The Future of Farming is Digital

The Future of Farming is Digital

Digital transformation is the future of farming. It is a clear-cut strategy to improve yields, efficiency, and cost savings in the agriculture sector. But connectivity constraints are creating a road-block to deploying the smart products required for digital transformation.

Digital transformation is not a new concept to agriculture. A vast number of farmers want to deploy smart products so they can better manage their operations. But given the large, rural nature of most farms, they are faced with extremely slow, costly, and unreliable internet connections — that is if they are lucky enough to even have connectivity. 

In the United States, for example, around 75% of farms do not use any sort of smart products in their operations. Those who are using them are running on outdated 2G and 3G networks which are expensive to set up, lack real-time data, and can only support a limited number of devices. In addition to those constraints, 2G and 3G will soon be a thing of the past as telecom companies are starting to eliminate the networks all together.

But with today’s advancements in technology, there are solutions out there. Technologies like LPWAN and low Earth orbit satellites are rapidly hitting the market with an aim at connecting the entire world. By 2030, upwards of 80% of the globe’s rural population is expected to be covered with advanced connectivity infrastructure, paving the way for the digital future of agriculture.

What does a digital future for farming look like? Smart agriculture products on the market, such as drones, IoT sensors, and autonomous vehicles are enabling the agricultural sector with a vast amount of benefits. 

Drones, like the P4 Multispectral, are an efficient way to analyze the health of crops and direct farmers to the exact location of concern. By flying over hundreds, or thousands of acres of land, the drones are incredibly effective at aiding in decision making, faster reactions to issues, and ultimately reducing the number of lost crops.

IoT sensors are another essential smart product for a digitally transformed farm. Arable is a sensor that is deployed across a field of crops to measure and analyze precipitation, weather, plant health, harvest timing and more. Using machine learning, the devices give farmers highly fast and accurate decisions to help their yield. 

Although it may be a few years away, companies like John Deere are developing autonomous tractors to take productivity and efficiency to the next level. The tractors will be enabled with internet connectivity and artificial intelligence in order to operate completely unmanned, freeing up workers for other tasks around the farm.

The future of agriculture is a promising one. With technologies to overcome the connectivity barriers, digital transformation can thrive and farms of all kinds will be able to reap the benefits.