How 4IR can benefit your farming business

  • 23 November 2020
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The term 4IR covers a range of new and emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and Drones. It further provides revolutionary methods of organization, production and distribution based on digital transformation and automatization that can erase limits between physical objects, turning them into a comprehensive, complex systems of interconnected and interdependent elements. Hence, these technologies have the potential to have a positive impact on the productivity and profitability of the agricultural sector and the creation of new locally based added value.

Big Data and AI can help farmers gain access to complex information that can inform farming decisions. AI increases the value of collected data by analysing and converting it into information to support farm management decision-making. It can be applied at a range of magnitudes from converting data collected on individual animals and plants to the level of an entire farm by presenting information for crop planning and monitoring. Big Data and AI offer agriculture improved allocation and reproduction costs via the targeted allocation of inputs such as fertilizer and chemical applications.

Blockchain, on the other hand, can improve traceability, increase producers’ earnings, and secure contracts and transactions in agriculture. It also has the potential to create financial incentives for ecologically and economically beneficial production practices. Blockchain can also help increase earnings of producers in agriculture by providing better monitoring of their inventory and simplifying their food value chain, resulting in greater income for the farmers. A Blockchain by design is cryptographically secure.

The use of drone technology is especially exciting in that it can instantly improve everyday farm work and save vast costs in the process over time. Drone technology supports numerous major applications for agriculture, such as crop scouting and monitoring, crop inventory, precision spraying, inspection of farm infrastructure, generation of prescription maps, high-resolution mapping and surveying of individual field and crop damage assessment. Drone information can produce images that track changes in plants and indicate their health, helping farmers monitor their crops for diseases. Drones can also be used to monitor livestock remotely and potentially improve profits via timely monitoring and negating the need for physical inspections.

It is important for farmers to find the 4IR systems that will work best to elevate them to competitive status beyond the next 40 years.






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