That was the message on Monday, as (mostly white) activists carried crosses and blocked roads to demand better protection for South Africa's farms, after they were targeted in a spate of murders. The South African Police Service has argued that the majority of attackers are motivated purely by a desire to rob farmers, but the country's Institute of Race Relations has warned there may be a racial element to some of the attacks. There's a sense in some quarters that white farmers are being targeted in particular. Many have claimed in recent weeks that South Africa's farmers are more likely to be murdered than the average South African. Neither of the claims above is supported by reliable data.
Farms produce hundreds of thousands of data points on the ground daily. With the help of AI, farmers can now analyze a variety of things in real time such as weather conditions, temperature, water usage or soil conditions collected from their farm to better inform their decisions. For example, AI technologies help farmers optimize planning to generate more bountiful yields by determining crop choices, the best hybrid seed choices and resource utilization. AI systems are also helping to improve harvest quality and accuracy -- what is known as precision agriculture. Precision agriculture uses AI technology to aid in detecting diseases in plants, pests, and poor plant nutrition on farms.
Farmers can analyze a variety of things with thousands of data points collected from their farms about the climate, temperature, and soil conditions. This can help them decide which types of seeds to use considering the soil conditions at the time. Farmers can precisely target the weeds with AI sensors and can apply the right amount of herbicides needed to treat the most diseased crops. This improves the overall quality of their crop. With substantial amounts of data now available, farmers are able to create seasonal models that highly predict agricultural accuracy and productivity.
As agriculture becomes more high tech, a growing number of farmers are using GPS-equipped machinery supported by platforms that collect data on plants, soil, and weather. Termed "precision agriculture," these technologies help them identify and manage variability within fields. New technologies allow farmers to harness data in order to increase their land's productivity. Most begin the cycle by collecting information about their crop yields. GPS-equipped combines, used for harvesting crops, are outfitted with yield monitors that collect geo-referenced data, revealing variations within each field.