Digitalization and management of all production processes nowadays apply not only to the production and services but also agricultural sector. Innovations have become necessary to produce healthier, safer, and more affordable food sustainably and transparently.
What is the golden recipe to successfully digitize any farm production, and what takes to digitalize a farm? Below you will find the seven steps to start with digitalization from scratch.
1. The Research and Goals Identification
At first, it would be advisable to define what you want to achieve and set specific goals to facilitate the entire digitalization process. If you are not fluent with innovative technologies, you can always ask the younger generation to introduce you to the world of computers or the Internet. You can also research digitalization on various agricultural portals, take advice from other farmers or connect with people who already managed to digitalize their production successfully.
There is no need to aim with the goals extremely high. You can start your digital adventure with a simple connection to the Internet and technology. Later, you can move from simple systems to more complex integration with other systems, weather stations, and devices or sensors that will record detailed farm data and store it in a safe place.
Let’s not forget about all the agricultural advisory centers, bank advisors, agricultural research institutes that have a team of specialists. Based on expertise, they can propose concrete steps to remodel and improve the farm’s performance.
Usually, they organize several types of training or educations that are easily accessible and support the development of agricultural production. In addition, their offer includes several types of assistance, starting from the preparation of the necessary documentation, performing the implementation of tasks resulting from agri-environmental programs or providing farm’s investment possibilities assessment.
3. Government and EU Programs and Subsidies
Each farmer can apply for various subsidies from the country, commune, or the EU. The criteria and the number of subsidies change from year to year. Moreover, there are many subsidies that support innovations and the use of modern technologies. For this reason, it shouldn’t be hard to bear in mind the deadlines and documents needed to submit for the appropriate subsidy.
4. Benchmarking and Changes in Management
Let’s not be afraid to compare with other local entrepreneurs. They are the treasury of knowledge. In other words, they can share valuable tips from their own experience. Why not repeat something that works for them on our own farm. It can be something about new sensors or changes in management. The happier stories – the better, right?
5. Modern Tools and Systems, AI Implementation
Are modern technologies for everyone? From simple devices easy to install, such as sensors, weather stations, through drones or satellite imagery, ending with precision farming, keep in mind that everything is created for people like us. Remember that by choosing such solutions, companies will train you how to use a given tool. It’s not like buying the item x years ago, where you had to install the device by yourself and solve the puzzle called – and what’s next. Times have changed and the quality of the service and the availability of products together with them.
When deciding on AI, a dedicated company will take care of configuration and training, and later also hand it out to customer support.
Thanks to these devices/systems, data straight from the field will be collected regularly and stored in the cloud (the safest place). These data will allow analytics, determination of the appropriate time for treatments, timely protection against pests, and much more
6. Process Automation
Have you heard about process integration and automation? Why turn on the sprinklers every day if they can turn on and off by themselves. Besides automated irrigation systems, many other technologies can facilitate your everyday life. For example, a farm management system can facilitate the integration and automation of processes. Why go to the field every day to carry out an inspection/ scouting if we can see the changes accurately thanks to the imagery from the satellites and receive a notification of a disturbing anomaly.
Thanks to digitization and data obtained from measuring devices, these systems will be activated automatically and will allow to save time, result in more efficient resources management or protection against crop loss. In other words, if you want to digitalize your production you should consider the automation of your processes.
7. Making Decisions Based on Real Data
All the above mentioned leads us to one conclusion – digitalization allows more efficient data collection. All the results are being stored in one and safe place and are easily accessible. Thanks to performed analysis, making decisions based on data becomes real and let’s be honest – that is the biggest achievement.
Farmers don’t need to be good analysts, but instead worrying, they should rather think about applying the Farm Management Software into everyday farming. Hence, they will be able to achieve the most insightful conclusions from these data and out of that plan further activities and improve the farm efficiency and profitability.
The Future Is Called Digitalization
The future is called digitalization. No matter if we are ready for it or not, as in other spheres, digitization in agriculture is becoming a goal. It is estimated that by 2025, the profit due to digitization will increase to $330 billion, and as result to that, food production will grow by as much as 25 percent.
Countries all over the world are debating right now on how to improve the quality and the amount of produced food. What’s more, digitization seems to be an unrivalled solution to all the emerging questions, and the basis for its implementation from the agriculture-related organizations and companies should be further education, starting from the small farm holders.
If you’d like to listen more about different perspectives on digitalization, check the recording of the latest panel on the topic ”Closing the digital gap in Europe and Central Asia”, where AGRIVI CEO Matija Zulj was one of the participants.