Digital Agriculture Gets Wings!
Article by Gottfried Pessl, Founder and CEO of Pessl Instruments
For the past 35 years, I have been working with digital agriculture technologies with clients all over the world. I have visited numerous agtech conferences and spoken at many of them as a keynote speaker.
For years we at Pessl Instruments, together with many of our ecosystem partners (John Deere, Adama, FarmFacts, Vodafone, Nokia, Ericsson, LoRa Alliance, and many others), have been offering ready-to-use solutions that provide real financial impact to farmers. These digital tools help farmers worldwide make better-informed decisions, helping them with better resource allocation (seed, water, fertilizer, diesel) and at the same time making their fields more resistant to farming risks (drought, excess water, frost, heat stress, insect damages, fungal infections etc.). These tools can assure farmers a better final outcome.
In the last decade, billions of investors’ money has been poured into start-ups with the goal to “change analog farmers and make this industry digital”. A significant percentage of this money is going to be lost as many of the start-ups and investors do not understand the complexity of the agricultural industry.
Many investors perceive farmers as backward and slow in taking on new technologies. In order to change farmer’s behaviour, investors should first understand the real need of a farmer, the complexity of farming and the whole ecosystem. It takes a whole generation of not only farmers, but political side as well to accept and understand the ongoing changes. Australia’s Minister of Agriculture David Littleproud said it clearly, paraphrasing:
“Agtech made the agriculture again an interesting terrain for young Australians – they are coming back from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and are starting farming operations – the Ag business is becoming sexy and profitable with the modern tools which are available now. Farmers have to learn how to use GPS guided tractors and implements, fly drones, use soil moisture and weather data for better water use, spray only when the local DSS (decision support system) advises them to do so. All these tools together are bringing profitability in completely new spheres. We have worked with our Telco’s to build thousands of new communications towers in rural areas to ensure internet connectivity.”
Australian farmers have always been leaders in the application of smart farming tools, but have face constraints including communication problems in the outback due to the size of the country, together with the scattered population.
Politics worldwide need to make rural internet connectivity a MUST; when that is a reality, we will see rapid changes and uptake of the technology on farms not only in the developed world but everywhere. The Earth has enough land to feed 10 or 12 billion people – if only we would utilize it better. The digital tools are available, ready to be used and help farmers globally lose less to harmful insects and disease damages, help them with better water and fertilizer usage, or in other words “produce more with less” using technology and early warning risk services.
This requires a joint effort of the policymakers, the farming industry, the supply industry, and the farm advisory services to train farmers, young or old, on how to apply the technology and start, as our slogan states, “Turning Information into Profits”.
About Pessl Instruments:
For more than 30 years, Pessl Instruments has been offering tools for informed decision-making. A complete range of wireless, solar powered monitoring systems under the iMETOS® brand, and an online platform FieldClimate are applicable in all climate zones and can be used in various industries and for various purposes – from agriculture to research, hydrology, meteorology, flood warning and more. Over the years, iMETOS® has become a global brand with local support, and we are proud to say we managed to reach out to almost every corner of the world. We believe that durable, highly precise technology and support from our trained partners worldwide are the recipe for success. The iMETOS® brand lasts longer, performs better, is easier to use and offers you the lowest total cost of ownership.
About Gottfried Pessl:
Gottfried Pessl is the Founder and CEO of Pessl Instruments. He founded the company in 1984 and still he has a tight grip on things. He enjoys visiting both, customers and distributors frequently and is often invited to speak at international conferences. He is a trained agronomist and banker, and to him everything runs like clockwork, only a bit faster. His dream is to have more time for his family, his wife and his six-year-old son and two grandchildren.
Gottfried, will be one of the speakers at World Agri-tech Innovation Summit, he will be joining the discussion on How Should We Be Applying Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Agriculture? on March 19 at 2.30pm.