Precision Farming is SMART Farming

Why is the agriculture sector so important in Africa? “The UN projects that the world’s population will reach 9.7 billion by 2050, which will cause global agricultural production to rise 69% between 2010 and 2050. To meet the growing demand, farmers and agricultural companies are turning to the Internet of Things (IoT) for analytics and greater production capabilities. The farming industry will become more important than ever before in the next few decades. “(Business Insider)


Precision farming is ‘smart’ farming and is proclaimed as a solution to the inevitable increase in food production demand.  What is smart or precision farming? Precision agriculture uses ecological based principles, plant genetics, technological advances, and plant and soil sensors to vary management to improve system efficiency, resilience, and adaptability, by investigating linkages between economics, crops, pests, livestock, and wildlife. (ASA) This is essentially accomplished through the use of IoT sensors (Soil, water, light, moisture and temperature), communication systems and platforms optimised for analytics, following a ‘Data Collection ~ Diagnostics ~ Decision-making ~ Action’ workflow.


Whilst smart farming is a relatively new phenomenon, there are numerous examples across several segments of the agricultural industry, including:


  • Dairy: Milk yield recording systems, milk component monitors, activity monitors, lying and rumination behavior moni­tors, milk conductivity indicators, and heat detection monitors.
  • Cattle: The use of sensors, location systems, robots, and artificial intelligence to track individual animals on key metrics, monitor changes and accurately predict feed efficiency.
  • Propagation: Nursery stations that stack horizontal seedling troughs and ebb-and-flow hydroponics to nourish thousands of seedlings at a time.


The main goal of smart agriculture is to increase quality and quantity while optimizing the human labour used. The benefits include better real-time data and, improved efficiency, production, decision-making and profitability. This makes integration an important and powerful concept for the future of the agricultural sector.


“Precision farming needs solutions at a level whereby all, or most, systems used are interconnected, integrated and process shared data in real time, “ says Dirk Neethling, Business Development Manager at Ressource Solutions, a leader in comprehensive, leading-edge asset optimization solutions across several industries.


The agricultural sector’s value chain (Farm to Fork) is the foundation of the sector. Producers that manage their value chain well can establish a significant source of competitive advantage and value creation. “Advances in IoT technology are enabling numerous low-cost, integrated asset and process optimization benefits. These include automation and remote operation, real-time data capture, digitised agronomy, asset data, drones, wearables, improved visualisation, reporting and analysis, short interval control, future modelling, prediction and simulation, integrated data platforms and cyber security,” continues Neethling.


According to Neethling, “Integrated solutions, offered by Ressource Solutions, such as crop monitoring, irrigation monitoring, liquid fertilizer monitoring, livestock monitoring and many others are no longer optional, but necessary, for the improved efficiency, productivity, decision-making, data processing and profitability required by increasingly complex and volatile agricultural markets.”


“Remembering that risk is the impact of uncertainty and that uncertainty is a result of a deficiency of information, converging farming data into a single platform, in real-time, and facilitating ‘cross-analyzation’ further improves overall planning, implementation and risk management in farming, “ concludes Neethling.

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