Author: Mr. Guy Sela, CEO of SMART! Fertilizer Management software and an international expert in plant nutrition and irrigation.
The rapid growth rate of world’s population is a tremendous challenge for humanity. The biggest of all is how to sustainably feed the world. In order to meet this challenge, the way we do agriculture must change substantially. FAO has estimated that agricultural production will have to increase by around 60 percent by 2050 to feed the planet.
Farmers have to deal with many uncertainties and risks on a daily basis and have to take significant decisions every single day. Weather changes, input prices, incidence of pests and disease, equipment failures, fluctuations in market prices etc. are all risk factors.
Most of the time, farmers cannot accurately predict what impact their decisions will have on the resulting crop yields.
In order to minimize the risk, farmers must efficiently control management practices that are in their hands. Better-informed decisions depend on accurate data analysis.
Precise use of fertilizers contributes to the increase in crop yields more than any other technique.
To maximize crop yields and prevent nutrient losses to soil, water and air, fertilizers must be applied more efficiently.
Because of the complexity of finding the "optimal fertilization range", misuse of fertilizers is a global phenomenon. The majority of farmers still rely on trial and error, guesswork and estimation. The result is crops that do not meet their yield potential, and increased environmental pollution.
Knowing the exact fertilizer rate is a science and requires a thorough analysis of multiple factors. Often, hundreds of dynamic parameters have to be considered. Such parameters include crop nutrient uptake rates, research data, soil chemical, physical and biological properties, weather, water composition, soil testing methods, irrigation techniques, fertilizer characteristics, interactions between fertilizers and more.
Processing the large, dynamic data sets to continuously return sustainable fertilizer recommendations, requires skills, vast knowledge and access to agricultural research and databases. Evidently, without precision Ag technologies, this is an impossible task.
In addition, research results and scientific publications are not readily available to farmers. When they are available, data is often difficult to read, partial (for instance, refers to only one nutrient), or does not fit the farmer’s specific field conditions.
Often, research data is not consistent and data obtained from one research is different than data obtained from another. An enormous amount of research results and data has to be compared and analyzed in order to obtain a reliable knowledgebase.
Big data analytics of research results, actual and historical field data and continuously updated knowledgebase, revolutionizes the way farmers make daily decisions.
In contrast to most other tools in agriculture software algorithms and data analytics do not require any hardware installation. Ideally, software solution should be easy integrated with any external source of data, such as sensors, drones and machinery.
Today, farmers should be able to have direct access to cloud-based decision making tools, that translate huge amounts of data and analytics into best practices and actionable information.
SMART! is the first company that brings science and precision to fertilizer management, and wraps it up in an easy to use platform.
Fertilizer optimization, based on big data analytics, help farmers to maximize crop yields in the most efficient and economical way. The farmer gets access to an easy-to-use interface that eliminates the guesswork and minimizes the uncertainties involved in making fertilizer management decisions. The software also provides projections, alerts and reports. It works on any device, such as lap tops, smart phones and tablets. It is designed to help farmers to sustainably increase crop yields, save money and time, and take the right decision time after time.