Innovations: Precision farming

New innovations in the agricultural industry are being introduced to agrarians in Kazakhstan. Innovative technologies of digital farming are one of the new methods that efficiently increase the crop yield and reduce costs. Farmers in Akmola and Kostanay regions are actively using the high technology system of precision farming. The crop fields in these regions have an area of over 13,000 hectares. 

Farmers are using high technological devices for their agricultural work. One of the devices that are used is drones. The drones are used to monitor crops, gather information about the conditions of soil as well as detect pests. The digital map of the farm area, on the other hand, would help the farmers to identify the areas that are damaged by weeds and pests and spray herbicides only in these areas.

KENZHE ABDULLAYEV, DIRECTOR GENERAL, GRAIN FARM’S RESEARCH CENTER:

 - Previously, we used herbicides worth 100,000-120,000 Tenge for 3,000 hectares of land, but currently, thanks to the digital technologies, our costs will drop by 50 per cent. I think that herbicides will cost us about 60,000 Tenge this year. We receive data by the satellite and determine what particular areas should be sprayed with fertilizers.

Engineers and agronomists monitor the conditions and development of the fields from the single project management center. Farming machinery is equipped with the latest GPS devices in order to reduce technical errors and human involvement. Moreover, the intelligent system also helps to get rid of weed and pests at minimum costs. Digital farming is the agriculture of the 21st century that allows the effective and sustainable management of the crops.

MURAT BALTABAYEV, SENIOR STAFF, GRAIN FARM’S RESEARCH CENTER:

- We are currently looking at the conditions of the 39th field. The areas with low nitrogen concentration are colored with brown and areas with medium nitrogen concentration are colored with yellow. For example, during fertilization treatment, the system shows the machines’ pathways, their speed, for example, 8 kilometers per hour, and we can see on the map that this area is not treated.

Precision farming will allow the cost reduction of the grains while doubling the crop yield. The export potential will also increase. The Kazakh Government allocated an additional 10 billion Tenge for the development of agrarian science industry in Kazakhstan. The agrarian experts plan to spend part of the funds on new equipment and attract experienced scientists from foreign countries.