It's that time of the year again – the time when we reflect on the past year and prepare for what’s on the horizon. As we enter 2023, there is no doubt that uncertainty is on the minds of many, particularly in the agriculture industry. Farmers continue to face various challenges, from volatile weather and market conditions to changing consumer preferences and supply chain disruptions.
But despite these challenges, there is also a sense of optimism and opportunity in the air. Many farmers are turning to new precision agriculture technology and processes to help them navigate uncertainty and adapt to the changing landscape. These technologies also assist farmers in increasing efficiency, reducing waste, and improving their crops' quality and sustainability.
To better understand what stood out for precision agriculture in 2022 and to find out what trends we should be watching for in 2023, we interviewed three Trimble leaders:
Dave Barton – Regional Sales Engineer Team Manager, North America
Adam Wall – Sales Director, Australia-Pacific (APAC)
Jesse Chisolm – Sales Director, North America
All three work with farmers to design technology solutions that fit each operation. Continue reading to learn more about their reflections and predictions for the future!
Reflecting on 2022 – Sustainability, connectivity, and automation
When asked, “What are the most significant precision agriculture trends you’ve seen in 2022?”, our experts all felt that while the technology conversation may have focused on hardware in the past, farmers were thinking bigger this year.
From Jesse’s perspective, sustainability has been top-of-mind for many growers – yes, environmentally, but even more so financially.
“Inflation and rising input costs have really been unprecedented, on everything from seed to fertilizer to fuel. And we're not talking about incremental increases over a couple of years – farmers all around the world have been dealing with double- and triple-digit inflation on some of these things.”
To help manage that economic fluidity, Jesse saw more farmers leaning on technology – both emerging solutions and leveraging economies of scale with legacy options – to help them manage costs and find savings wherever possible.
Dave noticed there was one topic that, while not necessarily new, became more critical in 2022: connectivity.
“Connectivity has been at the forefront of farmers' minds this year. There’s a benefit to the connected ecosystem. Farmers want real-time data to make real-time decisions.”
He described the importance of having a network of agriculture devices with sensors and other technologies that connect them to the internet and allow for data exchange. This is often referred to as Agriculture Internet of Things (IoT), and an example of this is how in-cab displays collect and share data with desktop and mobile devices via tools like Precision-IQ, AutoSync and the latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology. IoT helps support increased productivity and sustainable farming practices – evident by the fact that the Agriculture IoT market is expected to reach $22.6 billion by 2028.
And, for Adam, automation was something that was on the minds of many farmers in 2022.
”Automation of basic farming tasks is a point of significant interest for farmers. This demand has escalated due to substantial labor uncertainties in some areas of the world.”
This is one of the reasons Trimble is actively engaged in further integrating machine autonomy into operational workflows. For example, in early 2021, we announced a partnership with HORSCH that expands our focus from field-based autonomous equipment to fully automated systems, from office to field. And we’re only just getting started!
What to watch for in 2023
After looking back on the last 12 months, we pivoted to an outlook on the future. We asked our precision agriculture leaders, “What trends are you looking forward to in 2023?”
Dave recognized that uncertainty will likely continue into the upcoming year, so he sees efficiency and return on investment as something growers will prioritize.
“I think farmers are going to be pretty cautious about how they spend money. They'll spend money where they need to, but they won't spend more than that, and anything they do purchase needs to be worth it.”
Adam agreed with this prediction, adding that technologies that have been available before now will become even more important as a way to manage expenses.
“For example, spot spraying technology advancements allow growers more control over crop and fallow spraying applications, helping reduce input costs by optimizing chemical efficiency in an environmentally responsible manner,” he explained. “Due to the dramatically increasing cost of inputs, namely fertilizer, I see a real trend to use software applications to optimize fertilizer placement and then apply. Parts of this process are not new but more applicable than ever before.”
And for Jesse, 2023 will be all about simplifying workflows. From even greater connectivity to artificial intelligence (AI) to increased precision right out of the box, he is excited about how technology will continue to make decision-making easier for farmers worldwide.
“I think there will be a whole host of technologies that 2023 will bestow upon us that can tie things together for the grower and take advantage of all of these connected devices, from the field to the office and beyond.”
There is a lot to be excited about
Overall, the agriculture industry is poised for exciting developments in the coming year. As farmers adopt new technology and processes, we can expect to see more efficient, sustainable and resilient farming practices that will help feed the growing global population.
In 2023 and beyond, Trimble will be your partner for optimizing, automating and connecting your operation to address important trends in the agriculture industry. Our precision solutions and support can help you get the most out of your equipment and processes. Connect with your local Trimble reseller today to enhance your equipment with precision agriculture tools.