+27 71 448 3496

Data drives precision farming

Share Article
Farming in the future will rely more on more on a data driven approach. Image credit: The Awareness Company

Data drives precision farming

Industries across the board are using a data-driven approach to drive efficiency and proactivity.

With the proliferation of affordable monitoring devices and connectivity, companies are using this data to enhance decision-making and overall operations. According to Priaash Ramadeen, CEO and co-founder of The Awareness Company, this presents an opportunity for the agricultural sector to embrace data for precision farming and farm security.

“Agricultural security is about reducing loss of income and keeping your business and family safe. Precision farming focuses on reducing risk and maximising quality and profit,” says Ramadeen.

The question is how will technology and data help companies in improving security and in achieving precision farming?

The answer lies in awareness and visibility across the business – on the farm, in the pack house or processing plant and across your agricultural business right through to insurance. It also allows you to share that visibility and awareness across the entire value chain, including farm workers, suppliers, and off-takers as well as the insurance companies involved with supplying inputs to the farm.

“Data also gives you a deeper understanding of what is going on, providing the farmer with the inputs required to understand their unique situations and challenges,” says Ramadeen.

“It helps the farmer remove uncertainty by supplementing their gut and instinct with data-driven decision-making based on facts. It allows the farmer to enhance, elevate and grow their operations and results in far better decisions and ultimately actions.”

He adds that it improves the speed to act as well. “Through better awareness, the farmer can act immediately to rectify a situation and become more proactive, streamlining the farm operations.

Analyse patterns and trends

There are so many variables in farming, so it is imperative to use data to help shape, predict, and anticipate the future.

It allows the farmer to compare historic yields to help understand what the next year’s crop should look like, understand when the next drought is likely to occur, whether crops are being overwatered and identify vulnerable access points to the farm that pose a security risk. It allows the farmer to analyse patterns and trends across the entire value chain.

Ramadeen says that with the vast amounts of data that is available across the value chain, it is critical for the farm to have the right tools to aggregate and make sense of that data.

“You need tools that are simple to use, and which can transform all those data points into actionable stories to support your decision-making process.”

Ramadeen says that this is the reason why they created Hydra, a data-agnostic solution: to collect data from sensors from different systems and aggregate it to provide agricultural security patterns and trends that give a historic view, which can then be used to reduce things like false detections and provide early threat warnings as well allowing for a more proactive approach to security.

From a precision farming perspective, the data allows the farm to save on costs and drive operational efficiency.

“It allows the farmer to elevate and grow the business as well as automate reporting administration,” says Ramadeen.

The data that is logged from devices across the farm is aggregated into one dashboard, which visualises the information for easy interpretation. He adds that the data can also be shared among broader farming communities to improve overall security.

“It allows the community to be more aware and enables them to solve security breaches must faster. Artificial intelligence in cameras for example can analyse what type of movement triggered the alert and whether it is an actual threat or not, reducing unnecessary false alarms.

“The technology also allows for real-time tracking of animals on the farm, allowing for proactive management of the animals. It also allows for the monitoring of grazing patterns, movement, and other behaviours.”

Then you can also monitor things that are on your farm, whether it’s the movement of people, equipment, or vehicles in real-time.

He recommends that farmers that want to capitalise on precision farming and agricultural security use several sources of data to get a holistic view of the entire farm.

“Sensors are becoming smaller, smarter, and cheaper and connectivity is becoming more readily available. It, therefore, makes sense for farmers to deploy AgriTech solutions to give them in-depth insights into their operations in real-time. And with the global population rate of population growth, there is a lot of room for optimisation, and this is where data will be key.”

WhyAfrica does research, and reports about, natural resources and the primary sectors of African economies, and the infrastructure, equipment and engineering methods needed to extract and utilise these resources in an efficient, responsible, sustainable, ethic and environmentally friendly way, so that it will benefit the people of Africa.

Furthermore, WhyAfrica promotes Africa as an investment and travel destination, analyses the continent’s business environment and investment opportunities, and reports on how the political economy of African countries affects its development.         

WhyAfrica provides you with business intelligence that matters. Africa is our business, and we want it to be yours too. To subscribe to WhyAfrica’s free newsletter or digital magazine, and for more news on Africa, visit the website at www.whyafrica.co.za or send a direct message. WhyAfrica launched its first ever digital magazine in November 2021.

The company will undertake its annual road trip through South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, the DRC, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya in 2023. If you are interested in sponsorship or advertising opportunities, please contact me at leon@whyafrica.co.za. We have a wide range of different packages and combo deals to give your company the greatest exposure to a rapidly growing, African readership.  

The 2022 Southern Africa Road trip issue of WhyAfrica’s magazine is now available in print. The magazine was distributed in South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana during WhyAfrica’s 2022 Southern Africa Overland Road Trip, the company’s new and innovative platform. WhyAfrica has expanded its product range and now offers its readers, followers, advertisers, subscribers and partners the following:

  • Daily 24/7 online articles on WhyAfrica’s website (FREE)
  • Daily updates on WhyAfrica’s social media platforms (FREE)
  • Newsletters delivered to a handpicked audience every two weeks (FREE)
  • Two printed magazine per year distributed at large events and during our road trips across Africa featuring original, in-depth articles (FREE) with great, on-site photographs by the WhyAfrica team (FOR SALE UPON REQUEST)
  • Four digital magazines per year (FREE)
  • Live updates, video clips, articles, and podcasts during and after WhyAfrica’s annual road trips (Southern Africa in 2022, East Africa in 2023 and West Africa in 2024) (FREE)
  • Sponsorship and advertising opportunities for the annual WhyAfrica Overland Road Trips (PAID FOR)
  • A library where companies doing business in Africa can display scientific or research papers (PAID FOR)
  • A product section where companies doing business in Africa can display new offerings or services (PAID FOR)
  • Media partnerships with, and a presence at, most of the major conferences and exhibitions in the African mining, energy, agriculture, infrastructure, water management, ESG, environmental management, tourism, development, and conservation sectors (FREE)
  • WhyAfrica connects potential investors with new ventures in Africa and suppliers and service providers with existing companies in Africa (PAID FOR)
  • WhyAfrica assists companies in generating content focused on the wider African business community (PAID FOR)
  • Partnerships with companies doing business in Africa (PAID FOR)
  • Partnerships with companies thinking about expanding into Africa (PAID FOR)
  • In 2023 subscribers will have access to our in-depth articles about the African political economy, research, and country reports about the countries we visit on our road trips, and trends in the sectors that we cover (PAID FOR)
  • A WhyAfrica book is in the pipeline and if all goes according to plan, should be published towards the end of 2023 (PAID FOR)
  • The WhyAfrica consultancy arm assists and advises companies doing business in Africa through utilising our extensive global business network (PAID FOR)

Become part of the WhyAfrica community. Tell us your story. Expand your footprint across Africa and partner with us to make the most of your African experience.           

Share Article


AgricultureEnvironmental Management & Climate ChangeEnergyESGInfrastructureMiningPolitical EconomyTourism and ConservationWater Management