Technology – the fastest growing thing in agriculture

Agriculture is a key sector for Ronson Gears, so it is interesting to track the many changes happening out there in the field. Far from being a backwater, agriculture is adopting technology more rapidly than most other sectors…. as we can report.

The link for this piece came from a Gears Matter Blog by Mary Ellen Doran, AGMA Director of Emerging Technology.

It’s a fascinating look at the way technology has proliferated in agriculture – vastly increasing productivity and yields whilst lowering costs. Farms have turned into technological hot houses. Autonomous drone technology, satellites and robotics are common place as documented here

However, the real hero of the piece is a link to John Deere’s CTO, Jahmy Hindman, which best illustrates just how far things are developing.

The article is entitled, ‘John Deere turned tractors into computers – what’s next?’ It’s worthy of a long-read or listen (take your pick).

The massive shift towards technology is exemplified by the fact that John Deere, the world’s largest manufacturer of farm machinery, now employs more software engineers than mechanical engineers.

Jahmy Hindman explains why the entire business of farming is moving towards ‘precision agriculture’. It means that farmers track where seeds are planted, how well they are growing, what they need and how much they yield.

Key to all this is the collection and analysis of massive amounts of data. However, this in turn comes with its own challenges.

Who owns the data? Where is it processed? How is it collected without reliable broadband? What format is it in? How easy is it to use different manufacturers? How do you upgrade? How can it be kept securely? Who fixes them? The last question poses a whole new set of issues around ‘The right to repair.’

It’s a brave new world and one that requires new answers. This article provides many and is worth a listen….