending soil data to your office, where it’s combined with information obtained from sensors in the soil. Your precision farming system will enable you to calculate the exact amount of water and fertiliser your land requires. You will improve your profits and yields, while reducing the negative impact of over-application of chemicals (as explained by NASA in this interesting article).

Precision farming methods are already being applied successfully by local farmers, such as Farmer of the Year Brad O’Neil, who told Farmer’s Weekly it will play a crucial role in the sugarcane farming sector in the near future. But it’s not just going to be limited to this sector. In livestock farming, for instance, farmers will apply information technology to assess the animals and resources involved in the business.

A lot of the technology involved in precision farming sounds like rocket science to me, but it’s the integration that excites me. As we see more of this coming to the fore in agriculture, let’s hold thumbs for simple and easy-to-use interfaces!