Agriculture is growing fast – but can we keep up?
Canada’s farmers are a diverse bunch, but one thing that it seems we can all agree on is that the agricultural sector has seen great strides in recent years. Agri-tech has forever changed the scope of agribusiness, exporting and our relationship to the global market, as well as in smaller ways across everyday life.
Whether you run your own agribusiness or work on the family farm, technology will continue to influence the future of production across the country. However, with these leaps and bounds will come a few inevitable hurdles.
To find out more, let’s take a look at how agri-tech is making a splash today and the biggest challenge that looms in the horizon.
The best way to understand the future is to look at the world of today. Already, agri-tech has resulted in fewer farms popping up across the country – but the ones that we do have are larger, with more year-round employees. They are also renting more land, which is costing more as time goes by.
On the other hand, smaller farms are often the quickest to innovate and jump on board with new technology trends. We’re seeing a big increase in farms that have evolved to grow different products depending on the market’s need, rather than specialising in one particular thing.
No matter what the size of the farm, the average age of farmers is on the rise, as fewer young people enter the sector. The good news is that older farmers are just as likely to utilise agri-tech, but a renewed focus on targeting the younger crowd could soon bring in new ideas and innovations.
The Benefits of Agri-tech
The biggest advantage of technology in agriculture is the way that it empowers farmers to produce more while using less resources. This is both great for the financial side of things but also for the environment thanks to more sustainable processes and less waste.
One example of this increased output can be seen through Canada’s dairy farms: in 1981 the output of milk was 7.3 million kilolitres; in 2016, it became a whopping 8.4 million kilolitres. This is only the beginning, as automation allows us to streamline and enhance our farming techniques.
Hurdles to Overcome
Although technology is sending us towards a new golden age of agriculture, we still have some challenges to face both today and in the not-too-distant future. At the moment, debt and cash receipts in farms have jumped up, with more farmers investing large amounts into their business ($130,000 on average).
Another major cost is the larger energy bills that come hand-in-hand with more machinery on the farm. This is becoming a big pain point for farmers across both the US and Canada. In fact, the price of electricity has risen by over 40% since 2008, making it difficult for many farms – particularly growing ones – to embrace the full potential of automation. Luckily, there is a solution!
The NeatMeter by Rakr is an automated device + app system that monitors energy use and helps you to strike the right balance between automation and financial security. Now you can keep pace with the latest developments and increase production while keeping costs low. To find out more, click here.
In summary, the introduction of agri-tech into our farms has allowed us to boost yields and grow business through automated systems. The biggest challenge that this brings along is the rising cost of electricity to make it all work, but with the right management, you can reduce the impact of this and continue to embrace agri-tech and move towards the future of Canadian agriculture.
If you have a question about anything you’ve read here today, please feel free to get in touch with our team.