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  • Many of the farmers Aaron Bobeck works with see a return-on-investment from using precision technology. But the 31-year-old says he also encounters many who are frustrated and on the verge of turning their backs on it.

  • The United States Department of Homeland Security issued a report that states that precision agriculture is vulnerable to digital threats.

  • Agtech is a broad category ranging from farm-level analytics to genetics and biochemistry to food processing. This article focuses exclusively on farm-level analytics — which includes aerial and satellite imagery, farm-level profit optimization, field-level production optimization, and sensing — and for the most part has focused on improving machinery, input decisions, and economic decision-making. 

  • The Dutch National Experimental Ground for Precision Farming (NPPL) has selected 10 new farmers.
     
    The second year of The Dutch National Experimental Ground for Precision Farming(NPPL) project started on the last day of November. 10 new participants have been selected and they will start in 2019. This brings the total to 16 farming businesses. In addition to the 6 arable farmers who started with precision farming in 2018, 3 dairy farmers, 2 bulb growers, 4 arable farmers and an open ground cropper participate in next year’s edition. 

  • The Drone Volt’s Hercules 20 heavy lift UAV features a spraying system option. Drone Volt is selling one of the world’s strongest mass-produced drones into the Canadian market, the Hercules 20 (H-20).

  • The EU is asking all European farmers to take part in a survey to get a better view on the use of precision agriculture technologies in European agriculture. Is technology the way to improve farming?

  • When policymakers talk about “green jobs,” they tend to default to examples in solar power, wind and other sources of renewable energy—or perhaps manufacturing and supply chain management. They’re less likely to talk about agriculture.

  • One of the most common ways this new technology is discussed for use in agriculture is helping to make seed selection recommendations for individual fields. How does this work? How can a computer be programmed to know what seed to plant? There are a couple key aspects needed to make this new selection process work.

  • Insects, diseases and weeds are a farmer’s worst nightmare — pests cause severe crop damage and jeopardize harvests. Modern crop protection can help a farmer overcome these challenges and produce sufficient safe and affordable crops. In most cases, stress factors affecting plants are only detected when much damage has already been done. At this point, there is often little choice but to apply crop protection products to cure what little can still be saved.

  • The report says it “can be considered an interdisciplinary science leading to breakthroughs and incremental technology advances to improve agricultural productivity, efficiency, and/or sustainability.”

  • 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.

  • Africa may in recent years have seen a growth in the number of agritech services that offer things such as farmer advisory services or access to finance via smart phone.

  • Agriculture has always been a ripe market for tools that take the power of the computer out to where the action is — in the middle of a 1,000-acre field of corn, at an impromptu meeting in the farmer’s driveway, or out at the remote seed storage facility.

  • Technology which had been used to discover water on Mars, is now being applied to make agronomic maps faster, cheaper and better.

  • Technology has brought about so many advances in agriculture. 

  • With summer’s end, the savviest farmers plan to harvest more than crops alone.

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