Our tools, services and solutions are built on a combination of technology (hardware and software) and agronomic knowledge. Their purpose is to collect and interpret data, and to give the best recommendations possible to farmers (or other stakeholders), in terms of water, soil and nutrition management.
These tools and services improve our overall crop nutrition solutions by supporting the farmer with in-time and precise application.
Digital Farming as we see it has the potential to revolutionize agriculture, and bring significant benefits for farmers and the society overall, as we need new ways to grow more food more sustainably. Concretely, it means applying new technologies such as data science, advanced sensors in the field and from space, digital communication channels, and automation on the field. This way more and more farmers have access to better insights to take more optimal decisions, drive up yield, reduce waste, and – particularly in emerging markets such as in Asia – drive up wealth in rural areas.
For crop nutrition, for instance, it will mean finding the optimum fertilization program for individual fields, helping farmers to decide when and how much to apply, and react to variations in different parts of a field.
We in Digital Farming are very excited about these opportunities, as it also offers us new ways to apply Yara’s knowledge in the field, and thus scale up our opportunities to positively impact the future of agriculture.
Here are some reflections on key traits of the future of agriculture:
Productivity: the future of agriculture will unlock yield reserves that we critically need to sustainably feed a growing population. This will mean smarter farming, and helping millions of farmers take optimized decisions
Connectivity: we clearly see the future of the farm more connected. Different devices will collect information and – in a quite automated way – lead to direct optimized application: the “internet of things” on the farm.
Dynamics: we see a highly dynamic environment, with fast development of technologies, and quite substantial changes to the way farming is done. This is also driven by “agile development” – high paced technology development that is characteristic for Digital Farming applications.
We can’t predict the future, but what we do know is that it will be an exciting future, with lots of opportunities for farmers to exploit need ways to increase productivity, while protecting the earth’s limited resources.
Simply put, we need to find a way to produce much more food, with less resources in a more responsible way. The first major step-growth in agricultural production happed more than 100 years ago with the advent of nitrate based mineral fertilizer. Actually, already then Yara played a pivotal role.
As our challenges grow – demand for higher quality food, climate change, water scarcity, pollution, reducing biodiversity, significant population growth, wealth driving higher value nutrition, …we need new weapons to even maintain, let alone improve the way we grow food. We believe Digital Farming is one key answer to these challenges.
This is also why Yara has been and is even more now investing in Digital Farming – we see it as a critical toolbox towards our mission to sustainably feed the world and protect the planet.
Yara has an embedded culture of R&D and innovation – we have always been at the forefront of crop nutrition innovation.
In this spirit, Yara was one of the early movers in precision farming more than 10 years ago, with an advanced offer of sensor-driven tools and solutions, like the N-sensor, picture technology that allows to diagnose a field’s health with your cell phone camera, or our water sensor technology, to optimize irrigation and thus save one of the planet’s most scarce resources.
Given the opportunities digital technology offers, it is our clear strategy to accelerate our investments in digital farming, and expand our position in this area.
Tech solutions open new opportunities to optimize. By combining large amounts of data that we as humans cannot directly process, we can conduct more granular optimization, and for instance adjust the way we treat different parts of a field.
Likewise, digital technology enables us to address a key problem in smallholder markets, which is how to bring know-how to remote farms, and reach millions of farmers. Imagine a world where such farmers can access better decision support – we can unlock tremendous potential!
Technology is of course a part of a holistic system. Certainly, high quality physical inputs, optimized seeds, infrastructure, etc. need to also be further optimized!
In Digital Farming we pursue a broad agenda. Some initiatives aim for higher connectivity of our tools and services, some for adding new and more advanced sensors and ways to collect information, such as drones. Some are directed to optimizing the digital information and knowledge flows with farmers or food companies. In some areas, we invest into advanced modelling and big data, for instance, to simulate the optimal treatment of a farm depending on the weather.
In addition to technology development, we also build partnerships with other players. Clearly no player will be successful in such a dynamic space totally on their own.
Finally, we optimize digital commercial models, that will allow us to capture a fair share of the value we create.
We see ourselves as innovators, with a high pace of development.
It is a core element of our digital strategy to offer best in class products and solutions to farmers, advisors, or other players in agriculture. Adapt-N is such a best-in class digital solution. Its recommendations were validated with multiple academic and leading players, and have a proven superior impact on a farm’s performance than competitor products. Hence, Adapt-N is a very strong complement to our offer. Furthermore, the deep scientific and agronomic approach fits well with our knowledge-driven culture and approach.
We are convinced that Digital Farming can be a key contributor to exactly this objective! Certainly, in sync with other efforts and in collaboration with partners across the globe.