Opinion: Harnessing the power of agri-tech and data

The agriculture industry in Scotland and beyond has experienced huge technological advances in recent years.

Technology has developed across every aspect of a farm, from machinery to livestock equipment and even fencing, as evidenced by the recent Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland’s Technical Innovations Awards.

See also: Can Agri-Tech deliver new ‘golden age’ for farmers?

One area, in particular, that has transformed how farmers manage the day-to-day running of their businesses is how they manage their farm data. Compared with more traditional methods, using technology to collate, manage and analyse farm data has huge benefits.

Having real-time access to crop and farm data is especially important when time-critical business decisions need to be made in areas such as yield optimisation or improving return on effort.

Farm data technology, particularly when it is mobile-enabled, allows farmers to access information regarding crops and yields in real time from suppliers and markets.

Technology platforms, such as Muddy Boots, can also update customers about when crops have been inspected or recommendations made.

By having data records stored safely in the cloud, you can easily locate them whenever you need them… from wherever you may be.

Having access to records, data and advice remotely allows you to make better and quicker decisions, leading to a more efficient business.

The ability to update the latest crop condition findings from a mobile phone while out in the fields is a much more efficient way of working, compared with traditional methods of pen and paper, or even desktop records.

If you can map fields and overlay key data, you can make fully informed decisions from your tractor seat and share them with employees, contractors or other key stakeholders to ensure they are making the best choices for the business.

By collating data on a regular basis, you can help your crops thrive in future seasons by learning from historic data, enabling you to make informed decisions based on actuals rather than guesswork.

And by introducing agritech solutions in your day-to-day role in a farm- or land-based business, you can make huge time savings.

For example, Drone AG’s latest development, Skippy Scout, can save agronomists a lot of time with its easy-to-use drone software that can be used to capture crop data that will assist with field walking to further justify decisions made.

By using technological farm data management systems, you can guarantee you are complying with all necessary legislations, such as GDPR. In an ever-changing and complex environment, this offers peace of mind.

The science behind maximising performance has never been so critical to profitability. With much easier access to data and expert advice, your business can benefit from increased efficiencies and will reap the associated benefits.

It’s clear that technological developments in the farming industry are vast and cover almost every aspect of an agri-business.

By using a mix of technology, hard work and expert advice, your farm business can thrive. 

David Cairns, McCreath Simpson & Prentice, Berwick-upon-Tweed

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