Digital data and robotic technology introducing automation and greater insight into farming operations

With the cost of labour on the rise, climate change impact on crop yields, the introduction of new and existing pests, and the need to adopt a more environmentally-friendly approach in traditional farming methods, more farmers are turning towards implementing technology, like robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), into their farm’s everyday operations. Already evident, this implementation has generated long-term cost-effective measures, providing farmers with in-depth insight and a deeper understanding of their farms, livestock, and land requirements.

This has seen smart farming adoption experiencing accelerated growth over the last few years. “The adoption of emerging technologies in Australian agriculture is expanding at a rate greater than the consumer’s capacity to understand the opportunities,” explains AgriFutures, an organisation that invests in research, leadership, innovation and learning to support Australian rural industries.

Agtech and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions are not only being leveraged by larger farms but by smaller family-owned operations. By giving farmers a better understanding of crops, livestock and their land, farmers are saving hours on time-consuming activities through the automation of tasks and allowing them to give their land and livestock exactly what it needs to thrive. It is the combination of technology, AI and ML applications that are allowing farmers to address numerous concerns both on a local and global scale.

On a global scale, Professor Salah Sukkarieh, Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at the University of Sydney, says that digital data combined with robotic technology will deliver sustainable agriculture that will help feed the planet even as global population is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050. Not only that, but chemical waste will also be reduced, pests will be dealt with adequately without harming the environment and farmers will enable their land to produce robust and stronger crops.

Integrating agtech to improve farming functions

To streamline farm operations through agtech integration, Shervin Fathinia, our very own Farmdeck expert and user, explains that no matter how rural your farm is, Farmdeck’s technology can help you get connected through our LoRaWan gateway tower. Having IoT sensors installed on your farm is a great way to create a seamless and efficient farm management experience. But its success depends in part on the connectivity available on your property. This is why, even in the remotest areas, we can use numerous connectivity options, like our LoraWan gateway tower, to get you connected. Farmdeck’s team, composed of farmers and engineers, have become experts in deploying solutions in remote areas with low connectivity and limited power options, allowing you to integrate technology onto your property and turn your farm into a smart farm.

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IoT solutions improving agriculture operations

Shervin says that aside from Farmdeck capability to be integrated into other farm applications, it’s easy to use and its customisable – making a great management tool for farms of every size. As a farm owner and Farmdeck user, he has personally seen the value of using Farmdeck’s IoT solutions to give him insight into his electric fences, rainfall and water level monitoring. Shervin explains on a practical level how Farmdeck has added value to his operations:

“Farmdeck sensors help in that they notify me when my tank water level has dropped so that I then need to fill up my tanks. It also has the capability to take this a step further and when the tanks level drops a certain amount, it automatically turns the pump on to fill up the tank, and then switches off once it’s hit a certain level. This means that no more water runs are needed. It also means that cattle don’t have to suffer going without water as the tanks will always be full, it also means that they don’t have to be moved to a new paddock.”

He adds: “The great thing is where Farmdeck is currently headed – in the predicting actions/data space.” By incorporating ML and AI, Farmdeck’s IoT solutions will be more advanced and allow you greater freedom to focus on other areas of your farm. “For example, if you have Farmdeck’s soil moisture solution, and our data indicates that soil moisture is low in a specific area, it’ll automatically trigger the irrigation system. However, if rain is predicted, our solution will take this into account and then not turn on the irrigation system. If, the weather forecast is wrong and there was no rain at the specified time frame, then the irrigation system will turn on.”

With the range of IoT solutions available from Farmdeck, you’ll know what’s going on in your farm in real-time, be able to streamline your operations and get greater clarity on how you can improve and automate certain tasks. “Our Farmdeck solution delivers the end-to-end farm management: Network, sensors, data processing, application,” says Shervin, “It’s all inclusive.”


Using historical data to enhance farm activities

Historical data also gets stored. The great thing about this is that our solutions will be able to make predictions based on historical information. For example, on a 30-degree day, you have livestock in a particular paddock, our solution can predict how much the water level drops because of the temperature and how much livestock drinks. This data is then stored and used to make accurate predictions based on similar circumstances – which is great when it comes to other features like the Farmdeck’s rain monitoring feature that helps you predict if the water level is going to oversaturate the ground, allowing you to make contingency plans if flooding occurs.


The competitive edge

Adopting agtech, such as IoT solutions, shouldn’t be a difficult endeavour. Farmdeck solutions are flexible, easy to use and customisable. To remain competitive on both a local and global scale, Australian agriculture must start implementing agtech.

“More than ever before, there is a need to reduce production costs, increase production yields, and reduce environmental impacts, all while maintaining competitive advantage, instilling product differentiation, and improving product safety and quality,” says AgriFutures. Agtech has the capability to meet these requirements and help farms remain competitive.


End-to-end farm management solution

Farmdeck is among one of the only companies in Australia to offer the entire end-to end-farm management solution that includes hardware sensors, local manufacturing, network design and deployment, private cloud-based data ingestion and storage, and custom-built applications and dashboards to suit the sensors and required user-interface requirements. Reach out to us, and let us take your farm management to the next level.