Digital agriculture: innovation on the net
A survey carried out by Image Line and Nomisma was presented at EIMA International, regarding the use of internet information and electronic technologies by farmers and subcontractors. Increasing the use of specific "apps"
Innovation in agriculture needs the Internet and computer technology. This is demonstrated by a survey, conducted jointly by Image Line (the hi-tech Italian company specialized in digital solutions for agriculture) and Nomisma (the prestigious research firm in the economic and social fields), which was illustrated in Bologna at EIMA International.
Presented during the conference entitled “Digital Agriculture: today’s opportunities, ideas for the future”, held in the afternoon of Friday, November 11, the survey allows to quantify the phenomenon and offers operators in the primary sector and related industries some interesting elements of evaluation. Here are the results of the two studies, developed respectively in 2015 on a sample of farmers and in 2016 on a sample of subcontractors.
Farmers (on a sample of farms
connected to the Net)
61% Italian farmers are using the Internet on a daily basis for their activities in the field. 95.6% uses webpages and online databases in support of farm management. Among these, 35.2% does so to get weather information, while 11.2% stays up to date on the prices of agricultural products.
There is a surprising interest in drones; 43% know them and would be interested in using them to manage and monitor their crops, while 2.1% already uses them.
The use of “augmented reality” also arouses attention, to monitor the health of crops. 28% declares itself interested in the use of such devices. Farmers - as emerges from the research overall - see new technologies also as a means to communicate with the consumer directly and tell the story of their products: fruits, vegetables, wine, olive oil etc., and related activities such agritourism, educational farms and the like. 20.4% of farmers have their own website, and of these 26.4% allows the consumer to purchase products online.
Consultants (sample of consultants connected to the Net)
82.3% of consultants use the Internet daily for their own business, a significant percentage also compared with 61% of farmers who have access to the net. While 95.6% of the latter use webpages and online databases in support of farm management, the percentage rises to 99.5% for consultants.
The main information being sought regards regulatory and industry updates (21.4%), followed by information on techniques and treatments for crops (18.6%) and on tenders and other funding opportunities (18.2%). 32.6% of the consultants’ sample also use social media to support their consulting business.
This is a particularly interesting fact when we consider that most social media are not related to the world of agriculture, but are generalist platforms.
In fact, 25.7% of consultants use Facebook every day, and 16.5% use LinkedIn for their professional activities. Weather forecasts, consulted daily by 35.2% of farmers and 11.9% of consultants, account for most of the app usage - on mobile or on the web - by both samples (82.5% of the consultants and 80.5% of the farmers who use apps and/or web applications). The other services that agriculture consultants use the most through apps are updates on industry regulations or events (36.6%), the recognition of adversities (36.3%) and the farm treatment log (27.8%). Apps remain a tool that is identified by 19.9% of technicians and experts as fundamental, to be developed to assist operators in the agricultural sector of the future.
They are followed by GPS applied to precision agriculture (17%) and agro-meteorological stations (15.7%). It is interesting how drones are identified as tools to be implemented by 15% of the consultants, a much lower percentage than the 43% of farmers.
“Our presence at EIMA - said Ivano Valmori, CEO and founder of Image Line represents an important opportunity to discuss and share digital agriculture opportunities.
Thanks to the collaboration with Nomisma, Image Line continues to read the profound changes that the sector is experiencing: the digital transformation today involves both the farm and the activities of professionals and subcontractors”.