Productivity in agriculture: 5 ways to improve it in practice
As with any other market, productivity in agriculture also faces problems. Pests, infestations and low production are some of the most common issues; however, they should not be reason for despair. With advancements in technology and the interest of several groups in the field, a series of practices and techniques increasingly enter the routine of farmers aiming to improve production, facilitating management and even improving the quality of life of employees.
Seeking to know these processes better, in today’s post we will understand what to do to increase productivity in agriculture and make the most of everything that the latest studies and technology can provide for agriculture.
For this, we will highlight five techniques that are already in use and have proven their effectiveness. Check them out!
1. Adopt precision farming
Precision farming is a way of working more precisely, avoiding waste and focusing on the exact possible issues through studies and data storage. It allows for a better use of soil and natural resources. This technique guarantees more effectiveness and reduces your costs.
Storing data in the cloud is an example, since often the size of information is large and needs to be organized in a way that is easy to consult. Thus, access to data can be achieved anywhere and anytime.
Installing GPS systems guides the agricultural machines and allows the farmer to consult their path and progress in real time.
Drones, which are also instruments used in precision agriculture, scan the environment quickly and allows the farmer to perform surveys in real time. The quality of the images, in high resolution, allows for the identification of several diseases and pests.
Producers also no longer need to spend a lot of time identifying the need to apply fertilizers, pesticides and even water in their plantations. Sensors detect the right amount that the soil needs and the machines apply only what is needed, preventing waste and consequently, increasing profits.
This is one of the first and major steps of IoT (Internet of Things) in agriculture in Brazil. This communication between the machines, through which the irrigation stations recognize the weather, enables sensors to capture the quality of the soil, among other things. These are examples of interactions that will soon be common in the day to day of the field.
The arrival of 4G internet facilitated these and other processes that have become more accessible. Available in previously unimaginable places, this technology revolutionized farming models and made mass production less labor intensive.
2. Introduce species into your cultivation
Animals are extremely valuable for the agricultural environment balance. Some are free in the wild, others bred in captivity, but the fact is that they can bring more benefits than you can imagine.
Adding species to the plantation is a practice that aims to improve it in many aspects. Because they are acquired by producers specialized in a specific lineage, the species are taken from their natural habitat. Therefore, it is important that the farmer maintains the characteristics of the environment from which the species were taken as much as possible.
Let’s get to know some of the hundreds of species that can further leverage your business.
Some European experts claim that beekeeping increases productivity in agriculture. In addition to producing honey, bees are excellent pollinators, especially when it comes to corn, sunflower and biofuel production.
Pollination can yield a much more profitable crop. However, it is estimated that 95% of bees belong to beekeepers. This data represents that the number of bees living in the environment is insignificant compared to the existing total.
The purchase of bees by beekeepers is an old practice in China and the US, and in recent years it has been adopted in much of Europe.
Poor and infertile soils have a great ally in earthworms, as they strengthen the roots, improve nitrogen concentration — remember that earthworms do not produce nitrogen, but help make it available to plants — and transform natural fertilizer into a mineral element.
When isolated, the introduction of earthworms is not a practice that will boost production. A thorough study of how the soil can be used by the species is needed, and, above all, avoid the excessive use of pesticides, leaving the soil as manageable as possible.
With an immensity of nutrients, especially calcium and magnesium, the rapid absorption of algae causes the number of animals grazing per hectare to increase. The microorganisms present in the soil find shelter in the algae, which becomes a strong source of food for livestock.
3. Use fertilizers correctly
It is no secret that the use of fertilizers is one of the main factors that result in a successful harvest. However, its misuse has serious consequences for production, which can cause dependence on the product in future plantations or soil contamination by residues.
Successive application or using a fixed amount throughout the territory is a mistake. The most suitable is an in-depth study of the soil, harvest by harvest, to measure the real needs of the plants.
These surveys are fast and non-destructive. The physical form and fertility can be analyzed by specialists in a very short time. By doing it this way, neither the excess nor the lack of nutrients will be an issue for a quality harvest.
4. Choose qualified labor
Farmers always have to keep in mind that the quality of the final product is directly related to the efforts of their employees. Therefore, valuing a healthy work environment is an essential task in farm management.
As the rural exodus — which is no longer new, since it has been going on since the mid-1960s, but still has its effects — has displaced part of the workers to large urban centers. Employees need to be attracted.
Better salaries, a fixed contract, specialized courses for each role and the strong presence of a leader who cares about the team are essential factors to arouse the interest of people looking to work in agriculture. Soon after, it is important to adopt practices to maintain them, avoiding turnover that is harmful to the service.
As for the employees, the worker has to be open to changes and follow the market’s technological trends. Those who do not adapt to the new means of production, such as those mentioned above, end up left out of the business.
5. Adopt sustainable production models
Population growth raises several issues related to food on the agenda. How long will we be able to produce food on a large scale and for so many people?
It is estimated that in 2050 we will have reached the mark of 9 billion inhabitants. Therefore, from now on, there is a lot of talk about production models that do not harm the environment, occupy less space, reduce concerns related to the proximity of the consumer to food, among other benefits.
Sustainable solutions are on the rise for any segment and in agriculture it could not be different.
The Netherlands is an example of a sustainable production model that can serve as a mirror for the rest of the world. Small in size, populous and lacking in natural resources, the country has managed to become the second largest food exporter in the world. But how?
By combining advanced university studies with entrepreneurship, the Dutch were able to adopt production techniques in tiny spaces such as greenhouses and areas of up to 70 hectares. In some places, the soil is replaced by basalt and chalk, the piped water for irrigation by rainwater, the temperature is generated by aquifers, and thus agriculture is characterized in other ways.
Of course, there is always an investment behind it, but not necessarily linked to large corporations. The highlight is also given to family farming, considered by many to be the future for the model of supplying stocks in the coming decades.
Productivity in agriculture depends on projects that are frequently updated and always based on a lot of work and research; after all, nothing is more important than the process responsible for supplying the population.
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