Farming is more and more often associated with cutting-edge technology, drones and artificial intelligence, now that the sector is seeking new ways to optimise their crop yields. It seems that South African farmers, in particular, are at the forefront of some of these global innovations.
Farmers in South Africa are seeing massive increases in crop yields. And according to Agri SA, the major industry representative of the agricultural value chain in the country, they are using less water and land to achieve this.
The rapid shift to technology in the agricultural sector includes the increased use of drones, a.k.a. unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).. Aerobotics, an early-stage agritech company, is pioneering the use of drones to gather and process pest infestations and diseases in tree crops and orchards.
Farmers pay Aerobotics a subscription to monitor the size and health of trees, provide fruit counts and data about fruit size and colour. This analysis is done using machine learning and artificial intelligence to process the imagery and provide insights to farmers.
Agri SAs CEO Omri van Zyl told news24.com that agritech is developing rapidly. Farmers increasingly used precision farming methods, such as the data from drone imagery, to scan their crops, decide when to spray pesticides and predict crops estimates. In the future, he foresees drones will water and spray fields and orchards.
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