Farming is the world’s oldest industry. And it’s been through a few revolutions in its time. But if you thought the green revolution in the 1960s was big news, think again. The most significant disruptions in farming still lay ahead of us. So what’s going on out there?
Deep Placement Fertiliser
In poorer countries, farmers have to fertilize their soil by hand. This is a laborious process, but it also wastes a lot of fertilizer in the process. But now farmers can buy a new type of fertilizer that comes in the form of briquettes. These briquettes are placed a few inches below the soil after tilling. And then they release nitrogen into the soil over a longer period of time. According to the data, these briquettes have helped raise yields by a whopping 18 percent compared to regular fertilizer. Farmers using the system also use about a third less fertilizer. And that’s good news for the world’s poorest farmers.
Heat Detection Systems
Keeping track of the health of livestock on farms has never been easy. But new heat detection technology is set to do just that. Typically, it’s always been hard to tell whether a cow is about to go into labor. But thanks to heat detectors, monitoring cows 24 hours a day is now possible. Calves in the womb can be detected, and farmers alerted.
Heat monitors can also be used for other purposes. For instance, they can help farmers keep track of feeding, restlessness and when cows are asleep. What’s more, they work in the field, meaning cow-data can be collected no matter where the cows are pastured.
Smart Zoning Systems
Given that the smart revolution has come to every other sector of the economy, it’s no surprise that it has arrived in farming too. Smart apps are changing how farmers control zoning on their farms and collect data. It’s now possible for arable farmers to divide their land into seeding management zones using software. Then these areas can be tracked for all sorts of variables. Farmers can monitor their yields per hectare, for example. And then based on these data, farmers can experiment with new systems.
The cloud is something we associate with computing and business. But it’s making an appearance in farming too. The idea is to make data generated by the farm accessible anywhere in the world. Farmers can use mobile apps to keep track of their farm’s performance while they are away from the farm. And those data can then be used to inform consultants who could offer farmers advice on how to become more productive.
Cloud-based systems also allow farmers to collect more data cheaply for individual animals. Collecting data on individual animals is necessary to keep livestock healthy. Changes in behavioral patterns can be an indication of problems in the herd. And so anything that warns farmers early of disease is a benefit.
Intervening early in a disease situation is crucial. Early warning signs allow farmers to administer antibiotics quickly. And this, in turn, decreases the chances that infection will spread from one animal to another.