The future has arrived – precision farming

| Prospects & Investment |

Speaking of agriculture nowadays, we will be more and more likely to mention UAV’s, Big Data and robots. In the near future, modern technologies are going to bring agricultural manufacturers closer to IT companies and R&D institutions.

The stereotypical view on agriculture has been deeply rooted in the minds of majority of the society. However, if we take a look at the changes taking place in the countryside in Poland and other European countries and perspectives of growth, the image of agriculture taken from museums of farming turns out to be false and unfair.

The past

The transition from gathering and hunting to agriculture and keeping animals was one of the key social revolutions in the history of mankind, and was later dubbed the Neolithic Revolution. The first farmers, without experience and using primitive tools, specialized in particular kinds of crops and sought the kinds of soil which will let their crops thrive.

Later on, the first universally adopted farming methods appeared. Plowing the land, using manure as fertilizer and crop rotation led to increasing and stabilizing yield. The chemical revolution arrived on the agricultural scene in the 19th century, with chemical fertilizers making it possible to increase the volume of crops. The industry, undergoing a phase of rapid development, became means of supporting farmers in their work.

Agriculture comes full circle

The development of modern technology has brought ground-breaking changes in the agricultural production. On the other hand, farming has been going back to the roots. We are more and more likely to consider each grain individually. As early as in the 1980′ farmers started to use GPS, giving rise to the trend which was later called “precision farming”. Thanks to precise satellite data, is has become easier for farmers to navigate their machinery.

Work on a system for flexible application of fertilizers began shortly. Upon collecting information about the physical and mechanical properties of the soil, farmers may vary the dosages of the fertilizer, depending on soil type and requirements. Once the necessary data has been collected, a GPS-enabled vehicle applies the necessary amount of the fertilizer automatically. In 1990′, the first LED systems were invented. In a straightforward manner, they signaled to the farmer the need to correct the path of the vehicle used for fertilization.

The next step

In an era of smartphones and other mobile devices, connecting GPS networks to the steering mechanism of agricultural machinery appears to be the natural step forward. We can easily imagine a field where hundreds of unmanned little vehicles plow, plant and collect harvest.

Handing farming over to robots and using Big Data needs to be the next, logical step. The first method involves replacing human staff with machines which are far more efficient, while constant data monitoring is going to optimize work, and increase yield as a result.

We must not lag behind

Technological development of agriculture is both an opportunity and a challenge for the manufacturers of products and machinery used on farms. With the farmers becoming more and more demanding customers, the chemical industry needs to use the most up-to-date manufacturing technology of fertilizer production and provision, in line with the customers’ expectations and the requirements of various soil types.