According to a report published in 2009 by The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, by 2050, agricultural production will have to rise by 70% to meet projected demand. This rise in demand is due to factors that include a rapidly growing population.
Since most land appropriate for farming is already harvested, this growth will require higher crop yields. However, farmers can only achieve these higher yields through significant innovation.
Putting these innovations into effect will increase farmers’ income by reducing costs and increasing yields. Doing so will also increase food security and lower food prices for the benefit of the consumer.
Some farmers are, understandably, resistant to change. Still, the sooner individual farmers can embrace these food production innovations, the sooner they will be working toward meeting the world’s future crop demand. At the same time, they will be boosting their profits.
In this article, we will consider three ways to increase farmers’ income. These three ways are to improve crop productivity, water management, and digital farming.
To farm profitably, you need access to the most current and accurate information possible. By using MyDTN, farmers save valuable resources, optimize their decision-making, and maximize operations, yields, and more.
Improve crop productivity
One way to improve crop productivity is by gene editing. This science has the potential to give farmers a massive opportunity to improve their yield. It means that there is no need to grow a plant to maturity to see if it will have the required genetic traits.
Farmers can use gene editing to modify seeds in advance. These modified seeds will lead to a major increase in crop productivity. For example, Bayer is developing a crop called Short Stature Corn; it’s a shorter and more robust hybrid than traditional corn.
Although the idea of shorter corn seems counterintuitive and disrupts the notion that bigger is better, some amazing benefits expected due to the modifications of this particular crop include:
- fewer crop losses due to unparalleled production sustainability and an ability to stand up to the damage normally caused by high winds
- land-use optimization resulting from efficient use of vital nutrients such as nitrogen, land, and water because of the crop’s capacity for high-density planting
- increased crop access during the growing season because of the corn’s shorter height
Other exciting developments in gene editing technologies include CRISPR/Cas9. It is a genome-editing tool that is superior to earlier methods of editing DNA. Such technologies promise a wide range of benefits including, improvements to a crop’s extreme weather and disease resistance.
To state the obvious, water is central to all things agriculture and farming related. Therefore, making the right irrigation decisions is a must. Having innovative tools that can make irrigation a more exact science is a real boon for farmers and can certainly be a way to boost efficiency and increase farmers’ income by maximizing profits.
There are products available that can allow farmers to use sensors to completely automate the irrigation process. These systems can give precise information on water flows and leaks. In addition, farmers can use smart irrigation systems to control their watering activity by measuring soil moisture, thereby eliminating unnecessary and excessive watering.
An example from economist.com shows how effective water management can make a huge difference. It talks about an almond farmer in Madera County.
According to the article, growing a single almond takes around a gallon of water, so the almond farmer now uses moisture sensors to track the moisture content of the soil. The sensors are connected to the cloud, conveying the results to the farm’s irrigation system.
The system delivers a precise amount of water (and fertilizer) every 30 minutes. This irrigation system replaces the previous method of irrigating once a week, and as a result, the farmer will use 20% less water.
Use technology / digital farming
There is no question that technological innovation has a place in the world of agriculture and farming. If that were not the case, farmers would still use handheld tools to bring in the harvest.
High-tech farms are set to become the norm, with many farmers already routinely using technology such as agricultural drones and sensors.
Digital farming, or we could even say “Internet of Things farming” (IoT), will be the way forward for many farmers to make their work more efficient, increase their income, and meet future food demands.
In addition to water management, as discussed earlier, think of the advantage gained by using sensors in a field to get accurate readings of vital information like soil acidity and temperature.
Farmers can even keep track of equipment, crops, and livestock remotely simply by using their cellphone. In addition, drones can survey the land, allowing the farmer to collect data in real-time.
Smart greenhouses are so named because they can be set up to use the IoT and connected devices to have a self-regulating microclimate. Spraying, watering, temperature, humidity, and lighting can all be regulated to create ideal conditions for crop growth. At the same time, they are negating the effect of natural enemies like pests and inclement weather.
Another example of high-tech digital farming is that of John Deere. The company has started to connect its tractors to the Internet to display data about farmers’ crop yields. They are also pioneering self-driving tractors. Imagine how much time this would free up for the farmer to focus on other activities.
Implementing such technical innovations as satellite imagery and sensors to take much of the guesswork out of farming is collectively referred to as precision farming or precision agriculture.
Of course, there can be no precision farming without being able to predict weather patterns. That is why one of the most important ways in which farmers can take advantage of technology for their benefit is by investing in climate forecasting software.
To increase farmers’ income utilizing these methods requires data
To be profitable, you need current and accurate market information. Both vital market data and precise weather forecasting data will allow you to save valuable resources and maximize operations and yields.
MyDTN provides access to industry-leading ag market coverage, the latest insights on market prices and strategies, the most accurate weather information, and more.