10 ways you might be farming in the future…
17th March 2017
Please note: the views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of SellMyLivestock.
1. In the arable world, the future is drone. Supposedly, using drones to plant seeds saves time and money. Companies have said the cost could be as low as 1/10th of what is costs currently. Time, on the other hand, depends on how many times you have to read the manual, hunt for the fallen drone in the middle of a field, and assure the neighbour that you definitely weren’t spying on them.
2. Drones have huge potential to revolutionise cropping in the UK. Near-infrared sensors have the potential to detect stress well before it becomes visible to the naked eye. With more accurate crop monitoring, yield losses are prevented, and arguably should be increased if crops are treated before a problem would typically be identified, not to mention pests/diseases are also identified before the damage is too costly.
3. Oh and don’t worry about actually having to go out and spray those crops yourself, with self driving tractors, just programme the tractor and send it on it’s way. GPS field maps mean it only goes where you need it, there’s no mistakes made and nothing is missed, which helps to drive on farm efficiency.
4. Now drones aren’t just for the arable farmers. Shepherd your flock from the comfort of your bed with a cup of tea in one hand, drone remote control in the other, and your sheep on the big screen. Who said farming needs to be ‘hands on’?
5. Speaking of the big screen, cows calving, sheep lambing, with the variety of shed cameras available we could get used to putting our feet up!
6. And at the end of their lives, mobile abattoirs. Sounds odd, but this could be the next big thing in the UK. The abattoir has a full slaughter and production line, so animals can be safely and humanely killed on farm. With animals calmer in their home surroundings, welfare at slaughter is dramatically improved, which is currently the subject of a study to discover how this could positively impact meat quality.
7. Replacing previously labour intensive jobs with robots is also fast becoming widespread within the livestock sector, for example, robotic milkers and scrapers in the dairy industry or egg collection and assessment in layers.
8. Besides the automated tractors, smaller robots are used in vine pruning, weeding and more tentatively in fruit picking. Reducing the labour demands and increasing yields.
9. To go one (large) step further, the worlds first automated farm recently opened in Japan with nearly every task performed by robots. The company, which specialises in growing vegetables, required people to plant the seeds, but after that every single other aspect of crop management is overseen by robots.
10. Oh and livestock farmers, soon you won’t have to do any fencing either. Livestock can be fitted with GPS collars and ‘trained’ to a boundary using a stimulus to keep them from crossing over. No more fence jumpers… Instead you’ll just have to contend with the ones who lose their collars!
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