A Tale Of Two Industries And Fujitsu’s ‘Connected Cow’

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We all know that tech talent is becoming crucial for business, but research has revealed that the want for this expertise is starting to crop up in the least likely of places; the farm. James Maynard of Fujitsu, comments on the news and tells us about Fujitu’s ‘Connected Cow.’

New research has revealed that now even farmers are finding technology increasingly fundamental, with 61% saying they believe technology will have an impact on their business over the next five years.

Three quarters said they would need more access to digital and technology skills and more than half to data and coding knowledge, a survey by McDonald’s of UK farmers found.

According to the fast food firm’s first Farm Forward Barometer, some 81% said access to the right skills is their top priority over the coming 12 months, while 86% said talent is crucial to competing in the £100bn a year UK farming industry.

“The farming industry is currently facing some big challenges but it’s encouraging to see that, despite this, farmers are being front-footed in their investment in technology and skills to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of producing great quality produce,” comments Connor McVeigh, supply chain director at McDonald’s UK, which is expanding its young farmer training programme.

“As one of the biggest customers of British farming, we want to help the industry meet these challenges head on and thrive in future,” he adds.

Technology currently being used by farmers across the UK includes satellite mapping, GPS controlled machinery, predictive analytics, drones and robotics.

“We’re using drones and GPS guidance to improve the timing and accuracy when we apply fertiliser to our crops. This increases yields, reduces waste and keeps both our carbon and water footprint at optimal levels for efficient food production,” says Andrew Francis of Elveden Farm Estate, which supplies potatoes to McDonald’s.

“Technology skills are increasingly important as more of our monitoring, application machinery and grading equipment is digitally operated. We see the best results when we have people in place who understand technology and how to apply it.”

Unsurprisingly, Fujitsu are all for this unlikely merging of industries. James Maynard, Fujitsu’s offering management director comments on the news: “This recent survey has shown that farming is increasingly attracting expertise from beyond the traditional farming industry. Access to digital and technology skills has the potential to revolutionise the way we approach agriculture and ensure high quality and reduced overhead costs.”

“While farming and high-end technology are sometimes not associated with one another, it is encouraging to see the industry adopt new technologies to become an integrated part of their day-to-day activities.”

“At Fujitsu, we believe technology has a vital role to play in creating sustainable food supplies for the future, and when it comes to supporting livestock farmers, Fujitsu has developed a ‘Connected Cow’. The technology predicts oestrus in cattle by monitoring step count data using an algorithm that detects indicative behavioural changes, such as a steep increase in movement. It has been shown that improving the detection oestrus in dairy cows by 10% above the national average can improve profitability by 0.97p /litre.

“British farming is facing a number of challenges; understanding how technology can be applied to empower farmers to achieve better results is a vital step towards ensuring UK farming thrives.”

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