New report highlights how AI could shape the future of farm machinery
25th April 2023
A report incorporating views from leading industry experts has predicted a “data-driven and precision agricultural future” where technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) will play an increasingly important role in farming life.
Produced by agricultural PR and marketing agency Red Stag Media, ‘The Future of Agricultural Machinery’ report considers the future challenges facing farming, analyses the trends in agricultural machinery and aims to predict the outcomes for the next generation of farmers.
Taking into account the impact of oversized tractors on labour shortages, as well as the prospect of autonomous machines, artificial intelligence, drones, data and alternative fuels, the publication explores what agribusinesses must do to help farmers succeed in the uncertain times ahead.
Contributing experts whose insights are featured in the report include representatives from major manufacturers like John Deere and New Holland; top academics from Harper Adams and The Lincoln Institute of Agricultural Technology; leading professionals from Oxbury Bank and Whitley Stimpson; and a host of engineers, innovators and key stakeholders.
Amongst others, the report calls for greater collaboration among manufacturers and appeals to the government for action to help farmers explore alternative fuels and provide greater clarity and incentives to encourage investment in the latest technology.
The dawn of autonomous agricultural machinery is an overarching theme throughout the work, which highlights the potential of machinery-generated data to advance decision-making on farms.
Kit Franklin, principal investigator of the Hands-Free Farm at Harper Adams University, remarked: “When autonomous tractors first came out, it all seemed a bit sci-fi to farmers and, while they liked the idea, they didn’t believe it would happen in their lifetime.
“Having now seen them, 95% of farmers are positive about autonomous machines and are asking ‘when can I have one?’ There is a real appetite out there. Seeing is believing and we’ve done it.”
To promote industry-wide take-up of “intelligent” machinery, several contributors emphasized manufacturers must do more to communicate with farmers about how the next generation of machines will help drive greater profits and yields from their land.
Chris Wiltshire, UK and Ireland marketing manager at John Deere, is quoted in the reports as saying: ‘We all know that farming is changing, and businesses are having to adapt to a new policy environment. With so much technology out there to choose from, selecting the right innovations that will deliver the results they need will be key when making investment decisions.
“An autonomous tractor or a robot may be able to achieve a goal – but farmers will only invest if it’s going to benefit their business, so knowing what’s out there for them will be really important.”
Meanwhile, Nick Glaves, managing director of Red Stag Media, explained the idea for the report was sparked by discussions at agricultural shows and with people from across the industry. “The innovations in agricultural machinery are coming thick and fast and we wanted to understand how that will shape the future of farming.
“Our expert contributors have provided some fascinating insights and it paints a picture of an intelligent, data-driven and precision agricultural future that will continue to deliver the food security need.
“However, the message is clear that we must all do more to communicate these opportunities, challenges and innovations to farmers. To succeed, agribusinesses must find new ways to communicate and become part of the farmer’s inner circle, acting as a trusted adviser and delivering the information they need to make profitable decisions about the future of their farm,” he concluded.
To download the full 32-page report, visit the Red Stag Media website at www.redstagmedia.co.uk