Innovative solutions already deliver more efficiency on the usage of chemicals, fertilisers, water, workforce and electricity across the country.
Sustainability is likely to be one of the best consequences of precise and innovative tools in agriculture. By using less resources to produce more and mitigating environmental impact over an entire chain, those technologies become a kind of prescription without contra-indications.
Saving inputs (water, fertilisers, agrochemicals, electricity) and gaining more productivity at the same time, agriculture can face the challenge of feeding the world. Improvements can be achieved of 20%, 30% and up to 60% in some cases, depending on the features of each property. It is exactly what these four innovative companies bellow are doing. Check them out:
Agrosmart is one of the leading digital agriculture platforms in Latin America, helping producers to make better decisions in the field and be more efficient and resilient to climate change. The company generates recommendations by monitoring crops through satellite imagery and sensors, interpreting plant needs in real time regarding irrigation, diseases and pests.
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This system saves up to 60% water, 40% electrical energy, 33% of chemicals and increases productivity by up to 15%, making the crop smarter. Step by step, the system starts with climate, soil and atmosphere data collection in real time by sensors or manually. The second step is to integrate and relate that info to a vast data platform. Finally, it allows a high level of agronomic intelligence through Data Science for recommendations, insights, KPIs and benchmarks.
Raphael Pizzi, product director, AgroSmart:
Every farmer can develop and achieve better results in sustainability, efficiency and profitability if they have an effective system to provide info and analysis
“The improvement depends on the level of practices in each farm. However, every farmer can develop and achieve better results in sustainability, efficiency and profitability if they have an effective system to provide info and analysis,” explains Raphael Pizzi, product director.
AgroSmart already covers 210,000 hectares all over Brazil and has 120 clients, among small and big properties. Their technologies are applied in several cultures, from grains (soy, maize, hop and wheat) to coffee, fruits (mangos, guava, grapes and coconut) and cotton.
Lindsay offers, in Brazil, a package of technologies that allows the saving of up to 40% of water, 40% of energy and 70% of workforce for growers and farmers. Using remote control, the FieldNet device manages irrigation pivots in 2,500 properties (140,000 hectares), increasing dramatically its efficiency and related processes inside farms as well.
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As if that was not enough, the company launched last April, a complementary solution in Brazil called FieldNet Advisor. “The tool is simple and intuitive to help growers make better-informed, more confident irrigation decisions. It saves time with quick and easy-to-understand irrigation recommendations and alerts, avoiding crop water stress, yield loss, and nutrient leaching to maximise profitability,” says Bruno Perroni, commercial manager of Lindsay Brazil.
During the last Brazilian harvest, FieldNet Advisor beta version was tested in Goiás, São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul. This technology is cutting edge with regard to irrigation systems. With more and better information regarding soil water demands, professional irrigators saved a further 20%.
“For customers who have no support, this saving tends to come in with better results, more than 40%. Efficiency is a relevant aid for business and sustainability,” Mr Perroni says.
Digital Farms suggests a solution, appointing a sensible usage of those resources. By georeferenced maps and soil analysis, the system concluded that farms often use up to three times more inputs in some areas than they really need, which means an excess of 60%.
“Everything that comes in terms of efficiency is very welcome because it is possible to combine productivity and economics, especially because of sustainability. Resources are finite and we need to take this seriously. More agriculture and less inputs,” says Rafael Hungaro, CEO of AgroHungaro, which provides Digital Farm solution.
Rafael Hungaro, CEO, AgroHungaro:
Resources are finite and we need to take this seriously. More agriculture and less inputs
Digital Farms already measure phosphorus, urea, potassium and nitrogen usages in soybean, maize and sugar cane plantations in Brazil and Bolivia. The conclusion suggests that it is possible to save those inputs and to increase production and profitability.
Through a precise map of samples (each 5 hectares), managers can know exactly where they need to use fertilisers to achieve best results for each crop. In soybean, for example, crops rose 28.5% while fertilisers usage dropped down 30.4% after four years. The same practices also got good results on maize and sugar cane crops.
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Agrize offers a solution for chemical spraying processes through robust drone and mapping technologies. The solution already covers 70,000 hectares of rice fields in Santa Catarina state with up to 90% reduction on the quantity of soup/mixture (chemical plus water) dispersed.
“Aside from chemicals and water savings, Agrize ensures much more precision on application, which preserves neighbour areas, for example. More than that, tractors can destroy part of plantations and manual application could be dangerous for workers,” explains Igor Luduwichack, Agrize´s founder.
Their drone weighs 25kg, takes four gallons of mixture and operates from a sophisticate field mapping system, called Mission Planner, connected wirelessly. This tool can cover up to six hectares per hour in any kind of topography, which is impossible for tractors and risky for workers’ safety.
The next step is integrate spectral cameras to gain further benefits. The research with this kind of equipment is going on and will take 48 months to be completed. Despite that, earliest projections show that it will be possible to save 30% of chemicals and fertilisers on several cultures.