Forward-thinking farmers and the use of artificial intelligence
Technology is always evolving – and one of the newest developing trends is artificial intelligence. It’s playing an increasingly important role within the agricultural sector and is becoming more commonplace in farming.
The global population is expanding at an unprecedented rate, and projections indicate that agricultural production needs to surge by 70% by 2050 to adequately feed the population. Clearly there are limits to the amount of space available to farm and the resources to do so. Therefore, the answer to meeting this challenge is in using current resources more efficiently. One such method to help farmers do so is by introducing artificial intelligence into farming practices – something that could very soon become a necessity rather than a luxury.
On-farm game-changing technology
Artificial intelligence can be utilised across farms in myriad areas: everything from disease prediction and pest infestations to optimal crop condition.
At Livetec, we already harness the power of big data in the wild birds mapping feature of our class-leading Livetec Systems App. By mapping the location of all cases of avian influenza in the UK since 2021, we are not only able to provide our subscribers with up-to-date notifications of cases in their area, but by harnessing data, the app is able to provide users the ability to create predictions of where an outbreak might occur, and where it could spread. This valuable data, in the palm of the farmer’s hand, really ensures that our subscribers are forewarned in the face of disease.
But the potential of artificial intelligence, based on data collection, has potential even beyond avian influenza.
Artificial intelligence and the environment
The use of sensors and artificial intelligence in agriculture in farm buildings, machinery and even the soil itself can be used for all sorts of valuable purposes.
They can monitor the health of the soil, nutrient level, which can directly contribute to the quality of animal feed. As the UK continues to see changes to the natural environment, including the increased risk of flooding, there is growing concern about how these prolonged periods of flooding will affect farm operations, including potentially spreading disease.
Artificial intelligence and animals
Artificial intelligence is also helping livestock farmers better understand the health of their animals.
Data collected from sensors on feed on animals themselves can feedback data on the health of an individual pig or chicken. Changes indicated in the food consumption levels could be indicators of a number of diseases from avian influenza and infectious coryza in chickens to edema and African swine fever in pigs.
Not only this, but data can also identify the animals’ activity levels, making it easy to identify those who have become listless and are exhibiting early signs of disease, meaning that preventative action is more timely.
Beyond disease, artificial intelligence is enabling livestock farmers to monitor and manage the temperature, humidity and ventilation in animal housing, ensuring that conditions are optimised, both for animal welfare and for operational efficiency.
Digital on-farm solutions
Digital transformation can stretch beyond the animals and into operations, too. Farm Health Guardian (FHG) from Livetec Systems suite of radar passports and trackers can be installed on any size of farm vehicle and will track their movement data. This is crucial in the event of a disease outbreak as it will give the user notification, if the vehicle has entered an exclusion-zone, allowing them to take precautions to mitigate their own farm’s exposure.
As exciting and valuable as these innovations are, of course, it is impossible to predict in what directions the technologies will develop and how they can be applied in a farming context. The only certainty is that they will develop, and those that do not keep in the know with regards to artificial intelligence, risk being left behind.
Whatever new technologies the future of artificial intelligence might bring, however, farmers can rest assured that Livetec will be at the forefront, interlinking biosecurity and livestock protection services with cutting edge developments.