Forget about rising at dawn, while it is still dark to head out to the barn to milk the cows. Now there are robots. And not just to milk the cows. Robots are driving the tractors too. No more riding the fence to see how the herd is doing, or the condition of the grazing lands. Now we have drones flying over the farm collecting valuable data that helps farmers stay at the leading edge of production and increased profitability.
Meet Aki Georgacacos, one of the founders of Avrio Capital, a Calgary based venture capital firm that focuses on innovations in agricultural practices and food production. Georgacacos says that farmers are just starting to embrace the plethora of technologies that can improve their lives. On 8 February, 2015 Avrio raised $110 million in venture capital to launch the next generation of high-tech farm companies. Several are already in the pipeline, just waiting for the funding.
They began reaching out to farmers 10 years ago, beginning with a technology that would help farmers know how much and where to apply fertilizer, saving money and improving crop growth. It was slow going for a long time, however today Farmers Edge has grown to be the leading technology company in the world, dealing with farm management, utilizing cutting-edge cloud technology to collate data from satellite imagery, weather statistics and soil sensors to create a management package that produces optimum efficiency and profitability. With all of this data, farmers can decrease by as much as 40% the cost of seeds, water and fertilizer.
The next technology leap is big data. Big data is already radically transforming how education is delivered, and now it will be accessible to farmers to revolutionize strategies for seeding, irrigating, and fertilizing.
Improved farm practices lead to increased production, resulting in more food on the market and lower prices — which is good for everyone.