Precision farming has revolutionized the way we produce crops and farm as well as our understanding of farming in general. Using precision tech has helped farmers reach a level of profitability that was previously unheard of and created a vast industry that thrives with strictly calculated ROI, yield projections and cost reduction. Aside from the staggering profitability of employing precision farming techniques, it has helped create a sustainable attitude to farming, one that is more ethical and environmentally conscious.
The brilliant thing about precision farming is that as our knowledge expands and more technology is created, the costs of implementing precision farming techniques and buying the tech is reducing. With every farm that adopts precision farming practices, we are learning a wealth of new information that in turn helps precision farmers to further adopt even more precise methods of farming.
For struggling farmers and farms the world over, precision farming represents not only a beacon of hope but also a tangible and very real way to save their farms and provide long term consistency. All this is done while reducing manual workload. It is a win-win situation all around.
Open Pandoras Box and Delve into the World of Precision Farming Technology
In 2019, environmental issues are taking a huge spotlight in the public eye. Coupled with volatility in the financial markets, now is the opportune time for farmers to really explore the technology that is available to them to boost profit margins and make their lives much easier. Below we have outlined 3 key areas that farmers should examine further and look to implement on their farming business. These 3 areas represent a simple but very effective gateway to precision farming that will help you maximize profits and expand your tech arsenal further as time goes by.
Yield Monitoring Tech
When all of your farming practices have been completed over the year, it all culminates in your yield or total output. On a very rudimentary level, every aspect of your farming has built towards this very simple overall goal.
Yield monitoring technology takes into account all of your farming methods and then monitors your results. These go way beyond telling you what yield to expect year on year and dive deeper into the processes that contribute to your overall yield pointing out areas for improvement.
Essentially, at the end of each growing season, you will have lots of information keyed into your database. Information such as soil condition, whether you used full-till, strip-till or no-till practices. How much rainfall your fields accumulated during the growing season. The condition of the ground at outset during your planting season. How much fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide was used. The list is almost endless!
The monitor then creates a full map of your farm, showing where your yield was best and highlighting areas that can be improved on. It tells you how much was spend on various farming practices and whether those practices were detrimental in lower yield areas of your farm. It pinpoints with accuracy where and how you can improve your growing season for the next year.
When the second year has been completed with changes made, you will notice two things, one that your yield has improved across your farm, and two, the system has again created a map highlighting areas for improvement. It is such a simple system, but it is worth its weight in gold for farmers looking to increase output, reduce costs and expand their farming enterprises.
Rainfall and Irrigation Tech
Any successful farmer will tell you that striking the right balance of water in your fields is the key to achieving a consistent and healthy yield. Historically, a crude rain gauge would be used at a single point on a farm that would give the farmers a bit of information about the rainfall on their fields.
Today, complete rainfall systems have been developed that monitor rainfall across multiple points. These systems also work with forecast tech to highlight areas that farmers need to ensure receive water and also flag up problem areas that aren’t draining that could easily be missed (especially across farms with large acreage) also drones are been fitted with sensors that can monitor water level after surveying a farm.
Plug these precipitation monitors into your irrigation system and you have a fully autonomous irrigation network that will keep your fields balanced without you so much as lifting a finger. Precision farming irrigation is just that, incredibly precise with some systems capable of keeping a field at its optimum to the nearest drop of water.
Nutritional (Tissue Test) Technology
We have discussed the invaluable tech that governs your moisture levels in your fields as well as tech that monitors your yields and feeds back information to farmers in a very specific way. Now we move onto the crops themselves and their overall health during the growing season.
Soils and crops need a level of nutrition that is dependent on conditions across the entire growing season. From planting the seed to harvest there will be very different parameters and requirements a crop will need at different stages in order to provide the best yield.
In the same way that irrigation and rainfall monitors adapt in real time and supplement the soil with water, tissue testing monitors will evaluate the overall health of the crops and make changes to soil nutrient supplementation.
Again, this tech is fairly autonomous and will work independently of farmer input to a great degree. Nutrients like sulphur, nitrogen and boron are invaluable to healthy crop growth, the system monitors levels in the crop of these nutrients and either flags issues to a farmer or for more sophisticated high-end tech takes care of the problem itself.
All of these systems are readily available, integrate with one another and will give you a leg up onto the precision farming platform. While they may seem like an expense (as they are), the ROI on precision farming tech, especially the 3 systems we mentioned above is phenomenal. Not only do they make you money, but they also save you money by cutting down on unneeded expenditures and reduce your workload.
The reduction in workload is crucial, it enables farmers to concentrate on the business management of their farms and relieves the financial anxiety that previously was all too common in farming.