Farming is at the dawn of a new era – that of digital agriculture. As ‘Farming 4.0’ gathers pace, Case IH is committed to helping customers extract the full potential from their businesses by maximising access to digital technology.
By 2050, it’s anticipated the world’s population will reach nine billion. Meanwhile, the area of global land on which food can be produced continues to shrink, as development, environmental problems and other issues make farming impossible or difficult. Agriculture therefore needs to produce more food from less land. And that underlines the need to make every input which goes into growing and producing food more productive – not just the seeds planted and livestock raised, but the equipment and technology used to look after them.
“When we introduced our first precision farming technology developments two decades ago, Case IH led the way in this sector,” notes Thierry Panadero, Vice President Case IH EMEA. “As agriculture enters Farming 4.0, the fourth phase of a progression that began with the development of mechanisation, before continuing through the green revolution and into the precision farming era, that long experience is serving us and our customers well.”
New digital products and concepts from Case IH will build on progress in precision developments and bring digital farming fully into play to raise profitability. It’s set to do that by optimising not just machine performance, but the performance of whole farm systems.
THE MOVE INTO DIGITAL FARMING
The ability to gather operating and field data when machines are at work, and then analyse it to aid future decision-making, was and remains the hallmark of precision agriculture. But it’s how this data is used, and the joined-up, connected method in which it’s done, that makes the move from this into digital agriculture so different – and so exciting. Add to this the ability to automate monotonous tasks to make them less labour-dependent and more efficient and precise, plus the economic and environmental benefits of more targeted and timely input use, and it’s clear digital farming technologies offer great promise.
Through our Advanced Farming System (AFS) and its associated suite of precision farming technologies, such as AccuGuide auto-steering and AccuTurn automated headland turning, Case IH already has available today many of the tools to bring digital farming to life. And from vehicle guidance to remote monitoring telemetry to ISOBUS tractor/implement control, the groundwork for tomorrow’s digital technologies has already been laid.
“With our Autonomous Concept Vehicle (ACV) development, we have shown, when they are combined, what these technologies can do to aid the digital revolution,” points out Mr Panadero.
FULFILLING THE PROMISE
Not only can digital technology help boost productivity itself, but it can also help manage variables which are much less easy to influence, such as labour and weather. Farming 4.0 is likely to see much greater use made of real-time data concerning prevalent conditions, for example, with the prospect that autonomous vehicles will be able to decide for themselves when soil conditions are right for working, or too wet to avoid damage. And the potential that autonomous vehicles offer to reduce the need for long, tiring hours in the seat, and free up more time for first-hand observation and management of crop and livestock conditions, could help to make farming an even more rewarding business, as well as addressing concerns over difficulties finding labour.
To fulfil all this promise, Case IH, and the wider agricultural industry, are set to see some significant change.
“We see our future not just as a manufacturer, retailer and support service for farm machines,” Mr Panadero explains. “Digital farming and the age of Farming 4.0 will see us build on that to integrate what those machines do into each customer’s whole farm system. We don’t just want to help customers get the most from their Case IH equipment, but also from their soil, their crops and their livestock, helping them to farm more profitably, more productively and more sustainably.”