In this blog Ben Gothorp, MSP Technical Officer, discusses the latest developments in the world of agri-tech and how these technologies are helping make farms more efficient than ever.
At MSP, we understand the considerable value emerging agri-tech brings to the farming sector. That’s why we’re continuing to invest in products and software that help make life on the farm more efficient and effective. Increased yields, quicker problem solving, and valuable time saving can all result from smart usage of the agri-tech that’s on the market right now.
Keep reading to find out what we’re doing to help make our farm and our customers’ farms as productive as possible through the use of different agri-tech products and services.
Smart crop analysis
Skippy Scout enhances decision making for both farmers and agronomists by enabling them to remotely check weed and disease levels across a field. This technology is designed to be used in conjunction with traditional crop walking.
This helps with driving efficiency on the farm, enabling targeted agronomy to become a reality for farmers everywhere. Skippy Scout is a really exciting tool which has the potential to improve efficiencies across the farm.
DroneAG is working to achieve greater proficiencies at farm level that will potentially benefit the whole supply chain. Through our continuing partnership with DroneAG, we are excited about the future of great autonomy within the farming environment.
A diverse range of technology
We use a wide variety of agri-tech methods on the MSP home farm to help maximise our outputs and efficiencies.
Soil and yield mapping help us to analyse variables out in the field and compare yield distribution and soil quality from year to year. We also use variable rate fertiliser and lime applications to optimise our inputs by adjusting rates based on soil sampling results. Advanced management techniques such as these have meant we are moving away from blanket applications in favour of targeted applications, ensuring the product is applied where it is needed most thereby reducing wastage.
By using RTK (real-time kinematic) positioning, we have seen enhanced position data from our GPS system – I’d say GPS is the one piece of tech that’s made the farmers job a lot easier. We also use the Greenlight Grower Management software from Muddy Boots – it’s a cloud-based crop recording software that lets us access and update field and crop data plans instantly.
Looking to the future, we will eventually introduce variable rate agrochemicals too, allowing us to target applications to areas where they are required and identify areas where they aren’t necessary.
Of course, there are challenges that come alongside the introduction of anything new. Cost will always be an obstacle for a lot of farmers, but this initial investment can result in great savings in the long term.
Scaling the technology is another problem that farmers can face – it’s easy to display the benefits of products or software in a controlled demo, but often more difficult to implement on a real working farm.
Exciting new developments
Right now, we’re particularly interested in the developments that will arise in crop scouting, either by drone use or satellite imagery. Crop walking is a really time-consuming task, so any methods we can use to free up time will increase our efficiency on the farm.
Another noteworthy area of development is disease and pest forecasting through AI and data models. These are two very real difficulties for farmers, so anything that can help tackle them will prove hugely valuable to the farming sector.
Innovation at MSP and Simpsons Malt
In recent years, we have been recording all the inputs that have been applied to the barley that we malt – from this data, we can analyse what production strategies, inputs and timings produce the best quality malting barley.
We are continuously looking to develop practical strategies which will help our growers produce the highest quality malting barley, allowing us to create malt of the highest quality. This leads to fewer rejections and allows us to work closely with our growers to advise them on how they can produce the highest quality malting barley.