Do Cows Dream Of Robot Milkers? The Unintended Consequences Of Smart Farming

The debate around the future of agriculture mainly revolves around the use of technology to improve productivity and yields, and is sometimes shrouded in triumphalist rhetoric.

Smart farming will solve the problem of feeding the planet in the future, it’s often claimed, providing an answer to the global population’s growth; with data-based decision making replacing farmers’ intuition, unprecedented prosperity will ensue.


If you are considering selling or buying a late-model, high-horsepower, front-wheel-drive (FWD) tractor, then the marketplace is in a good news/mixed news state of affairs of late.

The good news: Values of high-horsepower FWDs (250 to 400 hp.) are up from the last couple of years. Dealers have sold off the massive tractor inventories that filled their lots since 2014. This, in turn, is pushing up asking prices (5% to 15% overall compared with 2017 and 2018) for high-horsepower machines, which means your trade-in tractor is worth more.

Topcon Agriculture NORAC Tillage Depth Control (TDC) System

Topcon’s NORAC Tillage Depth Control (TDC) System utilizes ultrasonic sensors to automatically compensate for differing soil types and terrains, while maintaining the correct implement depth. NORAC TDC is designed to turn tillage into a high-tech operation, regardless of tractor type. It is designed as a “set it and forget it” system that will automatically hit the correct cutting depth in all conditions and terrains. In addition, operators can expect more accuracy than competitive systems, due to the patented technology powering the NORAC ultrasonic sensors.

Need to overcome difficulties of data shortage in food, agriculture sectors: K Chandrashekhar Rao India

Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao asserted that there is a need to overcome the difficulties arising out of non-availability of appropriate statistical data pertaining to food and agriculture sectors. “Greater results can be achieved if a farmer is brought into organised sector. The state needs to be divided into crop colonies. Crores of people are dependent on agriculture and horticulture in the state and hence these two departments should work to fulfill their needs and aspiration,” KCR said in a statement.

Agriculture, rural development to be focus areas: CM

Chief Minister Raghubar Das on Tuesday said agriculture and rural development will be focus areas for the Government in the year 2019. He said the New Year will witness the emergence of a new Jharkhand. He shared
Extending his warm wishes for the New Year, Das in his press meet organised at Sidhgora Sone Mandap said the New Year will growth in various sectors including health, education, infrastructure development, agriculture, rural development, social welfare, power and traffic policing. He also sought suggestions for development of all sectors and improvement in schemes.

Mahindra tractor sales down 6% in December

Mahindra and Mahindra’s biggest cash cow, the farm equipment unit, saw a 6% decline in December as end of year sales failed to meet expectations. Domestic sales in December 2018 were at 16,510 units, as against 16,855 units during December 2017, seeing a two per cent drop.

Exports were hit harder with a 45 per cent drop in sales as the company was able to sell only 894 units of tractors as against 1633 sold in December 2017. Total tractor sales (domestic + exports) during December 2018 were at 17,404 units, as against 18,488 units for the same period last year.

Trends in agriculture in 2019

Price Control: The fluctuating prices for key crops such as tomato, potato and onion (TOP) has resulted in the government announcing ₹500 crores for initiating Operation Green. It aims to stabilise the demand- supply situation for these crops and promote initiatives to control disparity. The situation requires fundamental changes beginning from crop variety selection (table variety v/s processing varieties), procurement mechanism, post-harvest handling and storage, processing of produce, market development, logistics services and distribution However, it remains to be seen how it will impact an average farmer. Take the example of tomato, India produces around 19 million tonnes of tomato every year. Leading producing states like Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh which contribute to around 30% of the total production of India should innovate on implementation of these solutions. Another important aspect which needs to be considered is the development of large scale infrastructure to support the mass storage and movement of perishable items. Currently the cold chain network is highly disaggregated and operates on thin margins. Technology innovation for implementing low cost and durable multimodal solutions is one of the key challenges here.

Q/A: Transforming agriculture with tech scale-up

The African Development Bank aims to close the technology delivery gap in agriculture through its flagship programme called Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT).

In an exclusive interview with SciDev.Net this month (2 December), Jennifer Blanke, vice-president of the African Development Bank, talked on TAAT and ways to transform African agriculture.