Earth Day: How to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Agriculture with 5 Simple Actions
Today, April 22nd 2022, Earth Day is celebrated worldwide. This annual event was established to raise awareness on the protection of the environment and the need to keep human activities in balance with the planet’s ecosystems.
What can agriculture do? 5 simple actions to take today, through xFarm technologies.
According to the report on climate change mitigation recently published by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the agro-forestry sector (AFOLU: Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use) is responsible for about a quarter of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, largely represented by carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). At the same time, the sector is highly vulnerable to climate change, mainly due to the extreme events that are hitting our farmland harder and harder.
Decreasing the environmental impact and improving the resilience of the agricultural sector must become one of the primary objectives of institutions, supply chains and farms. Technology, digitization and data enhancement will represent increasingly strategic assets.
In this article, we present some best practices to be adopted to reduce the environmental impact of agricultural activities through xFarm technologies.
1. Use Plant Protection Products Wisely
A conscious and targeted use of plant protection products starts with a careful application of Integrated Pest Management principles. Through data collected by leaf humidity sensors and traps for the automatic monitoring of insects installed in the field, it is possible to obtain warnings and plant protection advice based on the specific risks for each farm, preventing the appearance of plant diseases and parasites. By doing so, resources and inputs are saved, while production and the environment are protected.
2. Understand Your Emissions through Data Collection
Collecting data on the environmental impact of your production is the starting point to calculate your emissions. The xFarm Sustainability module, based on primary data entered directly by farmers, calculates the value of four environmental indicators: carbon footprint, eutrophication, acidification and water footprint. In this way, a snapshot of the impact generated by the farm can then be used by farmers, but even more by supply chains, to have a precise and detailed understanding of their emissions, so as to implement the most appropriate mitigation strategies.
3. Irrigate Efficiently
Water is becoming more and more precious. Several areas are affected by long dry spells. The use of precision irrigation systems, coupled with DSS, allows you to significantly reduce your water footprint. The xFarm Irrigation module uses data from sensors in the field to check the water status of the soil, calculate irrigation needs and recommend irrigation strategies, thus avoiding crops from experiencing water stress and at the same time minimizing water waste.
4. Optimize Fertilization
In addition to being an important cost factor, poorly efficient application of fertilizers also has a substantial environmental impact. A tool that helps reduce fertilizer use is variable rate application. This technology uses prescription maps to distribute different doses of fertilizer within a plot, maximizing the fertility of the soil. With the xFarm Satellite module you can create prescription maps starting from vegetative indices, while with the Map Analysis module you can load and view maps of all kinds in one place and archive them in an orderly manner.
5. Keep On Training and Innovating
The theme of Earth Day 2022 is “Invest in Our Planet”. For the agricultural sector to become more sustainable, it is pivotal to invest in technological innovation and training for all the operators involved.
Through xFarm Academy, xFarm aims to spread knowledge and awareness about the tools of agriculture 4.0 among professionals involved in the agri-food sector. Participating in our Academy lessons can be a first, important step towards the commitment to your farm’s sustainability.
The path towards increased sustainability in agriculture is complex and full of challenges. For this reason, xFarm accompanies its partners through a guided path, made of constant training: for virtuous agriculture, trained professionals are required to make the most out of the opportunities offered by digital technologies.