Agriculture is continuously changing through innovation in science and technology; however, the agriculture industry continues to be called upon to produce more with finite resources. A major way to improve traceability, sustainability and quality of goods from a farm is through the adoption of technology, including an integrated farm management platform. Farmers can now, with the help of advancements in agriculture, maximize land and water resources while delivering the most nutritious food to the world’s ever-growing population.
The concept of an integrated farm management solution (FMS), based on information technology, is an effective way to manage natural resources while realizing modern sustainable agricultural development.
Technology advancements on the farm, like an integrated FMS, extend a farmers’ overall capacity, automate routine tasks normally done by people, and give farmers more time to do things computers can’t. It’s not a means to replace the personalized care farmers put into creating resources essential to human life, nor will the FMS determine the root cause of a problem in the field. A good FMS will include one-on-one expert support in farm management, crop marketing and agronomy.
In this article, we’re going to unpack the impact an integrated farm management solution has on farm, why an integrated FMS is so important, and what educational initiatives are working to help future farmers catch up with changes in agriculture.
Impact of an Integrated Farm Management Solution
The adoption of an integrated farm management solution in the agriculture field can bring several opportunities to growers and can significantly improve agriculture services and contribute to its continued and systematic innovation.
An integrated FMS is a management concept that combines communications and information technologies for managing changes on the farm and can have the following impacts:
- Increase efficient farmer productivity
- Accurately apply chemicals and fertilizers by reducing over-application or under-application errors
- Reduce ground and surface water pollutions
- Decrease greenhouse gases emission and pollution
- Improve economic production
- Increase timeliness of operations
- Increase efficiency through accurate equipment communication
- Increase product quality
Why is it important?
It’s believed that by 2050, the human population will reach almost 10 billion. As our current agricultural systems stand, we won’t be able to generate enough food to feed this population without the use of technological innovations.
Several years ago, a group of advocates of smart farming technologies published a thesis on the application of such technologies in Brazil.
“Technological development, such as the use of electronic systems and data transmission, has introduced radical changes to the agricultural working environment in recent years,” the paper outlined, “Given the persistent food shortage and population growth around the world, it is estimated that a 70% increase in world food consumption must be achieved from 2009 to 2050. The technologies linked to smart farming will be important in meeting this challenge of increased food production in the face of constraints such as climate change and other environmental issues.”
FMS is an essential tool to help farmers meet market demands. The wealth of information it provides helps them to work smarter to be more decisive and informed, and not left wondering over any component of the crops, business, market, or their employees. Used in conjunction with the best management practices, useful technology can allow growers to optimize inputs while maintaining crop quality and improving sustainable measures.
Education Initiatives Are Happening
As it stands, technology in agriculture is hugely beneficial and there are some excellent educational initiatives currently at work to further incorporate the latest technologies, improve productivity, and efficiently and sustainably use resources to address the challenges facing agriculture. Namely, the challenge to produce more while using less.
One such initiative is from Olds College in Alberta, Canada. Olds College launched the Olds College Smart Farm not too long ago. It is an initiative that plans to transform the previous Olds College campus farm operation by using new technologies, solutions, and sustainable resources that agriculture desperately needs to implement worldwide.
During the farm’s launch, the college noted everything that was going to be implemented. These include installing stationary soil monitors, digital weather stations, and wireless grain bin sensors. The farm will also utilize data analytics, facilitate machine learning, and use artificial intelligence (AI) to turn data into information and information into knowledge, among other features.
Along with this revolutionary initiative, Olds College plans on educating students on how agtech addresses the challenges put on the agriculture industry. The only way to change the future of agriculture is through educating future farmers on emerging technologies that are constantly revolutionizing the industry.