If you're a farmer or someone else who works in the agricultural industry, you know that a great deal of your livelihood is controlled by the weather. The changing seasons, fluctuating temperatures, precipitation, and various climate patterns all play a huge part in successful crop production.
Fortunately, many of today's farmers are better able to control what happens to their crops because of modern technology. Here are four ways Australian farmers are using modern technology to cut costs.
1 • Cloud Computing
Farmers in Australia are using cloud computing, along with different other types of technology, to improve efficiency in crop production. More and more agriculture businesses are utilising data analytics, besides remote sensors, for creating what's known as "smart farms".
For example, farmers collect many kinds of data, such as water and soil moisture levels, crop yields, and crop growth figures. By taking advantage of cloud computing, farmers can ensure product freshness, improve supply chain efficiency, and have optimal labour hours and crop production.
2 • Big Data Technology
Although the term "big data" is used for describing all types of digital agriculture, it actually pertains to collecting and interpreting exceptionally massive volumes of data. Digital agriculture involves using sensors, monitors, and other types of digital technology. Once it's collected, the data is interpreted so that there's more precise information for making decisions in farm management.
Uses of Big Data
One of the primary ways big data is utilised is in yield production, which uses mathematical models for analysing data around weather, yield, leaf and biomass index as well as other things. By predicting yields, farmers can get a more accurate idea regarding what they should plant in addition to knowing the best time to plant. Sensors are used to collect data. As a result, there's less labour involved. This improves crop production.
Risk management is another important use. Farmers using big data are now able to estimate the odds of having to deal with problems such as crop failure. This results in a significant amount of financial savings from what would have been a financial disaster from shifting weather patterns.
Food spoilage prevention and food safety—Microbes and food contamination can instantly be detected because of big data farming. Data can be collected for information, including temperature, humidity, and chemicals. By discovering problems early, repair bills are less and there's not as much wastage.
3 • Precision Farming
Precision farming has been proven to be highly effective, especially in New Zealand, where agriculture is a key industry. Also known as satellite farming, precision farming involves a GPS device that's installed in a vehicle for the purpose of spreading fertiliser. Data is sent through a network to a secure server.
The system monitors the rate and width of fertiliser application, which allows farmers to check the trail of a fertiliser spreader, besides improve their farm management. As a result, farmers can cut costs. In other words, thanks to precision farming, farmers are less likely to waste fertiliser, as they use only the amount that's needed.
4 • The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) in large-scale farming agriculture is a term that refers to using highly interconnected sensors for measuring information, such as the number of seeds a farmer plants, soil moisture levels, fertiliser amounts used, temperatures of stored products, and other farm variables.
One of the main benefits for farmers is that they can reduce production costs. What's more, the internet of things improves crop monitoring so that there are fewer crop losses from harsh weather or disease. This modern technology also improves communication and is more affordable than mobile networks.
Considerations and Warnings
- Digital agriculture in Australia is mostly used for growing crops, such as in remote monitoring by drones, satellite, or internet-connected harvesting equipment. However, it's also used in cattle farming.
- Consider how, historically, agriculture in Australia has been plagued with extended droughts and irregular rainfall, which can result in financial loss for farmers. That's why modern technology is especially helpful here as it helps with crop monitoring.
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