Digital technology and farming are not commonly associated with each other but in the last few years, a silent revolution has been transforming farms everywhere.
Farms across the globe have now started embracing digital technologies to improve and automate several of their daily tasks. Various new technologies are being employed by farmers including soil sensors, self-driven farm machines, livestock locators, etc.
New farming techniques such as Hydroponics, Aquaponics,& Vertical farming are embracing digital technology too. Emerging technologies can improve efficiency and also can generate huge volumes of data of all farming activities. This data can then be analyzed to be used in the future for improving farming techniques and crop yields.
Aqua Farms: How do they work?
Pisciculture farms or Aquafarms are essentially huge fish tanks with varieties of fish being farmed commercially for food. The main challenge of a pisciculture farm is the difficulty involved in monitoring the fish constantly and maintaining a healthy environment in the fish tanks. Various parameters need to be monitored in real-time to get a healthy harvest. It is almost impossible for a farm to collect and maintain accurate data on a daily basis.
Feeding, Grading, and Moving are the most vital operations of a fish farm. Fishes are graded every week. As the fishes grow in length and size they are moved to larger tanks. Here in the new tanks, the fish are graded again and the process repeats itself. When they reach their maximum size, they are harvested for food.
How can Digital Technologies help?
As the digital consultant to a leading pisciculture farm in Australia, team Experion made extensive visits to the farm and held discussions with the client to understand the challenges the farm faced and the opportunities digital technology could bring.
The main challenges the farm faced were in Tank Maintenance and Fish Management. Even though the farm already has a lot of sensor-based alarms to monitor water quality, water filter status, oxygen rate, etc., and a variety of manual data collection methods, it was not able to improve its efficiency to the desired standards.
Some of the data collected at the Farm included:
- Tank Maintenance
- Water Quality check ( Sensor-based alarm)
- Water Filter Status ( Staff updates, after checks at regular intervals)
- Oxygen rate (Sensor-based alarm)
- Fish Management
- Fish feeding program ( Created an algorithm using Pisciculture expertise )
- Fish grading program (Staff update)
- Fish Movement (Staff update)
- Fish Mortality rate (Staff update)
- Fish harvest status (Staff update)
Experion was able to create a custom solution that would be integrated with a variety of sensors deployed across the farm. The objective of the solution was to systematically collect, monitor, and report tank and fish-related data.
The mobile and web applications that Experion subsequently built and deployed enabled the farm management team to monitor the maintenance and fish management operations in real-time. The data collected about the fish (growth, length, breadth) along with the tank data was used to improve and standardize the harvest of the farm.
With the introduction of these new technologies, the client was able to;
- Bring down the early stage mortality of fish
- Reduce the amount of fish food wasted
- Improve the grading process
- Improve total fish harvest
By 2050, there needs to be a 60% increase in food production to meet the rising demands of the world’s growing population. Innovation and reduced wastage in the agriculture sector are key to being prepared for this eventuality. Digital technologies that fuse sensors & mobile and web technologies will help us improve farming techniques and increase productivity.
With digital technology complimenting the latest biotech farming techniques, providing healthy, safe nutritious food for our future generations becomes an achievable reality.