Tech for Farmers – Smart Farming!

The proliferation of IT permeated technologies in farm equipment industry is likely to send farmers on holidays in near future. It is because the connected farm equipment is expected to carry out almost all of the farming activities—from start to end—precisely and profoundly.

This late marriage between technology and farm equipment will not just increase agricultural productivity tremendously but also reduce manual labor significantly. As a result, farmers across the globe are well appreciating this technology driven revolution in agriculture sector especially, ageing farmer circle. Almost half of the agriculture workforce is 70 years or over in Japan whereas around 35% farmers are 65 or above in Europe.

The deployment of technologies, especially big data analytics, in farm equipment space is helpful in connecting agriculture ecosystem. It is also creating new business model for the industry (farm equipment). Due to this, the industry is emerging as smart sector which integrates operations and collects and disseminates real-time data from farm equipment to farmers’ dashboard.

With all-inclusive digital platform, the role of big data is becoming vital for both—farm equipment industry and agriculture sector. The technology (big data analytics) benefits equipment owners and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), too. It (technology) helps in the prediction of new equipment purchase for owners and to identify and develop efficient farming new products for OEMs.

On the other hand, a comprehensive farm input model on the basis of collected data on farm equipment provides recommendations such as features of field, its soil quality, essential fertilizers to be used, etc. to farmers.

The connected services between farm equipment and agriculture is drastically transforming the business practices of farmers. For better decision making, agriculture sector is relying more on technologies generated data as a result precision agriculture is gaining traction. This (precision agriculture) practice will be improved further by providing analysis through merging of data from farm equipment and other relevant sources.

How big data analytics deployed modern farm equipment is leveraging precision agriculture?

Accuracy: Like GPS, high precision positioning system is helpful in achieving accuracy while driving in the field. By the use of geographical coordinates—latitude and longitude—the system tracks the field and operate the agricultural vehicle in the field with the maximum error margin of 2 cm.

Sensors/Remote Sensors: In order to evaluate soil of particular field and health of crops, data is collected from a distance and sensor is widely used for this. Based on data generated through sensor, appropriate recommendation is made.

Geo-mapping: By producing map of the particular site, it provides information regarding soil type, level of soil nutrients, etc. in layers and give appropriate recommendation.

Integrated Communications: It establishes overall communication between a component and entire system. For instance, it leverages easy communication between vehicle operating in the field and farm office, spray and sprayer, etc.

VRT: Variable Rate Technology or VRT enables producers in varying the rate of crop input. The application equipment with VRT and variable rate control system is used for the application of inputs at precise time and location.

Automated Driving: In order to minimize human error and for the effective driving, automated driving or automated steering is encouraged in the field.

The use of big data technology in agriculture sector and farm equipment industry is still at an early stage. With the emphasis on the interoperability of collected data across different equipment developed by various OEMs, the agriculture sector is likely to witness paradigm shift in near future. This is going to transform the agriculture sector into digitized sector with farm equipment industry at its (agriculture sector) core. And the technology oriented new trend in agriculture will keep farmers at ease with minimum physical effort.


Subarna Poudel is a researcher with Frost & Sullivan. He can be reached at subarna.poudel@frost.com


Sapan Agarwal drives content and marketing for Frost & Sullivan. Sapan is based out of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and can be reached at sapan.agarwal@frost.com | +603 6204 5830

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