In the past, these challenges were solved by using mechanization as it proved to be the key to farming progress for food producers. Unfortunately, the idea of using mechanical equipment is not sufficient enough, therefore, professional growers are not only forced to embrace digital, but a whole host of innovative technologies to reduce costs and increase efficiency in this often volatile marketplace.
In 2017, the use of digital technology in agriculture resulted in 700 million dollars invested in AgTech companies, which is more than double the previous year. However, by 2015 it’s estimated that the total required number of mouths to feed around the world will reach over nine and a half billion, so levels of investment will still need to rise for farming to meet the future demands for food.
So, what are our options? How can we successfully deal with this upcoming crisis? The team at Challenge Advisory has an answer that will help you realize how one of the biggest, cutting-edge technologies called the Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming traditional farming methods and ushering in a new era of food production.
How IoT helps increase the wellbeing of livestock
There are over two hundred and seventy million dairy cows producing milk around the world, but demand is outstripping supply and the public pressure for farmers to increase their yields is growing. For instance, in the UK alone, milk production has more than doubled in the past 40 years to a current peak average around 24 liters per cow. This has certainly kept milk prices low and in plentiful supply to suit the consumers, however, for a farmer to keep up with the growing demands for milk, obtaining a healthy herd is a constant challenge.
Last year, the team of Challenge Advisory has come to Fife in Scotland, to see how one company is using cloud-based technology to set the standard in assessing the well-being of livestock. The specific company’s CEO is responsible for manufacturing a technology that uses sensors to detect movement in farm animals. Local farm workers here in Fife have fully adopted the company’s cow alert system in April 2016 due to its immense value. The principle and step by step process that allows the sensors to track movement are fairly straightforward:
You might be thinking – so how exactly does this help the farmers?
Well, there are three or four really important things on a farm. One of them is female cow fertility in order to produce milk. They have to have a calf, therefore, one of the very first things that we do is we tell the farmer when the sensors are ready to be activated, so whatever the farmer does, he can use a special dashboard to find out that he’s got 12 cows with calves that are ready to produce milk today.
This amount of clarity that IoT gives to farmers, helps them see a huge variety of things, such as:
The Internet of Things technology allows farmers to have complete supervision and clarity on the wellbeing of their livestock, which is a direct factor of the overall farm’s performance. In the example we have covered above, professional growers are able to improve sustainability and profitability by gaining the ability to predict future problems using IoT. Even though the technology is being adopted at an increasingly faster pace, it still has a long way to go development-wise. Despite this, this innovation is already making the lives of farmers easier and it will do an even better job in the near future.