Reducing costs, increasing efficiency are the main vectors for the development of a modern agricultural enterprise of any level and profile. To achieve the desired qualitative changes in the operation of the economy, according to experts, today it is possible through the introduction of digital processes and technologies. Although this path is not yet easy and fast.
AT THE START
According to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, in 2018 in Russia, using digital technologies, only 10% of arable land was processed. At the same time, according to the supervision of specialists of the company Agri 2.0. Precision farming ”, which has been operating on the market of innovative agricultural solutions for nine years, there are practically no large agricultural enterprises left in Russia that have not used at least one digital tool.
“We started introducing certain elements of precision farming four years ago,” says Alexander Nemirov, head of CJSC “Potato”, the largest potato production enterprise in the Kurgan region. - Experienced the capabilities of the parallel driving system. We are gradually mastering other tools, since today it is difficult to achieve production efficiency without them. Digitalization is no longer the future, it is the present of agriculture. "
Many agree with this opinion. More and more agricultural producers use GPS navigation systems, rely on data received from space satellites and drones, and purchase their own weather stations. Nevertheless, it is premature to talk about a large-scale ubiquitous spread of new technologies. “The percentage of those using the achievements of digitalization is growing every year,” experts from “Agri 2.0. Precision farming ". “But there are only a few enterprises that have introduced precision farming systems at all stages of production.”
“We are just starting to work in this direction,” says Evgeny Tsirulev, head of the Tsirulev farm, a farm recognized as one of the most high-tech in the Samara region, a pilot region of the Digital Agriculture program of the Ministry of Agriculture. This year, the company continues to master digital technologies, introducing a system of differentiated fertilization.
However, according to market analysts, the digital revolution in agriculture is just around the corner, and one of its landmark events will be entering the fields of unmanned vehicles. These machines are designed to solve the problem of labor shortages in rural areas, relevant for many countries of the world.
For several years, several large manufacturers in the USA, the Netherlands, Japan, and India have been testing models of unmanned tractors and combines for several years. Japanese engineers demonstrated the result of their work on May 12 this year, at a meeting of the G20 countries (GXNUMX). The tractor, equipped with an automatic control system, made several circles in the field, independently chose a route, worked the land efficiently and stopped, having encountered an obstacle on the way.
Russia can also be proud of its achievements in the field of robotics. In the Ryazan region, on the basis of a local agricultural holding, field tests of the Agrobot drone tractor of the domestic startup Avrora Robotics are undergoing field tests. In the Kurgan and Tomsk regions this year, unmanned combine harvesters of the joint development of the domestic company Cognitive Technologies and the Rostselmash plant will participate in cleaning.
Nevertheless, unmanned tractors and combines both in the world and in Russia still exist in the form of concepts.
This is not surprising: many of the shortcomings of complex technology are not immediately apparent, and eliminating defects requires time.
Although delays in the launch of production models are caused by other reasons. RBC cites some of them, quoting the general director of Kirovsky Zavod Georgy Semenenko: “Technologically, our machines are completely ready. This is not a technology issue, it is rather a psychological and administrative one, since the client must conduct certain training at himself, map his fields, carry out certain technological work with his fields in order to start an autonomous driving system. Plus regulatory things related to legislation (who will be responsible in the event of an accident), etc. These issues are not unique to Russia, they are now being resolved all over the world. ”
It is hard to say how much time will pass before the moment when the unmanned equipment enters commercial operation. A number of Russian experts are pessimistic, indicating that it is impossible to work on domestic fields that are distinguished by complex terrain and constantly encountering obstacles. Although there are other opinions. According to the forecasts of the National Association of Robotics Market Participants, by 2024, almost half of sales in the global tractor market will come from drones (and the market for this equipment will amount to $ 30,7 billion).
WHAT DOES NOT DIGITIZE?
The main problem preventing the rapid spread of new tools, agricultural producers call the need for large investments. Even agricultural holdings prefer to introduce innovations in stages, gradually assessing the effectiveness of each step, distributing the financial burden and avoiding additional loans; for small enterprises, achievements in the field of digitalization are still unavailable.
A significant part of agricultural enterprises (according to surveys - about 54%) are ready to implement digital technologies only on co-financing terms, agricultural producers are counting on government support (initially, 16,1 billion rubles were allocated for the implementation of the Digital Agriculture project).
In some cases, Russian legislation also complicates the process of introducing innovations. It is very harsh, for example, towards the owners of drones - unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which are used to monitor fields or treat plantings with plant protection products. According to the law, BVS weighing more than 250 grams are subject to mandatory registration (however, the procedure for registering them has not yet been developed).
More serious air assets (with a maximum take-off mass of more than 30 kilograms) are subject to the registration procedure established by the Administrative Regulations of the Federal Air Transport Agency.
But registration itself is not enough. Drones can be launched into the sky legally only after obtaining permission to fly. In some regions, it is necessary to apply to local authorities for this.
All this takes time and effort, and the result is not always tantamount to investment. It's all about the third problem - an acute shortage of qualified personnel with knowledge in the fields of IT and agronomy, and able, in particular, to competently decipher and use the data obtained from the drone in their work. Or properly calibrate and check the sensors installed on the tractor, sprayer, or combine.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, about 113 thousand people are currently working in IT agribusiness, at least 90 thousand are needed. Although it is possible that the introduction of new technologies (and a high level of salaries) will attract thinking young people to the village. Many farms are counting on this very much.
Listing the difficulties, one cannot but admit that there are still territories in Russia where the introduction of precision farming technologies is simply impossible: there is not only high-speed Internet, but also mobile communications. Among the most problematic are Chukotka, the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, part of the Far East, and the Magadan Region. But similar difficulties are experienced by residents of districts of Central Russia, the Volga region, the Urals and Siberia, remote from large cities. It is clearly premature to talk about the digital present here.
According to experts of the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia, the introduction of digital-solutions in the coming years will seriously affect the development of agriculture in the country: it will provide a technological breakthrough that will lead to increased productivity and increased profitability of agricultural enterprises.
And the agency will actively contribute to this. Until 2024, the Ministry plans to create a single federal system with information on agricultural land and the Central Information and Analytical System of Agriculture, integrated with Rosstat and the Federal Customs Service. In these systems information will be combined both on land used by farmers and on other indicators of farms.
Also among the priority tasks of the Ministry of Agriculture is the launch of the "Land of Knowledge" direction - the first sectoral electronic educational system, according to which 2021 thousand agricultural specialists must undergo training in the competencies of the digital economy by 55; introduction of a system of smart contracts (thanks to which agricultural producers will be able to draw up documents for obtaining agricultural subsidies and soft loans through their personal account on the website). Other ambitious projects are next in line.
One way or another, digitalization will affect the life of every enterprise. Today you need to be prepared for this.