Smart crop monitoring: the benefits for livestock farms

zootecnia
Marco BiasciucciAgronomo

In the modern farm crop monitoring is very important in order to have a clear picture of the production in the medium – long term. Often, in the past, it was thought that the only alternative to control the effect that the seasons had on the development of a crop was to go on field.

Today farmers can use several tools to increase the control of their crops directly from the farm and they can also do this on larger extensions by saving time.

Satellite monitoring

Thanks to satellites it is possible to follow the evolution of the territory, know if there are areas of water stagnation or without vegetation, or observe wooded areas to plan their use.

A corn cultivation can be observed throughout its biological development cycle directly from the screen of a PC: it seems surprising the margin of time that remains available to deal with the management of all those ordinary activities that are part of the farm.

Platforms, such as Agricolus, are created to optimize productive resources, according to the type of crop, and to make more efficient the operational management of the entire biological cycle.

The practical advantages for farms

In the pastures of the middle hills, but also at high altitudes, it is not always possible to precisely quantify the abundance of vegetation: the results are often negative for the introduction of too many adult animals compared to the quantity of forage units available.

In order to prevent this type of error, it is now possible to monitor the development of vegetation via satellites and have a precise image that can be used to plan with ratio the days of grazing of the herds. This can also allow the identification of sites and regions where there are changes that can lead to the loss of natural habitats and available natural seeds.

mucca al pascolo

Cow

The value chain is also important, which is the reason many techniques are evolving to control the grazing of bovines on a large scale so that each individual animal can be monitored from its entry into the pastures.

The main objective in this case is to promote a technological framework, based on IoT, Open Data, Big Data and Blockchain, facilitating the sharing of data along the supply chain to improve decision-making and consumer confidence.

The expected results should lead to a 10% reduction in water and fertilizer use, a 15% reduction in fattening time for bovines in the pastures, a 15% reduction in working time, an increase in reproduction rate of more than 90% and consequently a 10% increase in sales price due to certification of the production process (Sharebeef project promoted by IoF2020).

The technological development of the farm is encouraged by the European Union, but it is necessary to give space to highly specialized innovative platforms to carry out a development that must be sustainable on all point of views.

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