Many companies and start ups have created technology — new applications or machines to improve efficiency of farm management to help boost production. For farmers, new developments are created either by fellow farmers or agribusinesses that want to help take farming into the future.
Check out this list of five new agricultural technologies that are on the market or being developed for farmers.
1. A farmer spin on LinkedIn.
Created by a beef producer, Kevin Johansen, the AgButler app is a mobile application that helps connect agribusinesses or farms with workers and workers with employment. Users can create either employer or laborer profiles, and make a connection filtered by location, ratings, work experience and availability preferences. The app can be used on iPhones or Android devices.
2. Want to know what your cows are up to? Merck’s SenseHub-Beef could be the answer.
This observation management system can help improve breeding and heat detection. The company has designed an ear tag that collects data on a heifers’ or cows’ activity such as rumination or eating, and estrous cycle behavior. The tag sends this real-time information to its software, which uses algorithms to analyze actions based on cattle’s well-being.
This system can help producers have accurate early heat detection like silent heat, herd routine and stress monitoring. It also can show how dietary changes are affecting cattle. With the tags, the software can be accessed through an app or on the web. Producers can also have alerts sent directly to their phone.
3. Farm shopping made easy. HitchPin is an app that combines networking, shopping and automatic payments.
Producers can set up a free account through either the web or a mobile application to search or post a listing for equipment, livestock, supplies or a service like harvesting. Users can make automatic transactions to pay with cash from their accounts or have payments made directly to their accounts. The application is only available for iPhone users and requires a transaction fee.
4. A world without bees is unimaginable, yet bee populations are becoming smaller.
An Israeli company, Arugga, has created the TRATA robot which can replicate bumblebee pollination for commercial tomato greenhouses. Using cameras and artificial intelligence, TRATA can identify flowers ready for pollination. The robot also uses an air-pressure mechanism that applies calibrated air pulses to the flower. TRATA will also decrease the spread of diseases by bees used in greenhouses for pollination.
5. Do you dislike it when your livestock discover a hole in the fence? What if you were able to have control over your fence line like dog owners with electric fences?
A California-based company, Vence, has developed a system of virtual fencing giving producers autonomous animal control. Virtual fencing is not a new concept because it was first brought to life by Dean Anderson, a USDA animal and range scientist.
But Vence has created a new prototype that uses GPS, mobile application, wireless networking and a sound amplifier. GPS is used to determine an animal’s location through a sensor that they are wearing like a collar. After their location is verified, producers can control the fence boundary using algorithms the Vence team has developed.
The system is still in its early stages of commercialization, but producers can sign up to be a part of the company’s pilot program and receive a free consultation with an expert to determine the potential cost.