A horse-drawn planter stands in front of my workplace. I inherited it from a ranch I bought, where it has been since the day it was last used over a century ago. If all went well, you could plant four to five acres in a single day, from sunrise to sunset. Multi-row planters can now cover up to 1,500 acres each day.
As a farmer, farmland owner and CEO of a farmland investment platform (New Technologies In Agriculture), I see farmland as an asset in terms of history and potential. How has it been done so far and what’s next?
The way we farm has changed dramatically over the past century. The transition from horse-drawn ploughs, hand-sewn seeds, and gruelling crops was made possible by advances in mechanical engineering. Tractors and mechanized equipment supplanted manual procedures and horses in the 1940s. Farmers who previously could only manage a dozen acres now have the potential to manage hundreds of acres. Farmers now have access to such an important and innovative tool as technology at the dawn of the new millennium.
Crops become more profitable and agricultural land gains in value thanks to innovative technologies (New Technologies In Agriculture)
The need for more land for food production in order to feed a growing population is undoubtedly one of the main factors driving up prices on farms. The cost of farming, on the other hand, increases as each acre becomes more profitable. Everything from soil analysis to planting to irrigation has become dramatically more efficient thanks to smart farming approaches that use technology.
Crops have the capacity to acquire value through agricultural technology. Labour costs, for example, could vary from 25 to 75% of the value of a crop. When it comes to reducing losses, tough decisions have to be made from time to time. Fresh fruit, for example, is often left on the tree when the prices are below the cost of harvesting. An alternative is to use fruit-picking robots. In some cases, autonomous tractors have already managed to save up to 80% on labour.
Farmers can now do less physical labour, and often even less expensive while seeing higher crop yields at the end of the year, thanks to technological advances. An acre that originally produced 125 bushels of corn, for example, can be engineered, watered and fertilized to produce 150 bushels or more now. Producing everything from animals to vegetables has become a data-driven scientific process with significant improvements.
The size of farms and the value of agricultural land are changing
Farms change in size and value. As the number of farms declined between 2018 and 2019, the average farm size increased, according to the USDA 2019 Farms and Land in Farms report. farmland was managed directly by farmers with sales of $ 500,000 or more.
The average real estate value per acre of farmland in the United States increased from $ 1,830 to $ 3,160 between 2006 and 2020. I’ve seen prices for irrigated farmland range from $ 20,000 to $ 40,000 an acre in California, which produces at least one-third of America’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts.
One cause of these changes, I believe, may be related to technological advances. With the right technology, land that was previously considered “undesirable” or difficult to cultivate can now be converted into a healthy and functioning farm. the availability of land, on the other hand, is undoubtedly a factor contributing to the increase in value and price. In reaction to Covid19, I have seen interest in buying land grow, which has a current impact on values.
Soil Quality Monitoring Technology: For over 20 years, we have used crop mapping and variable rate treatments to improve our soils and make our fields more homogeneous.
With the new soil monitoring technology available, soil sampling can be automated. The machines used for soil sampling are guided by GPS, can be programmed to take samples at specific intervals, and can collect data during harvest for later recovery and analysis.
• Robots and Automated Farm Machines: Although farmers have used GPS technology for years for everything from mapping fields to farm planning, some of the newer tractors can operate completely autonomously. Working hours are drastically reduced, fields are maintained faster and more efficiently, and the profit margin may increase as a result of this change.
New agricultural technologies mean a double victory for farmers
As the world beyond cattle ranching and row crops witnesses how technology is advancing things like the way we entertain ourselves, the agriculture industry sees a completely different side to the progress. These tools simplify farming processes so that successful farming is not just about time and hard work, but also data-driven analysis and action.
As farmers and land investors use available technologies, they can achieve higher returns on investment with fewer inputs as the value of their farms reaches unprecedented heights. As agricultural technology matures and more and more old-school farmers adapt, the agricultural industry and the lands occupied by farms are set to become even more valuable.