From digital transformation to smart farming: the benefits of connected agriculture

When it comes to conserving resources, farmers are the first ones to go. They are now helped by digital tools and embedded systems to improve their operations while respecting nature and animal welfare. These players have now entered the world of smart farming, using robots, sensors and connected objects as predictive tools to anticipate climatic events or increase yields.

How has digital transformation changed agriculture into smart farming?

Thanks to IoT and connected objects, we no longer speak of farmers when we talk about farmers who have become players in precision agriculture. With state-of-the-art equipment, new uses are emerging to optimize irrigation, fertilizer or fodder resources:

  • Sensors in the soil now allow us to know the humidity level so that we know when to water and how much to water.
  • Connected bracelets, attached to the animals’ limbs, provide information about their health, such as temperature, stress or geolocation.
  • Robots take care of milking or feeding the herds.

This equipment sometimes represents significant costs for the farms, but they are quickly amortized, often in less than two years. Investing in innovation is a response to the challenges of sustainable development combined with the ethics of the new way of producing food for the planet.

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The challenges of smart farming

The benefits of smart farming are being studied on several levels. They affect different strata such as farmers, but also consumers, society or the environment.

Let’s briefly look at the benefits for each of them.

Farmers:

  • productivity gains by improving yields;
  • TIME SAVING;
  • water consumption control (remote control and triggering) ;
  • soil moisture monitoring ;
  • anticipation of events thanks to precise weather forecasts;
  • feed distribution management ;
  • real-time alert to react quickly;
  • limitation or eradication of unnecessary actions.

Consumers :

  • a better traceability of raw materials (meat or cereals);
  • short circuits with internet orders directly to the producers;
  • confident consumption.

Society and the Environment:

  • less pollution because less travel, fertilizers, etc. ;
  • a better ecological footprint;
  • better use of water and energy resources;
  • better treated animals and fields able to produce without exhausting the soil.

The company that engages in the smart farming, or digital agriculture, holds the power over the issues brought about by these new operations. More virtuous and more efficient, this precision agriculture is also better able to meet the needs of consumers, while preserving animal and soil resources. It also has the gift of looking modern and attracting younger generations to the profession.

The evolution of practices goes hand in hand with the evolution of mentalities to the benefit of actors who want to take their part in the innovation of this agriculture 4.0.

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