Smart agriculture: doing more with the same or fewer resources

Nov 22, 2023 | #Sustainable | 0 comments

Technological advancement has a significant impact on various areas of human activity, including the agricultural sector.

Smart agriculture seeks to reconcile agricultural management with data technologies , with the aim of optimizing the complex systems and volatile dynamics of agriculture. Basically, it consists of bringing big data to the agricultural field, increasing the visibility of farmers in the sowing, cultivation and harvesting processes.

Agriculture, by its nature, is an activity that is quite dependent on information. However, farmers who rely on traditional techniques and resources obtain only part of the information and often with inaccuracies. This includes crucial aspects such as soil quality, climatic and meteorological conditions, as well as factors such as crop irrigation and pest control, among others.

The purpose of new agrotechnologies is, therefore, to fill this gap, generating precise information capable of influencing all agricultural results . It is data, measurements and knowledge that help choose the best fertilizers, crop rotation strategies and many other aspects of field management.

It not only improves productivity but also contributes to the sustainability and continued development of the agricultural sector.

How smart agriculture works

Smart agriculture is based on the application of advanced technologies to improve efficiency, productivity and sustainability in agricultural production.

Sensors and IoT Devices

Agricultural technology has advanced significantly with the deployment of sensors in the field, which play a crucial role in collecting data in real time. These devices are designed to monitor essential variables such as soil moisture and temperature, as well as other environmental factors that directly impact agriculture.

The main purpose of this innovation is to provide detailed and specific information, focused on specific points on the terrain. This information is vital to make informed decisions regarding irrigation and other aspects of agricultural management, thus allowing more efficient and effective management of resources and improving the productivity and sustainability of agricultural practices.

Satellite Images and Drones

This innovative agricultural technology works by using high-resolution satellite images and drones equipped with advanced cameras. These tools provide valuable information about the current state of crops, plant health, and the spatial distribution of agricultural plots.

The objective of this technology is to facilitate comprehensive monitoring and evaluation of large crop areas, which is essential for modern agricultural management. With this data, farmers and land managers can make more accurate and effective decision-making, thereby optimizing crop yields, improving management practices and contributing to more sustainable and productive agriculture.

Data Analysis and Machine Learning

This advanced technology in the agricultural sector is based on the use of machine learning algorithms to analyze extensive agricultural data sets. Its operation involves detailed interpretation of images, prediction of yields and identification of patterns and trends in crop behavior.

The main objective of this technological innovation is to provide comprehensive reports and analysis that help optimize various aspects of agricultural management. This includes everything from selecting the most suitable crops for a specific area to the precise and efficient application of inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. In this way, machine learning algorithms become a key tool to improve efficiency, productivity and sustainability in modern agriculture.

Agricultural Machinery Automation

The implementation of autonomous agricultural machinery represents a significant leap in agricultural efficiency and management. This technology, designed to execute specific tasks such as sowing, growing and harvesting without the need for human intervention, has the main purpose of improving operational efficiency on farms.

By reducing dependence on labor, not only is more precise and timely management of agricultural activities achieved, but resources are also optimized and productivity is enhanced. This innovation is a clear example of how automation can transform and modernize agricultural practices, making them more sustainable and efficient.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

The use of Geographic Information Systems ( GIS ) technologies in agriculture marks a significant advance in the way geospatial data is managed and analyzed. This technology allows mapping and analyzing information related to critical aspects such as topography, soil quality and other environmental factors that directly affect agriculture.

Its purpose is to provide a powerful tool for crop planning and efficient management of agricultural plots. In addition, it facilitates location-based decision making, allowing detailed segmentation of plots based on their productivity and heterogeneity. This innovation not only improves precision in agriculture, but also contributes to more efficient use of resources and more sustainable management of agricultural land.

Digital Agriculture Platforms

The centralization of agricultural data management is a crucial technological advance in the agricultural sector. This methodology consists of integrating information from various sources, such as sensors in the field, satellite images and manual records, into a single platform.

The purpose of this data integration is to facilitate decision-making, optimize agricultural planning and promote collaboration between the different actors in the sector. By having a holistic and unified view of data, farmers, managers and other professionals can perform more precise analysis, respond more effectively to sector challenges and work together towards more efficient and sustainable agriculture.

Resource Management and Energy Efficiency

Using data to optimize the use of resources in agriculture, such as water and fertilizers, is a key strategy to improve efficiency and sustainability in the sector. This technology works by collecting and analyzing data to reduce waste and improve energy efficiency in agricultural practices.

The purpose of this approach is twofold: on the one hand, it seeks to achieve more sustainable production, minimizing the environmental impact of agriculture through a more rational use of natural resources; On the other hand, it aims to make agriculture more economical, reducing costs associated with excessive consumption of inputs such as water and fertilizers. This approach represents an important step towards more environmentally conscious and respectful agriculture, while maintaining economic viability for farmers.

Taken together, smart agriculture seeks to create a more efficient and sustainable system by leveraging emerging technologies to improve each phase of the agricultural cycle. The integration of these components allows farmers to make more informed decisions and improve the overall management of their operations.

Advantages of smart agriculture

The technical advance that the agricultural sector is experiencing in recent years can drastically change the way of working , both for small farms and large companies.

The introduction of modern agricultural technology is occurring at such a rapid pace that they are now available not only in developed regions but also in developing ones.

Just as digital technology makes many tasks easier in the office, it can significantly improve work in the field. Generally speaking, smart agriculture offers several advantages to farmers:

  1. Process Optimization : Enables more efficient management of agricultural operations, from planting to harvest, through the use of accurate data and detailed analysis.
  2. Improved Decision Making: Provides real-time information on weather conditions, soil quality and crop status, helping farmers make informed and timely decisions.
  3. Cost Reduction: By using technologies such as automation and precise input control, operating costs can be reduced and efficiency in the use of resources such as water and fertilizers increased.
  4. Environmental Sustainability: Facilitates more sustainable agricultural practices by minimizing resource waste and reducing environmental impact.
  5. Increase in Productivity: The implementation of advanced technologies can increase the productivity and yield of crops, which translates into higher income for farmers.
  6. Access to Global Markets : By meeting quality and safety standards, agricultural products produced with smart technologies have more possibilities of accessing international markets, expanding sales opportunities.

In addition, smart agriculture has other advantages indirectly for society, such as reducing the need for labor, minimizing the stress of machinery drivers, streamlining the recording of tasks and the preparation of reports, among others. …

H2 Satellite technology in the agricultural sector

The information generated thanks to satellite technology has revolutionized the way in which users can fully understand the status of their fields. The data received is processed and interpreted with the aim of providing users with a detailed view of their land. This advance has marked a significant change with respect to traditional methods, which required an extensive team of explorers to monitor and explore extensive territorial areas.

Satellite data analyzes have effectively replaced these practices, allowing a data manager to study vegetation indices and other indicators from multiple fields simultaneously, spending considerably less time on this task.

With the help of smart farming methods, agricultural companies can cover larger areas , save time processing information, reduce the costs of using drones and monitor the territory 24 hours a day.

Satellite monitoring is a very useful tool for large farmer cooperatives that have to monitor the condition of large areas. This technology provides the ability to go from a single field to span vast regions. The global layers feature makes it easy to monitor vegetation across all sites in the same region.

Smart farming solutions

The application of satellite technology in agriculture has given rise to innovative solutions that optimize agricultural processes and improve decision making. Some satellite-based smart farming solutions include:

  • Continuous Monitoring: The ability to continuously monitor large areas of land, providing up-to-date data on crop status, weather conditions and other relevant parameters.
  • Vegetation Mapping: Using high-resolution satellite images, vegetation maps are generated that allow farmers to evaluate the health of crops, identify problem areas and take preventive measures.
  • Multispectral Analysis: Satellite technology captures data in different light spectrums, enabling multispectral analysis to evaluate plant health, identify nutritional deficiencies and predict problems before they significantly affect crops.
  • Efficient Resource Management: Satellite monitoring helps optimize the use of resources such as water and fertilizers, allowing for more efficient and sustainable management of agricultural inputs.
  • Crop Planning: Satellite data facilitates strategic crop planning by providing information on soil conditions, moisture and other factors that influence crop choice and crop rotation.
  • Early Alerts: The ability to detect changes in crops through satellite analysis allows the generation of early warnings about possible diseases, pests or adverse conditions, allowing a rapid and effective response.
  • Scalability: Solutions based on satellite technology are highly scalable, allowing their application in both small farms and large cooperatives, covering large areas efficiently.

The combination of these solutions not only improves operational efficiency, but also contributes to more sustainable and resilient agriculture, helping farmers make informed decisions to maximize their crop yields.

Data Mapping

A distinctive feature of smart agriculture lies in the use of precise land data, allowing its visualization so that farmers can quickly evaluate the work carried out and plan new actions. When dealing with many fields and enormous amounts of information, it is important that all measurements are presented in a convenient and easy-to-read form, in a unified format, and are easy to process and analyze.

In this context, farmers can upload all the necessary data into a Data Manager , such as the type and amount of fertilizer applied, information on fumigation, harvesting and other relevant aspects.

This information can be displayed in the form of maps , whose presentation parameters can be adjusted according to the configuration of the on-board computer of the vehicle used, whether it is a tractor or a car. In any case, these maps are an effective tool for farmers that helps them quickly evaluate the effectiveness and quality of the work carried out.

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