‘Precision agriculture is making farming more dependent on technology’

Iulian Stefan Iulian is precision agriculture professional, currently working for Syngenta in Romania.
Foto: Canva
Foto: Canva

Today artificial intelligence (AI) is almost on everyone’s lips and the farming sector cannot avoid it. Even though farming is seen as a more conservative domain, the truth is that precision agriculture is making farming more dependent on technology.

To start with the important thing – if you are planning to use software with AI in order to make better decisions on your farm, you should consider that in order for AI to take good decisions with you, it needs either a lot of data or a high quality data in order to work fine. Ideally both.

And now, let me better explain what I just said.

As my experience is mostly in south-east Europe, my arguments are mainly valid in this part of the world, although I am quite sure that at least a big part of it is valid for the rest of the world also.

Farmers have a tendency to focus a lot on the hardware side of things – from tractors and implements to more tech advanced machines such as drones. The software side hasn’t played an important role for them and most of the historical data of their farm activity is logged from accounting point of view or literally on notebooks. And it should be clear for all of us that AI (which isn’t that ready for agriculture today, from a general point of view) will need a large set of data, very localized, to make the best decision together with or for you.

Part of machines in a farm from Romania. – Photo: Iulian Stefan
Part of machines in a farm from Romania. – Photo: Iulian Stefan

Gather data

This is why I am advising all farmers to start to use software for farm management (or FMS). It will be very important to start to gather data and good quality data – see this moment as seeding and you will be able to harvest later in a few years, when AI will be very well integrated.

To finish my advice, being more detailed, I suggest to start using or looking for FMS applications which are capable of:

  • API integration – in order to send or receive data from other programs.
  • Field record keeping – to have a record as complex as possible for each of your fields with what operations you have done, which inputs and in which quantity you have used, the harvested yield and so forth.
  • NDVI images and other such images, but with the capability of having at least a 7-10 years of historical images.
  • A customizable reporting menu, because you will need some insights also now.
  • Ability to aggregate data from multiple sources like GPS equipment, weather stations, fleet management trackers, irrigation equipments and other such sensors or platforms.
  • Possibility to export your data in non proprietary formats.
  • Collage of a few available FMS platforms.
    Collage of a few available FMS platforms.

    A good set of data

    Please think about artificial intelligence as a very advanced computer algorithm (or program if you like) not as a human-like computer program. Because AI won’t be able to make decisions or make recommendations without a set of data and if that data is not good, the results will be the same as bad.

    Start now to use a farm management software. if you don’t use or if you do so, check how many things it integrates.

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