The speed of change in smart farming is accelerating and many developments bridge the gap that prevents novices from adopting technology.
I have written about the revenue model of smart farming before, how to earn back investment in high-tech machinery, drones or drone services and to keep a constant eye on the vegetation index, crop yield maps and so on.
The rather unsatisfying conclusion keeps returning: real smart farming – managing cultivation better, based on big data, rather than on rules of thumb and the grower’s experience – just has not proven itself in arable farming yet.
Smart farming and precision technology do, however, help. Autosteering GPS guidance ensures that tractor drivers can stay focused on perfecting their work. Data collection by tractors and machines, and its subsequent storage in the cloud replace the classic notebook or the whiteboard in the office.
Permanent administration of required traction on a plot, combined with other measurements, may in the end lead to a data set that adds value to that plot. Photo credit: Trekker
Field cropping data
Just this week, I learned about another interesting way for smart farming techniques to become financially attractive. Agricultural IT specialist Corné Braber (AppsforAgri) compared a field’s data to a car’s maintenance log book. A car’s service history adds to its value when it’s sold and a field’s data does the same over the years.
One hectare of land with records – crop rotations, crop yields, registration of pesticides and fertilisers – could be worth 25% more in 2025 than land without a record history, the IT specialist says. How good is that?
Against this background, it is interesting to note that the Dutch Mechan Group, which imports four brands of tractors, offers a free link for two years to Dacom’s crop registration system with every tractor, starting next year.
Leo Tholhuijsen: Arable writer