Where Does Agriculture Fit In This Digital Revolution?

Pivoting Old Methods to New Automation

The ag industry was built on generations of families producing so much with so little. Not enough water. Not enough labor. Not enough money. But farmers always found a way. The one way. It’s called effort through hard work and determination. On a farm, everyone’s day starts before the sun comes up, and seldom are they done before it goes down. That’s just what farmers do because the one thing they always have to count on is time (and a strong back). Now imagine committing that same effort to a new technology that can help alleviate your physical tasks and automate the time-intensive pieces that normally slow you down.

Get More Time to Focus on What Matters Most

Think about it. Real progress in ag happens when something comes along that provides the industry with more time. Time to focus on the things that matter most like crops and livestock. The first agricultural revolution took place when we collectively moved from hunters and gatherers to planting and sustaining (the creation of farming). When you consider the use of horses and oxen were seen as “technology” in the 1600-1700s, you realize how far farming has come. 

The second agricultural revolution came about through mechanizations. These breakthroughs were monumental. The cotton gin, reapers, and barbed wire gave farmers hundreds of labor hours back for every bushel and bundle produced. And that happened in the late 1800s! By the time the ag industry was into the 20th century, gas tractors, cheap fertilizer, and more efficient irrigation systems were commonplace. These were the technology advances of the time that created a more sustainable farm. When we talk about farming today, what is the one thing that will save you time and money? The answer is modern technology. 

What Are Some Examples of ‘Modern Technology’ Used Today?

From the front office to the fields, digital technology has taken a front row seat in the daily lifecycle on numerous farming operations across the nation and around the globe. At first blush, this means new apps on mobile phones, custom designed software, and GPS capabilities embedded throughout your operation. But it’s more significant than that. When farmers incorporate these digitized tools they create margin and operational insight for owners and managers to make informed decisions in real time. 

Here are three newer AgTech trends that get us excited about the digital transformation that you should consider using in your operation (if you’re not already): 

  • Intelligent Crops: There are numerous ways to digitize the actual crops in the ground to give them a voice by using specific tools that constantly provide data points on their overall health. Save time and money by pinpointing the specific acre that requires your attention when crops need water, pesticide, or herbicide. And only give them exactly what they need!
  • Water Flows, Ag Grows: The entire ag industry recognizes this sentiment. Water is the source of life and business. Work smarter, not harder, and install an irrigation system that you can manage and monitor from your smartphone. Find the vendor that can give you the information that you need to remotely monitor water system usage, leak detections, and weather analysis. Some systems tout a track record that has saved farmers more than 15 million gallons of water for a cost reduction of $137 million. Look into a system that can save more than 60 percent of this precious resource for yourself and your neighboring farm community. 
  • Stay on Track: Have you ever been on a theme park ride? Day in and day out the ride travels on a predetermined track to maximize the entertainment of guests. Why not implement the same idea for all of the motorized machinery in your fleet? Use tracking logistic software to optimize a set roadmap for any type of vehicle used in your operation. You can save time, fuel, and annual maintenance by being smarter about the places in your operation that you can incorporate new technologies. 

Additional agriculture technology could also include any use of the following:  

  • Drones
  • IoT-based sensor networks
  • Phase tracking
  • Weather forecasts
  • Automated irrigation
  • Light and heat control
  • Intelligent software analysis for pest and disease prediction and soil management
  • Biotech 

If you want to learn about other exciting innovations, click here to read one of our previous posts about the importance of AgTech.

Aren’t Major Technological Advancements Reserved for Large Corporate Farms?

Absolutely not! If you’re operating a small or medium-sized farm (less than 1,000 acres), then technology—like custom software, precision farming tools, or data analytics—is just for you. In fact, smaller farms have historically seen even more gains through the use of technology. A recent study by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln showed that nearly 95 percent of farmers who use precision agriculture and data management technology said their investment was worth it because they (70 percent) realized increased profits based on the use of technology.

The Time is Now

What took days and hours out in the fields to manually collect, process, and analyze can be completed in minutes from your front porch or office desk. Ag organizations that are using technology already have a leg up on the competition. They’ve realized the benefits and are enjoying the positive gains in their time, yield, and revenue. It’s mind blowing to think about all of the power you can put at your fingertips. 

If you’re not sure where to start, schedule a chat with us using this link. From mobile apps to custom software, we have the expertise and passion to automate any process that is overly time consuming or cumbersome. And that’s just the beginning! Let us equip you with your very own digital revolution so you can reap the benefits. 

This post was written by Jeff Rickels, Technical Writer for Bitwise Industries. When he’s not pouring over volumes of copy, he’s contemplating which mode is the best to solo with on the guitar in any key. (It’s Mixolydian, if you were wondering.)