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 Food and Farming
Connected Agriculture
Text MARC WINKELMANN / Illustration VEIT LARISCH
No vegetables without data: a wide range of digital assistants will be used to produce food in the future. They will optimize yields, facilitate fresh regional products, and help protect the environment.
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Porsche Consulting The Magazine
Autonomous fieldwork
Lightweight, unmanned robots take the place of heavy machinery to harvest crops day and night. They sow, irrigate, and apply precisely the requisite amounts
of crop protection agents and fertilizer. They take soil samples, monitor pH and nitrate levels, pull weeds, and pick fruit. Cameras and sensors also record growth— while computers process the data that the robots exchange and send them to farmers’ apps.
Aerial surveillance
Farmers are looking upwards to find­out­more­about­their­fields.­ Satellites, drones, and cameras supply data needed to analyze not only soil properties but also— with the help of biomass—the nutrient and water needs of their plants. These systems help them determine which crops to plant where and when, how much fertilizer and water to use in different­locations,­and­the­ideal­ times for harvesting—which may­vary­within­a­single­field.­
 Transparent supply chains
What is the story behind a banana? Where did it come from, and who stored it where and for how long? In the future, questions like these will no longer be a black box. Blockchains compile all information about planting, cultivating, feeding, shelf lives, and maintaining cooling chains. They provide everyone, including end customers, with non-­falsifiable­digital­records.­
Food quality­increases,­and­con- taminated goods no longer end up on someone’s plate.
 Full control
Digital end devices are used to control food production remotely. People use smartphone apps to monitor their home gardens or check shelf lives in grocery stores. Farmers, however, need to acquire additional technical skills and combine weather or satellite data with the performance­data­from­their­fields.­Yet­that­ enables them to adapt production more pre- cisely to market demand, protect the climate more­effectively,­and­lease­machinery­from­ manufacturers based on volume and need.
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