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Whether it’s determining the best solutions for solving the challenges our growers face in their fields to identifying new produce trends their customers will shift towards, we are always looking for new forms of agricultural innovation here at Seminis®. Over the course of an interview with Kevin Walsh, Global Vegetable Technology Developer, we captured a glimpse of what agricultural innovations growers are utilizing today and what innovations in agriculture we may see in the fields in the very near future.
What agricultural innovations are you seeing used most often in the field at this present time?
A lot of the innovations are around labor saving, packaging options giving farmers unique points of difference in the market place, making them more competitive in a very fast moving and aggressive cost driven market.
Technology is moving fast and automation is a critical factor of success. The robotic industry is being seen more and more as playing a role in today’s market from factories to field operations. Farmers are trying to automate parts of their operations with machinery as a result of high pressure on labor availability and government requirements and we are starting to change the way we develop varieties to meet this demand. Factories are being more efficient with packing machines and factory operations of fork lifts.
Where do you see agricultural technology going in the next 10 years?
The rate at which agricultural technology is developing is increasing and the cost of this technology also has decreased making it more and more interesting for farmers to develop their own systems. I think field scouting drones will be here within next few years. Drones may be able to help farmers to optimize the use of inputs (seed, fertilizers, water), to react more quickly to threats (weeds, pests, fungi), to save time crop scouting (validate treatment/actions taken) and estimate yield from a field. Raw data collected by drones gets translated into useful and comprehensible information for farmers thanks to specific algorithms. Some of the information these images could provide is:
What is the future of agricultural innovation and technology? How do you define it? How do your growers define it?
The investment in technology will continue, being more sustainable and efficient is critical to the industry. With changing climates and high pressure on prices, the need to innovate is a critical factor of success. Innovation comes in many forms: product, growing, packaging the demand for better tasting crops, following the trends and being at the forefront.
What are the challenges or obstacles currently in the way of the process of adapting to and adopting innovation for growers? Is there anything that is favoring or hindering this process?
Cost is always the first factor in return on investment and how farmers validate the benefits of using new technology. The topline profit is always a major decision point. A lot of customers focus on long-term investment when adopting new innovation or changing practices.
Seminis® strives to be a solutions-provider for our growers by investigating and understanding these new agricultural innovations. Through understanding how these new innovations are being utilized to address obstacles in the field we are able to develop solutions to solve these challenges through connecting to our general breeding goals and focus of high uniformity and developing crops which are adaptable to harvesting and growing operations. By identifying new ways to solve challenges seen by the current generation of growers we can help the following generations be better than the last.
What agricultural innovations do you see being now in the field or being needed in the near future? Tweet and share your thoughts with us @SeminisSeeds.
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