The Rise of Automation in the Agricultural Sector

Automation across many sectors of industry has been increasing at speed in recent times – one of the sectors embracing this technology is Agriculture. In fact, the global smart agriculture market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13.4% from 2023 to 2030, reaching USD 54.71 billion by 2030. Incredible numbers!

In this article we look at what is driving the rise of automation in farming and some of the most transformative and exciting technologies that are being used.

What factors are driving automation in farming?

The push toward more sustainable practices alongside economic pressures are subsequently driving next-generation automation technologies. The sector is under pressure with dramatic cost increases being a significant factor. Climate change also plays a part with more changeable and acute weather situations affecting yields. Thus, for a farming business to remain economically viable, they are having to find new innovative solutions and adapt to new ways of working.

What are the benefits of using automation and other new technologies?

Reduction in manual labour costs and increase in efficiency – in recent times less farmhands have been available which has impacted farmers keeping up with consumer demand. With automation, this is less of an issue and allows for a reduction in headcount. Tasks are also completed quicker due to being less labour intensive.

Reduction in emissions – famers can reduce waste and lower their use of fertilizer.

Better decision making using real-time data – data analytics and monitoring of crops can help with specific decision making and optimising yields.

Technologically advanced dairy solutions are assisting with improvements in:

  • Nutrition and feeding
  • Mating and fertility
  • Cow health and milk production
  • Enhanced milk quality and milk cooling.
What exciting new innovative technologies are available?

There are many exciting new advancements in technology being implemented such as automated farming machinery, vertical farming and robots powered by AI.

Key technologies driving market demand include livestock biometrics, such as RFID and GPS to help cultivators automatically obtain information regarding livestock in real-time. Sensors are being used for monitoring material conditions and vibrations in buildings and other infrastructure and agricultural robots are also being used to automate farming processes, such as soil maintenance, fruit picking, weeding, harvesting, ploughing, and irrigation and planting.

How are IT and Telecoms solutions supporting this new technology?

Connectivity solutions provide the necessary robust infrastructure for the systems to work effectively, resulting in a seamless end-to-end working environment. Farmers can subsequently rely on their technology working correctly and achieve the best results for their business and for their customers. Some of these solutions are:

Superfast Full Fibre Broadband – consistent and reliable internet will ensure effective data transfer and superfast access to systems and applications on your devices.

WiFi Services inc. Access Points – if your business is struggling with poor WiFi signals, wireless access points can be added to your existing setup for improved WiFi coverage around larger farm buildings and premises.

Network Management, Installation & Cabling – your IT team can design, build, and install physical and virtual networks. The solution can be scalable with the ability to remove and upgrade with minimal disruption of your setup and existing network.

IT Hardware (including Full IT Support Helpdesk) – all aspects of reliable hardware can be supplied, from laptops to PCs (built to specification) to tablets and consumables.

Having an IT helpdesk service in place ensures you are not leaving your business open to vulnerabilities. Assistance will be there to help with any issues encountered. Cyber-attacks are also on the increase, so it is important to have the ability to recover from such instances. In the age of digitalisation, it is advisable to have a plan in place to recover all data rapidly before operations are seriously impacted.

Government Support

In September 2023 the government announced that nineteen innovative projects developing automation and robotic technologies will receive a share of £12.5 million in government funding to boost productivity, food security and sustainable farming practices. It is fantastic to see the government supporting innovation to drive a productive, resilient, and sustainable agriculture sector.

PiBlu has been assisting farmers across the country with connectivity solutions to support their new automation systems. If you’re working in the sector and would like to chat further about what solutions are available to assist your processes, please reach out to us by emailing info@piblu.co.uk or calling us on 0161 388 8188.

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