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Digital Agriculture: Expectations, Reality, and the Future

Digital Agriculture: Expectations, Reality, and the Future

Exploring the challenges facing digital agriculture and the future direction for technology on the farm.

By Haley Bilokraly Intern

Precision agriculture, digital farming, digitalization, and smart farming. These buzz words sound exciting for the agriculture industry, but how are they really implemented?

Dr. Alex Melnitchouck, Chief Technology Officer at Olds College, addressed these advancements during the 2022 Western Precision Agriculture Conference and Ag Technology Showcase in November 2022.

Recent technological growth in precision agriculture has been successful with the utilization of navigation, sectional control, field logistics, fleet logistics, and remote sensing tools. However, Dr. Melnitchouck believes the industry still has a desire for further development of technology.

Dr. Melnitchouck shared that agriculture has been the slowest industry to take part in digitalization, the process defined as collecting data and using it to make better business decisions. But this inactivity is not without good reason.

Unlike the media or finance industry, who are leading the digitalization process, it’s not easy to digitize farming. As Dr. Melnitchouck pointed out, “How do you digitize wheat, barley, canola, corn, soybeans, and potatoes? You still have to put rubber boots on and grow physical assets.”

While outlining the difference between dreams in agriculture technology and their reality, Dr. Melnitchouck detailed how technology like satellite imagery, real-time moisture measurements, and field weather stations are more complex than they initially seem.

So, what does the future of digital agriculture look like? How can digitalization in agriculture happen when there are many of variables to consider? Find out by watching the full video below.

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