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Powering the future of precision farming

The ultimate vision for precision farming is a solution that uses connected technology to simultaneously address all of a farmer’s pain points.
Read time 3min 20sec

In 2016, the global agriculture industry was worth close to $3.2 trillion and the global precision farming market is anticipated to reach $10.23 billion by 2025.

In this series of four articles, I’ll discuss the vision for the future of precision farming and how it can be made a reality with the right network: one that is as equally autonomous as the assets it must support.

Agriculture today is on the verge of a revolution, but while the agriculture industry is growing, so is the burden on today’s farmers. Agricultural operations around the world face mounting pressure to feed an ever-increasing populace, meet stringent sustainability regulations, and overcome a myriad of other modern challenges, all while conserving both farmland and water due to a diminishing natural resource base.

What the agricultural industry needs most today is to perfect its operational efficiency, creating as much yield as possible while using as few resources as possible. Luckily, by leveraging the industrial Internet of things (IIOT) and Industry 4.0 technologies, modern farmers can harness the power of automation to establish precision farming practices, or practices that use technology to flexibly ensure every centimetre of arable farmland is properly utilised for the future of farming.

Now, the questions are:

  1. What will the rise of precision farming and agricultural automation mean for farming operations in practice?
  2. What applications could be leveraged to help them solve the issues that are most pressing for their unique environments?
  3. And what will farming operators need to enable these new assets and programmes, which will have increasingly autonomous demands, over time?

An answer to today’s agricultural pressures

The ultimate question for today’s agricultural industry is this: How can farmers achieve peak productivity while also keeping costs low and using sustainable practices?

Finding an answer to this question could have major implications for farmers. It could mean feeding the growing population while using less farmland; using fewer natural resources while increasing yields; reducing pests and diseases without stripping the soil of its nutrients.

The right holistic solution could revolutionise the way the world farms.

In short, the right holistic solution could revolutionise the way the world farms.

Luckily, thanks to the introduction of advanced equipment and rugged, dynamic networks, the agricultural industry is taking the first steps towards that answer: precision farming with IIOT and automation.

Precision farming relies upon IIOT devices and other automated equipment to increase efficiency while remaining sustainable, working day and night to produce a higher yield. Leaders in the agricultural industry are now embracing it with open arms − in fact, the agricultural robots market is projected to reach $16.3 billion this year.

The global agriculture machine-to-machine market is also projected to see significant advances in the near future, growing at a CAGR of more than 47% over the next five years.

The ultimate vision for precision farming is a solution that uses connected technology to simultaneously address all of a farmer’s pain points, from increasing yield to streamlining harvesting to improving irrigation efficiency.

While the realisation of a fully automated farm won’t happen overnight, farmers can implement a stepwise approach to integrating IIOT into their agricultural operations today, deploying applications that can drive major, immediate productivity gains and then building upon that foundation with more obscure applications to incrementally increase precision, reduce waste and maximise yield.

But, they’ll need to start with a network that can easily grow to support more and new IIOT-enabled assets, with increasingly autonomous demands, over time.

In the next article in this series, I will discuss the road to precision farming – automation and how to make it accessible.

Teresa Huysamen

Head of the wireless and surveillance business unit, Duxbury Networking.

Teresa Huysamen is head of the wireless and surveillance business unit at Duxbury Networking. She has been part of the IT sector for the past 26 years – 15 of which have been at Duxbury – and is passionate about her role in the industry. As part of the product, marketing and sales cycle, she is focused on meeting customer needs with innovative technology.

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