Precision agriculture: 4 necessary equipment
The beginning of agricultural practices dates back to prehistoric times when man realised it was possible to bury grains to make them sprout, and thus produce food. After that, many different techniques were developed over the centuries so that working with the soil became increasingly productive.
With the emergence of new digital technologies in recent decades, agribusiness activities have reached a new level: precision agriculture. Moving beyond mechanisation, — which was another major breakthrough — to new trends using modern equipment connected to well-developed software to collect data on crops, soil, and climate to improve cultivation at all stages of production.
The advantages of these techniques multiply notoriously. Among them, there is cost, and waste reduction, optimised input use, and an increase in productivity rates.
We have prepared this post to show the leading equipment for precision farming and what benefits they have brought to the farmer.
1. Light bar
Light bar is an on-board computer that directs the machine into the crop via a GPS signal. It is named after a set of LEDs that indicate that the vehicle is moving according to the programmed alignment when lit green. When the equipment’s lights are red, it is a sign that the machine has come out of the set alignment.
These visual indicators serve to guide the operator in spraying activities, for example. With this equipment, there is greater alignment accuracy during agricultural pesticide application, which translates into lower overlap rates between strides, input waste reduction and greater environmental safety.
As an example, The Otmis 6 and Otmis 6L antennas, provide an accuracy of 20 cm and 4 cm in each stride, respectively, increasing the operation productivity significantly.
While this system can assist the operator, it also works autonomously with autopilot, as we will see below.
Autopilot works with georeferencing technologies such as GPS, as well as sensors, accelerometers, and electro-hydraulic valves. This system uses modules that automate machine steering throughout the operation. But what is the advantage of this equipment over manual control?
By using autopilot, the farmer can optimise the planting window, increasing the operation hours by introducing the ability to work at night. The automated and GPS controlled steering allows greater insecticides application precision and greater agility in manoeuvres. Therefore, faults and overlaps are reduced, even on terrain that can be considered more rugged.
Also, we must remember that this technology reduces human operator fatigue and, consequently, increases safety.
One of the equipment’s most significant achievements is the reduction of costs because, with the minimisation of failures and transfers, agrochemicals and fuels are preserved.
3. Nozzle control
The application of pesticides through the spray is essential for controlling diseases and pests on the farm. These products are diluted in water and applied through this equipment, which has spray nozzles responsible for applying the agrochemicals in the correct amount and concentration.
This efficient nozzle control contributes to a more uniform and precise application, best suited to the crop and with the least waste and impact on the environment.
For such accuracy, GPS positioning once again comes into play. Through GPS positioning, the computer maps the entire field, turning off the spray nozzle when the machine leaves the desired area or passes through a certain point where the product has already been applied.
Additionally, there is some software that assists the farmer in choosing the spray nozzle that is best suited for the desired task. This is the case of Jacto SmartSelector, a mobile application that can be installed for free on Windows, Android, and iOS platforms. It calculates several variables, such as product type, wind speed, and air humidity, to guide the farmer in the best choice of nozzle.
4. Sensor network
One of the leading precision farming equipment are the sensors. They have several distinct functions, but they basically “perceive” information from the environment to generate data to be analysed. These records may be related to height, temperature, wind speed, soil variability, or air humidity.
Consider the temperature sensors. They consist of unique cameras that can “see” a specific infrared spectrum to assess the plant’s health, stage of development, hydration, etc. The applicability is diverse, such as:
- selection of healthy and viable seeds for germination;
- seedling count;
- crop irrigation control;
- soil salinity analysis;
- identification of pests in plants;
- reduction of water waste;
- assessment of the physical integrity of the plantation, such as scratches and bruises.
Height sensors are ideal for detecting the terrain’s topography and adjusting the spray bars to uneven terrain without the operator having to do this manually. This contributes to a more accurate and uniform application.
The use of precision agriculture brings undeniable advantages to farming and agricultural entrepreneurs . As technology advances, even more resources emerge that optimise the sector’s activities, bringing benefits to these farmers and society as a whole.
The investment in these technologies has become practically mandatory for the entrepreneur who wants to maintain his competitiveness in the market and offer his public quality products at an attractive price.
Contact us now and learn more about how this equipment can contribute to your business’s success.