Agriculture is an essential industry that produces food as well as other natural resources used in a variety of applications. The equipment and supplies that have been used in the past were not always efficient or cost-effective. Fortunately, new technologies are available that reduce costs and make fields more efficient. It is now possible to save money by using some modern agricultural solutions.
Water usage in agriculture is both an economic concern as well as an environmental issue. Many of the large industrial systems that are used to irrigate fields are very wasteful and send water into the air and onto plants that do not need the moisture. Drip irrigation systems are addressing this problem. A drip irrigation system relies on lines that run through rows along the center of the plants or on the surface of the ground. Some advanced designs use subsurface lines. The system uses the smallest amount of water possible to produce vigorous crops. The water is delivered directly to the root system and the lower leaves where it is absorbed most readily. This also helps to prevent problems such as burning and excessive moisture that can encourage the growth of bacteria, fungus and other diseases.
Metal Buildings & Sheds
Some money can be saved by using metal to build the sheds, storage houses and other structures that are necessary in modern agriculture. Many locations have used wood or other traditional materials. Metal buildings have several advantages over these materials. They are far more durable and will last for a much longer time. Damage to the metal walls or frame is easily repaired. The strength of the metal allows for the installation of heavy insulation or other industrial systems without worrying about the tolerances of the frame. Metal buildings are also less expensive to construct and can be installed very quickly.
Agricultural locations that deal with livestock like cattle can consider installing a methane digester. A methane digester contains anaerobic bacteria. Manure from cattle is fed into the digester. The bacteria break down the material and produce methane gas. This gas is then siphoned into an engine that is modified to use natural gas as fuel. The engine produces electricity that can be used to power other agricultural systems. The heat the engine generates is funneled back into the digester to keep it working efficiently. A methane digester can be used to lower the cost of energy. It could also become a source of revenue if the local power company is willing to buy the extra electricity produced by the digester.
Field Monitoring Systems
Field monitoring systems use the latest technology to make agriculture more efficient. A field monitoring system uses a network of dozens or hundreds of sensors placed throughout the fields. The sensors constantly monitor soil moisture, soil pH and several other conditions. The information is transmitted back to a central station where it can be viewed and analyzed on a computer. The data provided shows which portions of the field require water, fertilizer or some other form of attention. The sensors can also show when there are problems with the infrastructure in the field. This saves money because only the portions of the field that need water or fertilizer will receive attention. This lowers the cost of supplies and utilities throughout the growing season.