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21 August 2018

Talking Farm Tech: The Lowdown on Farming’s Latest Gadgets

Posted By: AIB Business

Advancements in technology have made huge improvements to how we live our lives, from the humble mobile phone to virtual assistants, and, in the not-too-distant future, autonomous vehicles. Farmers are reaping the benefits of this tech revolution too – a whole host of gadgets are available (or in the works) that will make it much easier to carry out agricultural chores. Here’s some of the most interesting pieces of farming tech either on the market, or currently in production…

Agri Drones

Given that a farmer might own hundreds of acres of land, it makes sense that drones would help give an overview of how everything’s running. In fact, agri drone use is almost an industry in itself. These sophisticated machines are equipped with multi-spectral cameras that capture high precision images of the land, assessing things like crop health, vegetation indices and water needs. By gathering all this data over time, farmers will see patterns emerge, and be able to make any necessary tweaks to optimise their farm’s output.

GPS Collars & Virtual Fences

Manually herding cattle may become a thing of the past, with the introduction of virtual fences. GPS collars have been in use for some time now, allowing farmers to easily locate stray livestock via an app on their phone or tablet. Now, a host of tech companies are offering clever virtual fences. Again, via an app, farmers can use live maps software to ‘draw’ a fence on their land. This information is uploaded into the animal’s collar, so that when it approaches the boundary, it receives a mild shock – just like a real electric fence. The boundary is easily changed, meaning livestock can be ‘shepherded’ from one field to another.

Fitbits for Cattle

Yes, you read that right! Bio-monitors implanted in cattle’s bodies will allow farmers to monitor all kinds of daily activity and stats; when they’re eating, lying down, body temperature, and even chewing frequency. A farmer will be able to see if a cow is suddenly acting out of the ordinary, or if it’s unusually hot or cold – both potential signs of illness.  

Robotic Weeding

The bane of any crop farmer’s life? Weeds. Again, a number of clever innovations promise to reduce the need for pesticide application or painstaking manual weeding. Like the virtual fence, some robotic weeders works off GPS, meaning they won’t veer off course into your neighbour’s field. They assess the land through a series of cameras, with some extra smart models even able to discern the difference between plants and weeds!

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