Most viticultural and horticultural crops in the Riverland are fully dependent on irrigation to meet crop water requirements, deliver economic yields and satisfy consumers’ quality demands. The program developed at Loxton encouraged greater scientific management of water at the farm level.
To achieve this, precise and advanced information and communication technologies are needed. Low-power wide area networks (LPWAN) are ideal for this application.
The role of modern technology in agricultural development continues to expand, enabling agriculture to evolve, reduce losses and increase efficiency. This trend is particularly evident in areas where rainfall is sparse, seasonal or otherwise irregular, where irrigation creates more reliable food supplies and boosts farmers’ incomes.
The emergence of digital technologies, such as robotics and sensing technologies, offer new opportunities to improve agricultural management. However, these new technologies require a robust infrastructure to deliver value. This infrastructure includes a suitable network, the ability to connect multiple devices and systems, a secure environment to host data, the capability to translate and apply insights and a strong agronomic support framework. In addition, national legislation must be created to address farmer data rights and animal welfare implications of remote management practices (Hamman et al. 2021).
An important consideration for determining the potential of a digital solution is the capacity to close the ‘technology-end user’ gap. This is a complex and challenging task, and requires the involvement of a range of stakeholders. This includes technology service providers, government bodies and peer-networks. Ultimately, practice change will only occur when farmers and their advisors have an active role in identifying and delivering the technology-enabled processes needed to improve productivity (Baker et al. 2022).
Irrigation is the practice of watering crops using pipes, canals or sprinklers, rather than relying on natural rainfall. It allows crops to be grown in places that cannot sustain agriculture without irrigation, and also improves crop quality by regulating the amount of water used. The use of irrigation also ensures a more consistent supply of food by allowing farmers to grow crops on a regular schedule.
Irrigation is an important part of the global effort to produce enough food for the world’s population. However, many experts fear that the rate of agricultural development is eroding the natural carrying capacity of the land and depleting water resources. The increasing demand for food, together with the impact of human population growth on biodiversity, are causing these natural resources to be exhausted faster than they can be renewed. This is leading to environmental imbalances such as pollution, land degradation and wildlife population declines.
The most important agricultural production in South Australia is horticultural and viticultural crops, which are grown on large areas of land irrigated from the River Murray. These crops include grapes, stonefruits and a range of vegetables.
Even though modern crop protection products increase yields and reduce the risk of disease in plants, they cannot completely replace human labour or rely on rainfall for irrigation. Moreover, it is estimated that 20 to 40 percent of potential food yields are lost due to pests and diseases every year. Consequently, it is essential to use technology to protect crops from these threats.
Agricultural technology helps in raising the productivity of crops by reducing costs, increasing efficiency and enhancing soil health. It can be applied to many aspects of farming, from soil sampling to precision spraying. However, it is not affordable for small farmers to invest in such technologies. Fortunately, several organizations provide grants and loans to help small farmers adopt agtech. These technologies can also be used by insurance companies to monitor the health of their clients’ fields and reduce losses.
Farmers can choose from a variety of crop protection products, including chemicals and biopesticides, as well as mechanical control methods. Biological crop protection products are derived from living organisms and are an excellent complement to chemical products. They are less harmful to the environment than chemical pesticides and are often more effective. Moreover, they can be used on any type of plant.
Mechanical crop protection controls are also effective and cost-efficient. They include barriers preventing insects from entering the field, traps and mulching. They can also be used to kill weeds and promote root growth. Additionally, new irrigation methods can deprive weeds of water and promote crop health.
Crop rotation is a vital strategy to prevent the appearance of diseases, weeds and pests. However, not all cultures are tolerant of this technique. To minimize the risk of losing valuable plants, a farmer must be aware of their behavior and take immediate measures. The EOSDA Crop Monitoring platform enables farmers to analyze field data, detect the presence of dangerous weeds and plan a culture rotation.
The harvesting process is an essential step in agriculture. It involves removing the crop from the field and transporting it to a processing plant. It is important to choose the right harvesting method for your crops. The most common methods include manual harvesting, mechanical harvesting, and chemical harvesting. Each of these methods has different benefits and drawbacks.
In addition to the growing demand for food, advanced technologies are also transforming the agriculture industry. These technologies can help increase the productivity of crops and improve the quality of food. They can also improve the environment by reducing pollution and waste. Some of the most important advances in agriculture are the IoT, UAVs, remote and ground sensors, communication technologies, machine learning and analysis, and energy consumption.
These technologies can help farmers reduce the number of pests and disease in their fields and boost crop production. They can also reduce water usage by using precision irrigation systems, and provide more accurate data about soil health and nutrient levels. These technologies can also help farmers make better decisions about how to manage their farms and crops.
Crop production is highly dependent on climate and soil. These factors determine the type of crops that grow in a particular region and their characteristics. Depending on these factors, farmers must adopt various techniques and use the latest technology to maximize crop production. This ranges from treated seeds to crop protection products and from data-analysis apps to precision spraying.
Most horticultural and viticultural crops are dependent on irrigation to deliver economic yields and satisfy consumer quality demands. The Riverland is the largest production area in Australia, with irrigated grapevines accounting for more than 50% of the total crop value. The remaining areas are predominantly vegetable crops.
The horticultural and viticultural sector is a vital source of jobs in regional South Australia. It is a high-value, export-oriented industry with significant growth potential. However, there is a shortage of labour and skill in this industry. Many of the existing horticultural and viticultural businesses are small and need to invest in new technology and equipment to remain competitive.
Over the past fifty years, agriculture has seen massive advances in mechanical and genetic technology. These advances have improved the scale and speed of farm equipment and boosted yields through the use of fertilizers and genetically modified seeds. But the industry is still far behind other industries in its use of advanced technologies, and is now facing increasing demand and several disruptive forces. This industry must embrace a digital and connectivity-fueled transformation to address these challenges.
To do this, agriculture must move away from its current, isolated approach to connectivity and develop a more holistic approach that supports the needs of farmers. This requires a range of partners to come together and offer an end-to-end solution that includes the necessary connectivity, data analytics, and other tools. For example, the data collected by autonomous tractors should seamlessly flow to connected irrigation devices, which can then use the information to optimize watering schedules. The technology that collects this information should also be able to communicate with other adjacent technologies, such as weather stations.
In the future, these solutions will help farmers manage risk and uncertainty, improve crop production, and build resilience to climate change and other environmental and economic challenges. The key is to connect farmers with the right data and services, which can be difficult in rural areas. However, new technologies, such as low-latency LPWAN networks, can deliver faster and more reliable connectivity.
Currently, a large number of agricultural-related smartphone applications provide simple functions, but are unlikely to fully unlock the potential value of agriculture’s connected sensors and other advanced technologies. This requires a network that provides low latency, high bandwidth, and resiliency, offered by advanced and frontier connectivity technologies like LPWAN, 5G, and LEO satellites.
Farmers in developing countries face a variety of unique challenges, including limited land, limited access to markets, and poor infrastructure. These factors make it more important to focus on high-quality crops rather than just quantity. Nevertheless, it is difficult to achieve this goal without a robust supply chain. To overcome these obstacles, agricultural producers should implement policies that promote sustainable farming and ensure food safety. These policies should include strict labor standards, environmental standards, and quality control.