Automated Farming – is it a myth or a reality?

Automation has densely affected all spheres of human life, from complex calculations to the everyday level. It also did not bypass agriculture. The introduction of automation ideas in the agricultural sector is not a new thing at all. Automatic milking stations in barns, humidity and temperature indicators in greenhouses have been used for a long time. But progress does not stand still, and automated farming moves to a new level. This time we are talking about the automation of the work of agricultural machinery, and first of all about its impact on tractor’s work.

Automated Tractor

The Reasons For the Emergence of Automatic Agriculture

First of all, the predicted population growth became the reason for the development of automation in agriculture. To feed more than 9 billion people purely through manual labor is not a very realistic prospect. Especially now that automation has reached an all-time high.

The second reason is cost-efficiency. For any farmer, investing in automated solutions will be far more profitable than the constant manual labor costs. Where dozens of people are needed to cultivate land in the conventional technology, automated devices will cope faster and in fewer numbers. For example, why should you hire an entire plane to spray fertilizer over a field when a dozen drones operating in a programmed mode can cope with this task?

Similarly, you can give an example of tractors. Instead of mapping fields and laying routes manually, automatic farming systems can connect to a satellite and get complete information about the terrain, the optimal route for a tractor, which will save not only time but also the resource of equipment and fuel.

Thus, in the next few years, agricultural enterprises may become one of the main consumers of IoT solutions, as they need to increase productivity. This requires making soils more fertile, increasing energy and resource efficiency, automating basic processes, as well as updating and modernizing the fleet of equipment.

What Automated Farming Actually Is?

What is automated farming
Today, under the concept of automatic farming, many technologies that are successfully implemented in agriculture fall at once.

Maximum digitalization and automation of all processes in agriculture, on the basis of a perceived need, is included in the development strategies of the largest agro-industrial and machine-building companies in the world. In addition, with the help of automated agricultural management systems, it is possible to control 2/3 of the factors leading to crop losses.

At the same time, a variety of technologies are involved, which can be divided into conditional categories of automation in agriculture, based on the stages of the production cycle. So, an automated agricultural system can include:
  • Devices for automatic processing of land, including autonomous tractors, which follow the route based on the installed device, the so-called hands-free farm.
  • Watering equipment in automatic mode. Such systems are already popular in landscape design, greenhouse construction, direct cultivation of vegetables and berries.
  • Robot-assisted weeding is one of the most promising industries in agricultural automation, as is remote field treatment with insecticides.
  • Taking care of farm animals and monitoring their condition using special equipment also shows high results and increases productivity.
  • Harvesting with agricultural machinery and tractors with programmable routes is convenient and easy to implement due to the availability of GPS and Glonass systems.
  • Air monitoring with drones is also a way to minimize harm from fires, trapers or other disasters or accidents in fields.
It is not a full list of modern automated farming equipment used by big and small farmers worldwide as it becomes wider and wider day by day.

Benefits from Integrating Automated Farming Systems

Benefits from Integrating Automated Farming Systems
It is obvious that the benefits of involving technologies in agriculture are numerous. There are a few of them we list below.
  • Cost-efficient approach. Automated agriculture system is a one time purchase and its efficiency lasts for years needing only updates and regular maintenance. For example, you can order hands-free tractor equipment to control routes and monitor the landscape and use it in every part of your farm.
  • Consumer’s loyalty as the terminal product comes to the customer’s table faster and in the freshest condition.
  • Less routine tasks and less labor you need. In the future, robotic machinery will fully overwhelm agriculture production and today its impact and replacement of human physical labor are already considerable.
  • Fewer costs for the salary of a hired staff. You will need fewer workers to perform the same work.
In summary, we offer you an example of real implementing hi-tech in agriculture. It is so-called GPS for tractors. In agriculture, it is necessary to monitor and control machinery. For this, the following tools are frequently used.
  • Journal of work and control of the consumption of fuels and lubricants with automated calculation of the actual volume of work performed to form a waybill and record sheet.
  • Acts of work performed. Fixing the fact of work and the quality characteristics of the operations performed, including directly in the field.
  • Technical maintenance and repair of equipment. Maintaining a card index of machinery and equipment with detailing of arbitrary depth; taking into account the technical state of equipment, fixing defects and breakdowns.
At the same time, such traditional control systems for agricultural equipment as GPS monitoring, video surveillance, fuel control, identification of trailed equipment, tire pressure monitoring and driver identification are still in demand.

GPS monitoring is a simple and effective tool that allows the owner to know where the agricultural equipment is working, what time it went into the field, which route it is moving along, how long the engine has been running (in motion and at idle speed), where in the field the unloading auger was turned on and were there any company vehicles next to the combine at that moment. On the dispatcher’s computer, you can see information about refueling equipment, possible fuel drains, fuel consumption, as well as how much fuel was consumed for the operation of additional equipment.

That technology minimizes risks of tractor losses while land proceeding or harvest gathering. It also tracks optimal routes to decrease fuel losses and to decrease equipment’s intensive use because of tough road conditions. You do not need to tune it while working as it is tuned automatically.

Such examples are becoming more and more common and it seems that sci-fi forecasts are coming true today.
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