For both necessity and profitability, the farming industry has come to incorporate technology to increase yields and improve efficiency at every step of the process. These technologies are collectively known as “AgTech.”
With the growing demands for increased food production and rising costs of land and equipment, it’s crucial to understand the latest planting technology and equipment available. Nowadays, modern farms have access to tech and tools that can help in a variety of ways, including:
● Devices and sensors that monitor temperature and humidity levels, as well as weather and soil conditions.
● Systems that help regulate crop maintenance including watering and fertilizing.
● Autonomous, eco-friendly equipment for planting, harvesting, and watering.
● Crop yield forecasting tools.
A publication by CropLife revealed some of the latest innovations that have made farmers more successful. One forerunner in agriculture technology is PrecisionAg Alliance, which was established in 2006. Although integration was slow at first, with improved access to weather stations, satellite imagery, and deploying sensor devices in fields, they provide farmers with data that helps with major crop decisions ranging from planting times, as well as the types and sizes of crops to develop.
Another game-changer is Taranis, an AI platform that uses aerial photos which enable farmers to better manage crops while improving yields and reducing the risk of plant diseases and other issues.
Crop Tracker also reports on AgTech innovations. In addition to improving crop conditions, artificial intelligence in the form of autonomous farm equipment created by companies like ASI makes it possible for farmers to seed and harvest crops around the clock. In an era of labor shortages, these technological advancements can reduce overhead and improve productivity.
Additionally, analytical devices that reduce the need for workers include systems capable of inspecting produce and monitoring soil conditions. For example, Harvest Quality Vision is comprised of scanners equipped with cameras capable of monitoring fruits for harvest readiness and even alerting growers of potential issues. Then with applications such as SCS, growers can easily develop a plan of action for fertilizing and watering to produce high-yielding crops.
With these advancements helping to drive cost savings and efficiency at scale, there’s no denying that technology will play a growing role in the future of farming. Even before 2020, farmers were experiencing increased costs in farmland, equipment, and goods along with the dire need to produce more fruits and vegetables. Since the pandemic, the shortage of supplies and labor has only worsened. Meanwhile, costs continue to rise on an international level. All of that has created even greater opportunities for AgTech.
A recent publication by Forbes shares the insights from Brandon Silveira, farmer and CEO of FarmFundr. All AgTech experts like Silveira acknowledge that farming has changed drastically over the past several decades. Initially, farmers relied on horses, plows, and hours of labor-intensive planting and harvesting a few acres, then came tractors and other equipment that increased productivity and the ability to tend more land.
Now, today’s equipment can maintain more than 1,000 acres in a single day because technology-based machinery is operated robotically. Plus, with various automated monitoring systems available, labor costs can be reduced significantly. That’s important, because “labor costs can range from 25% to 75% of a crop’s value.” Yet, when autonomous tractors are incorporated, labor costs can be reduced by as much as 80%.
All things considered, AgTech plays a major role in farming profitability. Bottom line, there are new solutions for practically every part of farming and once farmers begin to embrace these technological solutions for everyday maintenance and harvesting, the opportunities for growth and increased profitability will only snowball.
What is The Combine?
Invest Nebraska’s Combine Incubator is a statewide initiative focused on supporting high-growth agri-food entrepreneurs through mentoring, commercialization support, physical incubation space on Nebraska's Innovation Campus, and a network of supporting farmers and ranchers across the state. Invest Nebraska is a private, non-profit statewide venture development organization focused on high-growth companies in Nebraska and growing the state’s entrepreneurial economy. Invest Nebraska works directly with entrepreneurs, researchers, and companies to help commercialize their technologies, launch and grow new businesses, and access needed capital.