It is necessary to bring digital innovation to the primary sector to fight the global challenges of the coming decades
Agriculture is one of the oldest human activities and has not undergone major transformations for centuries. Around 1750 there was the first agricultural revolution, in which crop rotations and new methods of working the land were introduced. A second fundamental event was the mechanization of agricultural techniques between the two world wars, which laid the foundations for modern agriculture, increasing the efficiency and yield of the fields.
A century after the spread of the tractor, the rapid technological development that has already affected the secondary and tertiary sector is also about to revolutionize the agricultural world: we are about to enter the age of agriculture 4.0.
What is meant by agriculture 4.0?
The term agriculture 4.0, or Precision Farming , was first introduced in a workshop in Montana in 1990 and refers to a business management strategy that uses modern technologies with the aim of increasing site-specific productivity, efficiency and there
quality of agricultural products, while minimizing the environmental impact.
The tools for data collection
The tools of agriculture 4.0 allow first of all to have an always updated picture of the state of the fields. Thanks to satellite monitoring of crops and the use of drones and sensors, it is possible, for example, to analyze the characteristics of the soil, prevent any diseases and pests that could affect the crop, record meteorological data and map soil resistivity. The advantage of these data collection systems is the ability to control very large areas, identifying any critical issues (irrigation problems, nutritional deficiencies, parasitic attacks, damage due to hail ..) and taking prompt action to remedy them.
The tools for intervention in the field
The next phase to data collection is that of the intervention in the field, and also in this case the technologies of agriculture 4.0 prove to be extremely useful.
In fact, modern equipment makes it possible to dose fertilizers, water and phytosanitary products in a differentiated manner according to the needs of the crops, reducing waste and optimizing resources. There are also assisted and automatic driving systems for tractors, and it will soon be possible to remotely manage the entire fleet of agricultural machinery, also in this case obtaining a large amount of data with the aim of improving performance in terms of efficiency and environmental impact. . In other words, this revolution will lead to optimizing the income and resource consumption of every single square meter of land.
Why is this a necessary revolution?
Due to the rapid increase in the world population, which will exceed 9 billion by 2050, FAO has estimated that the need for agricultural products will increase by 60% over the next thirty years. The main problem is that 80% of arable land is already used and, due to global warming and the phenomena related to it (desertification, rising oceans, drought, changes in atmospheric patterns), the arable land area is decreasing. The only way out is to increase the productivity of the lands already used, while at the same time avoiding a greater impact on the environment and natural resources. Precision agriculture is a solution to this problem: integrating the use of modern technologies into traditional farming methods can really be the key to increasing agricultural production with a view to sustainability and respect for nature.