Why do we invest time in agriculture & technology? #2

03.03.2017, aprankl

The second motivation for our input in agriculture is way easier (first motivation – see previous article). How did innovations like control hydraulics, all-wheel drive, the turning plough and the harvester change our work in agriculture? While in former years milestones were set in size and speed, nowadays the focus is set on precision and comfort. Why should I catch up on my records in the evening, when I am able to do it during work? Isn´t it fascinating, how many sensors and how much processing power can be packed into such a little smartphone? A computer in the 40s weighed up to one ton! And nowadays we constantly carry around computers that are way more powerful.

Anyways, size and processing power aren´t the deciding factors concerning why computers can be used profitably in agriculture. In the last ten years, electronic recordkeeping for field reports wasn´t a big hit: Over 90% of farmers prefer hand-written reports. Why would it change? User-friendliness! In the industry, they discovered the additional value of information technology quite early, because the size of the organization allowed them to develop experts for office jobs, for example for planning, development and documentation. We have other conditions in agriculture, so we don´t fulfil these requirements. 80% of Austrian farms are family-run businesses and they haven´t got their own office workers. We can´t give users in agriculture an expert system and wonder why nobody wants to use it. The cost-benefit ratio is only satisfying when it is self-explanatory and easy to handle. When I am faster with pencil and paper, even though I have to transfer every word in five other reports and evaluate it laboriously by foot, the technology makes no sense.


There has been a big change in the last few years. Smartphones are nearly always the fundamental technology. Apple and many other companies showed pioneer work when it comes to the topic of intuitive operation of computer programs. With the available technology, we are able to link certain information, like weather and production data and machines. But way more important is that intelligent software supports us to recognize correlations and make them useable. We can use these kinds of technologies to create agricultural records and production reports automatically, to identify the causes for events in production, to find opportunities for improvement and, at the end of the day, to make good operational decisions. Furthermore, isn´t it incredible how many things you can do with a smartphone? One last question: Do you always take paper and pencil with you? And what about your smartphone – do you always have it with you?

What are the reasons you invest time and energy in agriculture? Write to us at blog@farmdok.com