What is the status quo of digitalization in agriculture?

The future trend of digital agriculture is based on one major concept: smart or precision farming. This primarily refers to processes and solutions that deal with data, are often Internet-based and aim to measure, control and optimize agricultural processes.

The following graphic of a german survey of bitkom shows that already 53% of the farmers use digital farming applications, 24% are discussing it, 6% plan to implement something and 16% don’t see it as suitable invest at all.

Digital technologies in animal and plant production are diverse

They range from technical hardware such as satellites or GPS, drones, robotics and sensors to software that builds on them, such as apps or online platforms. According to Bitkom, apps are the most commonly used software, followed by “intelligent software” (e.g. installed in agricultural machinery for driver assistance) and farm management platforms. In terms of hardware, it is mainly high-tech agricultural machinery and automatic feeders that are in use. Robotics and drones are used only sporadically. In animal production, however, every second farmer decides in favor of an automatic milking system when making a new investment

Here some examples of current digital technologies

Crop production

Livestock farming

Farm management

Networking as a major task for the future

In both crop production and animal production, the development of links between these technologies and with other systems (e.g. the weather service) remains on the agenda of agricultural companies. Data management, i.e. data acquisition/collection and subsequent evaluation, is an important part of this. New technologies, such as the Big Data approach, are essential for this. All with the aim of offering the user, the farmer, the best possible basis for decision-making and support in everyday work.

The opportunities of digitization

… therefore lie primarily in improving the quality of work, occupational health and safety, and making work easier.  Monotonous and stressful routine work is taken over by a robot or other technology. This also makes working hours and the place of work more flexible. In the best case, not only can precision and animal welfare be increased, but the environment can also be protected through the optimized use of resources/operating materials. With the help of appropriate management systems, operating processes can also be made more efficient and better monitored, thus also improving cost efficiency, for example.

Voices of our network partners and guests:

“Modern agriculture is exposed to increasing quality requirements, growing price pressure, international competition and high expectations in environmental and animal protection. The use of data-driven solutions, the monitoring of (real-time) data and the associated rapid action in case of emergency allow a serious increase in resource efficiency and provide the farmer with the tools to successfully meet the above challenges.” – Smartbow

“We are convinced that technical helpers will become more important in the future. Individual and ideally networked sensor solutions will make inefficiencies visible and empower the human at the center to make better decisions.” – dropnostix
“In the future, it will be easier to comply with legal frameworks and documentation requirements. The intelligent linking of different data provides farmers with intuitive solutions to improve workflows on the farm.” – xarvio
Farmers who embrace the possibilities of the Internet, entrepreneurship and the digital transformation will implement great new businesses. These can be built up bit by bit with little capital and a lot of heart and soul. But this requires anything but typical startup thinking (lots of outside money and rapid growth). Rather, it’s about acting smart and using components skillfully. Farmers should look into the term solopreneur and check for themselves whether they have enough heart and soul to implement a smart expert or experience model, for example.” – Christian from the Kuhverstand podcast

Conclusion & Prospects

It remains to be seen how the agriculture of digital solutions will develop. Opportunities and risks must be weighed up for one’s own business and the right solution found that does not overtax, but above all supports. It is not only the digitizers who are in demand, but also you as a user, because you help determine what makes sense for your everyday work today and in the future – remember: The future of agriculture begins today and you are part of it.

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