Farmers for centuries have been continuously maximising their productivity with the newest agricultural equipment, theorising ways that would help them turn out more produce without taking away their key time that needs to be spent on the other hundred jobs that are lined up. With labour workers being at an all-time low, times start to seem dark. With issues arising such as labour shortages, climate change, and the adjustment back from the pandemic, how can farmers get more than they give?
Innovate, Adapt, Overcome
‘Out with the old, in with the new’ – hasn’t that always been the way? Apple love this logic, by the time your pockets are deep enough to get your hands on the iPhone 10, the iPhone 20 through 30 are being thrown in your face everywhere you look and before you know it, your measly, so-last-week iPhone 10 is slower than dial-up internet. How would you like to be one step ahead for a change? Farmers everywhere have the exciting possibility that, not too far in the future, their farms will become automated. With autonomous technology provided by the likes of Cavonix, we enter the 4th revolution. The average age of farmers has increased to 59, and only 9% of all farmers are under the age of 35; minimising labour-intensive work is the only way forward because let’s be honest, we aren’t all built like Channing Tatum. We are ready to break the ‘one farmer, one tractor’ paradigm and get ready for one farmer to manage a fleet of 5 or more tractors themselves.
Field of Dreams – Literally
Autonomous vehicles are built with many assets with the ability to detect irregularity during operation:
They are fitted with a 3D camera with depth-perception images that mimic that of a human eye.
LIDAR technology uses light like a laser to measure variable distances, George Lucas-standard technology.
Each autonomous tractor is also set with an IMU which gives the vehicle manoeuvrability, detecting broken implements, uneven soil, and any obstacles that may prevent peak performance.
If The Climate Changes, So Do We
With the unusual weather patterns disrupting essentially half of the planting season, farmers are being confronted with the fact that they need to adjust their operation to suit the narrow opportunities that they have to farm. The United States Environmental Protection Agency published a report noting that there is a rise in temperatures and a significant shift in snow and rainfall patterns. This has devastating knock-on effects for farmers everywhere and taking into consideration the scarce labour workers, Cavonix’ autonomous vehicles are seemingly the eligible candidate to fill that gap and provide an efficient and productive way to farm.
Post Pandemic Productivity
The Covid-19 pandemic hit farmers like, well, a tractor. Up to 60,000 foreign workers were unable to get processed visas in order to work in the US during the pandemic, this put 50% of the agricultural work force at risk. On top of that, the local farmers faced the implementations of social distancing which must have been a huge setback keeping 131 cows 2 meters apart.
Really though, the pandemic was not easy on farmers, and despite having once nearly tripled output with less land and labour between 1948 and 2017, a much quicker way had to be found than 50 years of catching up.
Farmers have come a long way since 5500 BC, when the first equipment was built by Sumerian farmers. 7,522 years on they still strive to maximise productivity and achieve the best yield with the lowest expense, albeit the ever changing climate, and recovery from Covid. Autonomous vehicles provide the best opportunity for them to do so. Tackling time-management, worker shortage, technological obstacles and costs, farmers can now win big and lose small. Autonomy can keep up and adapt with climate change – the biggest problem they face.
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