Smart agricultural analytics is the key to solving the problems the farming industry faces. As of right now, the agriculture industry is facing challenges on several fronts. They have to feed a population that will grow to 10 billion by 2050, while being more sustainable in farming methods. Furthermore, they have to accomplish all of this within existing arable land because expansion is not an option.
To find innovative solutions, farmers must turn to smart agricultural analytics. In our previous blog, we touched on what agricultural analytics can do for agribusinesses. But, in this blog, we touched on how analytics can help small farmers who have to deal with the problems facing the industry.
Smart agricultural analytics can help farmers tackle the problem on several fronts.
Pests can ruin crops and cut into profits. This explains why farmers have been very liberal in their use of pesticides. However, misusing pesticides affects plants and living creatures. For example, pesticides can run off into water sources, which people and animals drink, essentially poisoning them.
Fortunately, by using smart agricultural analytics, farmers can protect their crops from a pest attack without using too much pesticide.
Analytics platforms can collect data on previous pest attacks and generate a report. Farmers can use this report to understand vital information, like the timing and frequency of pest attacks. Once they understand the nature of the attacks, farmers can adjust pesticide use to create a more environmentally friendly approach to pest management.
Small-scale farms are dependent on their yields for income. This means a poor yield can put farmers in a poor financial state. Compounding this problem is that yields are not annually consistent. They are dependent on several external factors, putting farmers in a difficult position.
Smart agricultural analytics can go a long way in mitigating the damage that comes from uneven seasonal yields. The analytics platform can collect years of farming data and use it to estimate yields for the next 2-3 years. Anticipating yield can provide greater stability for farmers.
This can help farmers who, in the past, have had their earnings hit hard by unexpected changes in consumer demand and weather.
Smart agricultural analytics can do more than optimise current resource usage. They can also pave the way for innovative use of current crops.
Data analysts can use the data to make unexpected discoveries, which farmers can use to deepen their understanding of agricultural practices. For example, data analysts discovered a connection between carotenoids and egg yolk quality.
Smart analytics can make connections that seem small but make a huge difference in farming operations. When farmers make use of these small connections, we see a significant improvement in livestock and crop quality. Using data analytics, analysts found a connection between trace minerals and livestock metabolism.
Climate change has made the old farming cycles less reliable than before. In many developing and developed nations, farmers often rely on tried and true methods to yield a bountiful harvest. However, climate change has rendered some of these methods moot.
Changing seasons and weather conditions have made conventional farming methods unreliable. What used to work a few years ago no longer works in the current climate. This puts farmers in a difficult position because methods they have used for generations don’t yield the desired results anymore.
But, data analytics can help farmers find a new solution that can adapt to the changing climate. For example, farmers in Taiwan optimised production cycles around the changes posed by climate change, using IoT sensors and data analytics platforms.
While agritech is making some exciting gains in the past few years, it is important not to forget that small farmers are a crucial part of their industry and that any tech solutions should not be beyond their reach.
As technology becomes more accessible, smart agricultural analytics could provide the key farmers need to discover new methods to double farming productivity, while being more environmentally friendly and earning a steady income.
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