Imagine waking up before the crack of dawn and getting ready to start a new day of work in rain, hail, or sun-bleached conditions. It’s a day that’s filled with manually laborious tasks like fixing endless lines of broken fence, tending to livestock, and hand-picking ripening crops. It’s not a job for everyone, but it’s a job everyone relies on getting done. Throughout the last 50 years, the agricultural industry, like many industries, has experienced significant transformation. Technological developments have provided farmers with solutions that lessen the manual labour required, whilst improving production output. And it’s not just farmers that are benefiting from the use of technology. Consumers are also benefiting with fresher and higher quality produce as a result.
How technology is enhancing the work of farmers
A common misconception regarding the adoption of technology is that it’s designed to displace people in their jobs. Whilst this has occurred in some industries, those within the agricultural industry are experiencing something unique. With farmers being involved in multiple roles around the farm, like that of a carpenter, electrician, and plumber, technology has reduced their workloads and lessened the need for extensive manual labour. That’s not to say the role of a farmer hasn’t been reduced with the introduction of technology onto the farm. Technology has enhanced their ability to work in many ways whilst still ensuring farmers play a crucial part in their work.
The development of the Internet of Things (IoT) has opened the agricultural industry to instantaneous information exchange and provided connectivity on the farm. In using IoT sensors, farmers can observe and record data, in real-time, to improve production output whilst minimizing costs and conserving resources. These sensors are used to optimise resource usage for crops, detect illness in livestock, and develop specialised feeding and irrigation plans. Mechanisation, in the form of self-driving tractors, milkers, and harvesters, is also further increasing efficiencies by freeing farmers up to complete other tasks. Farmers can program the self-driving machinery to accurately complete tasks, such as harvesting crops and milking livestock, without requiring human interventions.