With technology evolving at a faster rate than ever before, its influence can be seen reaching more and more industries every day. It is becoming apparent that no industry is safe from technological upgrades, even one of the world’s oldest industries: farming.
Next-generation 5G networks have the potential to be up to 100 times faster than their preceding 4G networks, creating an even faster connection between servers and devices. 5G also gives a large upgrade to the amount of data that can be carried over the network.
These improvements make 5G technology perfect for data transmission from remote sensors and drones, key tools currently being used in the farming industry. 5G capable drones are already being used in Ireland to improve potato production and 5G sensors are being used to monitor water temperature and salt concentration of oyster farms in Japan.
Another way 5G technology is being tested in the farming industry is using 5G collars on cows. These collars allow farmers to track a “connected” cow and receive daily updates on the cow’s behavior and health. The system is used at the Agri-Epi Center in Somerset, England.
By utilizing these 5G-connected collars, farmers can view information instantly and send it to veterinarians and nutritionists. This information includes data on everything from what the cows eat to how they sleep.
"This provides peace of mind that the cows are happy, healthy and behaving normally, as well as early warning if they are getting sick, are pregnant or need to be checked," said project manager Duncan Forbes. Since farms cover vast areas that are difficult to monitor daily, the agricultural sector can benefit enormously from remote data collection.
5G can also help irrigation systems turn on at the optimal time of day or help cattle to be grazed on areas that provide best nutrition. These upgrades help to increase efficiency and thus production yield of farms. Agricultural production is a huge concern today due to the world’s rapidly increasing population. The planet will have to grow 70% more food in 2050 than it did in 2009 according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Automation is seen by farmers as a huge aid to meet these rising demands.
A Project called Hands-Free Hectare became the first in the world to plant, tend, and harvest a crop without a single human stepping foot in the field in 2017. This project is now using 5G technology to further improve its precision and efficiency in crop spraying.
"This will help not only sustain farming, but also make it easier and less demanding for those doing it," Jonathan Gill, a researcher at Harper Adams University, said of the innovations.
Today advancing technologies are helping businesses of any industry operate more efficiently. As technology continues to improve businesses will be required to adapt in this competitive environment.