Farmers today face greater challenges than any previous generation. In addition to decreasing income and increasing debt, farmers are preparing for a true food crisis. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), by the year 2050, there will be 9.6 billion people on this planet. This expected jump in population will require a 70 percent increase in food production.
As farmers and ranchers work to meet food demand across the world, access to cutting edge technology is becoming more important. The gradual evolution of crop management practices led growers to transition from manual processes to utilizing smart tech to manage their fields. “Before the tech, you had to walk every inch of the field. You had to generalize, which led to over application of pesticides,” said Mr. William Richardson, Director of Training and Development for Proagrica.
The benefits of today’s technology touch every aspect of farming operations. “With more successful fields, more land is utilized. And fewer chemicals, which is better for the environment and the consumers. Ultimately, doing what is optimally needed for the land is a win-win for everybody,” said Mr. Richardson. From improving daily operations and finances to enhancing time management and cutting down on man-hours for training, you can see improvements in operations and efficiencies. Additionally, the reduction in water and chemical use leads to healthier crops and higher yields, while conserving resources and reducing chemical runoff. For agronomists and growers, the access to data and the ability to use crop analysis technology has opened new doors.
Agronomists now have the ability to:
- Provide detailed data in real-time
- Guide growers on data security
- Create standardization in data to establish a historical record
Growers are now able to:
- Increase crop production and quality
- Better manage costs and create efficiencies
- Measure performance and make incremental improvements each season
- Deliver improved environmental, social and economic performance
Because of the growing focus on technology, the ag industry is now seeing increased use of precision ag tools, such as remote sensors, grid sampling, global position systems and geographical information systems, variable rate technology, auto-guidance equipment and proximate sensors technology. With these new tools, also comes a new set of challenges and opportunities.
- The growing need for ag education at all levels of the industry
- Understanding which tech can help and which is just hype
- Looking at long-term data to make predictions and more informed buying decisions
- Taking advantage of the enhanced ability to make more profitable, environmentally friendly decisions
- The option to take action in real-time
Looking forward, growers must partner with technology companies and agronomists who understand these opportunities and challenges. The smart tech brings limitless possibilities, but requires the willingness to invest in education, to accept change and to develop new skills. Growers who take advantage of the opportunities, and find partners to support them in overcoming the challenges, will lead the way for the next generation.
Learn more about how the ag industry benefits from the agronomy tools offered by Proagrica in our whitepaper Growing Farms of the Future: Using Smart Tech in Smarter Ways.