When technology meets agriculture and sustainability
The pairing of technology with farming and agriculture continues to shape and drive the agricultural industry.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations predicted in 2009 that globally we need to produce 70% more food for an additional 2.3 billion people by 2050.
To cope with demand, and drive efficiency in the production process, farmers are increasingly turning to using more advanced technology than just five years ago.
For example, when it comes to supporting livestock farmers, Fujitsu has developed a ‘Connected Cow’.
The Connected Cow is a system whereby a pedometer monitors the steps a cow takes in a 24-hour period. It sends this data to the cloud, analyses it, and then accurately identify when oestrus – the period of fertility – starts.
This data goes to the farmer’s smartphone, tablet or PC, and lets them know when they can artificially inseminate the cow in the optimal time frame.
With this connected cow technology, the success rate of artificially inseminating cows rises from 44% to 90%.
It has been shown that improving the detection of oestrus in dairy cows by 10% above the national average can improve profitability by 0.97p /litre.
It is an example of how the Internet of Things as a whole is less about the individual components that collect the data, and more about the systems that can solve problems or industrial challenges in a practical way.
With increasing demand for more advanced technology, it comes as no surprise that a recent survey by McDonald’s of UK farmers found that tech talent is becoming crucial for the farming industry.
Speaking to farmers across the country, 61% said they believe technology will have an impact on their business over the next five years.
Three quarters said they would need more access to digital and technology skills and more than half to data and coding knowledge. A further 81% went on to say that access to the right skills is their top priority over the coming 12 months.
In an industry that every individual in the world relies upon, farmers simply cannot afford to stand still – so it’s encouraging to see British farmers are being front-footed in their investment in technology and skills.
As a technology provider, we understand the need to support both industries in terms of solutions, but also the importance of working with educators to ensure there are enough people coming into the talent pool with the right skills to cope with the socio-economic pressures that industries like agriculture are facing.
Indeed schools are increasingly collaborating with industry partners to bring technology into the learning experience, and to provide learning that is practical and brings a sense of realism to subjects that can be difficult to comprehend.
At a time where British farming is facing a number of challenges, understanding how technology can be applied to empower farmers to achieve better results -while ensuring they have access to the right technology skills -is a vital step towards ensuring UK farming thrives.
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