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VILLA CROP

As demand for food grows, we need to ensure the way we produce it remains as environmentally sound as possible. Farmers can now be guided by technology, to use earth’s resources like land and water in the most efficient way. It can also help them apply vital inputs like crop protection and fertilizer in the right amounts. This is called precision agriculture, and here 10 ways Farming First supporters are putting it to good use.


Technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) has made its way into our lives and businesses.

According to the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), technology is about more than better and faster, it’s also about sustainability. For farmers and ranchers, this translates into how food is grown and raised and the role technology is playing on the farm

What is a Farm?
A farm is an area of land that is devoted primarily to agricultural processes with the primary objective of producing food and other crops; it is the basic facility in food production. The name is used for specialized units such as arable farms, vegetable farms, fruit farms, dairy, pig and poultry farms, and land used for the production of natural fibers, biofuel and other commodities. It includes ranches, feedlots, orchards, plantations and estates, smallholdings and hobby farms, and includes the farmhouse and agricultural buildings as well as the land.

Farmers are using technology – moisture sensors, drones, smart irrigation, terrain contour mapping, self-driving and GPS enabled tractors – to produce food more sustainably. According to the Future of Agriculture in The Economist, farms are being ‘teched up’ when it comes to growing food to be both sustainable and profitable. This is a good thing because between 2016 and 2050, the earth’s population is expected to grow to 9.7 billion.

Investment in AgTech continues to rise with AgTech companies taking in more than $1.75 billion during the first half of 2016. Today’s farms and ranches are using a heady mix of data, math, hardware and software, sensors and analysis to go beyond what the eye can see. Technology like multispectral analysis lets a farmer see which crops are doing well by looking at how the plants absorb or reflect different wavelengths of sunlight.

Cassia Networks, an IoT solutions provider, says ranchers now have the ability to continuously monitor the status of all their cows at one time. This includes everything from wearables on cows to monitor their health, location and behavior, controlling water troughs and feeders and even management of the irrigation system for the pastures.

Sensors of all types are being deployed in the earth and from the air. For example, put a multispectral sensor on a drone and the data it captures will enable farmers to better predict how crops should be watered. Or put the same sensor on a tractor that’s fertilizing the soil and it will be able to see which crops are in need of more or less nitrogen. In the ground, in-field water sensors can help pinpoint the best times and rates for site-specific areas irrigation.

In a recent survey by the USFRA, 56% of consumers said they expect farmers and ranchers to use new technologies and innovations to protect the environment.


In the developed world it is becoming increasingly hard to source labour to do some of the less pleasant tasks on poultry farms, and some argue that a key way to improve welfare is to improve the amount of environmental monitoring that takes place on farm.


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