Digital Farming

Digital farming, really? When it comes to Digital, you often pictures companies like Google and Apple, high-tech applications, disruptive technologies and circles based in some crowdy famous cities. Well… forget about this “cliché”. Soon you will walk outside the city, head up to the fields, and stare along the way to smart farmers equiped with drones and compiling data. This is not science-fiction, this is digital farming, one of the most booming application of digital.

Digital farming, or the smart agriculture

The principle of digital farming is pretty simple: the use of advanced and integrated technologies to empower farmers and agriculturers. Purpose is a common goal: analyse and improve food production, with a more sustainable value chain.
Let’s face it: today’s agriculture has been the result of a mess. Not knowing what to produce, how to produce, where to produce. It finally ends up with over-production being thrown away each year while other people are starving.
As a contrary, a digital agriculture system relies entirely on data to help farmers take the best decisions. By gathering more data, more frequently and accurately, a digital farming system can fast-process analytics, converge collected data with external sources (weather forecast, other farming systems,…), and provide the farmers with a complete framework for decision.

How does digital farming work?

What happens in digital farming is pretty close to the generic digital trends. To enable an integrated system and decision framework, digital farming relies on:

  • Big data. Everything on the fields is measured, accurately and regularly, leading to huge amounts of data.
  • Internet of things. Fields are structured into grids, monitored by captors on the ground and drones measurement.
  • Real-time analytics. Decisions and actions are pushed to farmers in real-time, landing on tablets and smartphones.
  • Artificial intelligence. By building a knowledge base, artificial intelligence algorithms define patterns and work for a sustainable agriculture.

The digital future of agriculture

Digital farming is definitely going to shape the future of agriculture. Due to the growth of population, productions will have to double by 2050 and this can only be done with the help of technology.
But bringing digital farming to agriculture is just a beginning, and much is yet to done:

  • Less than 20% of surfaces are today managed with digital technologies.
  • Technologies are not affordable yet, and not every farmer can jump into digital.
  • Digital farming raises the same question as in classical agriculture, opposing large corporations to small farmers.