Some people call this period of technical development the second Industrial Revolution and every industry is benefitting greatly from digital tech, not least agriculture. In this short article, we outline some of the innovative farming initiatives that are changing the sector for the better.
• Drones – Ask any Australian farmer about drones and you’ll get a thumbs-up; drones help them to find lost livestock, check fencing and spray crops. A solar-powered spray drone can be programmed to cover the entire field and the farmer can focus on other aspects of their business. Hi-res cameras with a controlled zoom feature and auto flight path configuration are invaluable and drones are developing so fast, with larger craft, higher payloads and more powerful features.
• Ploughing – The latest generation of disc chains make ploughing a breeze; fewer passes and very accurate depth control make ground preparation an easy process. The equipment can be set up for every soil and season and can be installed on new or existing frames, while all you need to change or adjust is a single tool, making changes in the field an easy task.
• Computer-controlled growing – Whether greenhouse or open field, farmers use solar-powered laptops to control nutrient delivery and lighting; flower growers run a hi-tech operation that guarantees high yields and cutting-edge software is designed around the growing process. There is even software that scans crop images, giving a health read-out.
• GPS tracking – If the leader of the herd is tagged, the farmer can locate the animals, even over a huge spread; either drones or GPS, or a combination of both helps the farmer to keep track of grazing. Some Australian cattle farms are massive and prior to droving, the cattle must first be located and what used to take a whole day can be done in an hour. Click here for the top reasons to drink tea.
• Solar power – No industry makes better use of solar energy than agriculture, especially here in sunny Australia and innovative tech means the system is charging even on cloudy days. Of course, the federal government offer financial incentives for farmers who embrace clean and renewable energy, and with strict emission controls, wind and sun are both used to provide essential power. The end goal is to end fossil-fuel burning, a journey that will take a decade, then the planet can begin to heal.
• Produce packaging – Developments in eco-friendly packaging keep produce in prime condition – from field to table – The materials used are recyclable and biodegradable, which means zero plastic waste; composite eco-friendly materials are being developed on a daily basis and the small farming community can now directly sell their produce to the consumer, thanks to premium packaging.
We are moving into a new dimension of digital connectivity and by merging with AI, the future is going to be an exciting time for the farming community. Processed food contains harmful preservatives, and this is good news, as farming is a booming sector that has the environment.