History of Farming: Champagne, Jazz and the Farmall

History of Farming: Champagne, Jazz and the Farmall

Versatility

Innovation for the sake of innovation is not enough, whatever process or tools are used, they should be versatile. This is especially evident in farming. When optimisation and versatility meet, problems are not only solved but improve the work of millions of farmers across the world. Our first example of such an innovation takes us back to the 1830s. 

The Combine

Whether you call it the Combine Harvester-Thresher, Combine Harvester or simply Combine, its automation of several tedious processes makes it one of the best innovations in farming. But what exactly made it so special?

In the 1830s the Reaper was invented and helped automate harvesting, even for small grains which up until this time still had to be cut manually using a sickle. Yet onces the grain had been cut, farmers still needed to manually rake and bind the crop manually. This process was somewhat improved by 1857 with reapers that could pass the reaped crop to the back of the machine where the farmer sat and manually tied it into bundles. By 1881 a further step to automation was taken with the successful development of reapers that also could automatically tie the crop into bundles. 

Similarly and equally important as the reaping of the crop, is the threshing. Separating the kernels from the straws too was a manual process, and took a long time even when animals were used as help. Kernels were manually knocked from the straws, raked and sieved. After many improvements this entire process too was automated. Taking these two processes and combining them into one machine, gives us the modern Combine Harvester-Thresher and can still today be found virtually on all farms. 

The Farmall 

Welcome to the 1920 United States. Up until this time many important innovations have been made, such as the threshing machine. Yet in this new post war area, a new feat of engineering optimization takes the throne. 

The use of animals in agricultural production had been replaced by the first tractors some time back. This made work simpler and also allowed farmers to save a greater portion of their yield to be sold, which otherwise would have fed the horses who pulled the machinery. However, these tractors were bulky and heavy. As a result much of the work related to planting and cultivating row-crops was still done using horses. Tractor manufacturers had made attempts to produce tractors tailored for such work specifically. These were largely rejected by farmers. Paying big money for a tractor that serves a very limited use throughout the year was not an option for most farmers. Tractors need to be versatile. 

The International Harvester company set out to solve this problem, and introduced the so-called Farmall in 1924. As given by its name, this new tractor could be used for a large variety of tasks from planting row crops, plowing to pulling heavy machines such as harvesters. Being a true all-purpose tractor, it managed to replace horses all together while being sold at an affordable price. Soon other manufacturers began producing tractors with the same capability which became the new standards on farms. 

Versatility remains an important factor even on today’s farms and rightfully so. Farmers need accurate, reliable and fast services that help make their daily work easier at an affordable price. Thanks to modern technology, this has become possible. Instead of needing to invest in expensive equipment or lengthy and infrequent lab results, satellite data can combine everything farmers need to know in one app. The modern Combine doesn’t dwell in the fields, but scans them from above and delivers all data farmers need in real time, directly to one platform. 

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Vultus Enters the Ukranian Precision Farming Market

Vultus Enters the Ukranian Precision Farming Market

Vultus enters the Ukrainian precision farming market.

The founder and CEO of Vultus, Robert Schmitt, spoke about this in a comment for Latifundist.com (https://latifundist.com/novosti/53946-na-ukrainskij-rynok-tochnogo-zemledeliya-vyhodit-shvedskaya-kompaniya-vultus).

He noted that Vultus sees in Ukraine a significant potential for increasing production efficiency through precision farming tools.

“Ukraine is a large market, and we hope to become a leading player in precision farming services. We can really help Ukrainian farmers increase their yields and reduce costs through differentiated fertilization. Also, Vultus tools can significantly reduce the likelihood of crop loss due to undetected plant diseases or pests, “said Robert Schmitt.

Also, the company sees many opportunities to improve the performance of both the agricultural industry as a whole and an individual farmer.

“Our goal is to take a leading position in the agro-technological sector of the Ukrainian market. We are big agricultural enthusiasts, and we strongly believe in innovation, and therefore are interested in the widest possible dissemination of knowledge about precision farming and the use of satellite data analysis to build an agronomic strategy for the season,” commented Robert Schmitt.

We look forward to our work together and see beneficial prospects of optimization of everyday work for Ukranian farmers.

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History of Farming: Nitrogen Fertilizer Is Costly, But It’s Impact Priceless

History of Farming: Nitrogen Fertilizer Is Costly, But It’s Impact Priceless

More than 3.54 billion people worldwide today eat thanks to nitrogen fertilizers. Yet, it is something we take for granted. From manure to nutrient specific optimized applications, fertilization has come a long way. 

The History of Fertilization

Around 4,400 to 7,900 years ago farmers began to notice significant differences between the yield of their small fields. Crops grew much better in areas where now domesticated animals gathered. Soon the farmers understood that the animal’s dung was the determining factor behind larger yields and increased crop growth. They began to manually make use of the manure and spread it across their fields to receive better harvest results – and better results they received. Making use of animal dung became the new and a more reliable way for farmers across the globe to fertilize their plants. However, as we learned in the previous chapter, farmers are innovators. 

We fast forward to 18th century England where another source for fertilization was found. Mixing ground up animal bones into the soil was shown to improve yields. By 1815, the demand of animal bones as fertilizers became so big that England started to import bones from across Europe to meet their demands. Similarly in the United States, ground bison bones were a huge source for fertilizer. 

Yet, even though the advantages of fertilizers were clear to each farmer at the time, the exact reason for their success were generally unknown. The plants’ need for nutrition, the key compounds that lie behind their growth, were not well understood. By the 19th century, great progress was made and the needs of plants much better understood. Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) were identified to be key elements in the growth and development of plants. Still today, nitrogen fertilizers are the most commonly used and allow us to sustain over 48% of the world’s population.

From Air to Fertilizer

The arguably most important development within fertilization took place between 1909 and 1914. Chemist Fritz Haber invented a process by which ammonia is directly synthesised from nitrogen and hydrogen from the air. Continuing on his work Carl Bosh invented the required machinery to mass scale the process discovered by Harber. Together they enabled the most economical production of ammonia. This process also known as the Haber-Bosch process is still the main way in which we produce nitrogen fertilizer today and is directly responsible for sustaining 3.54 billion people today. For their immensely impactful work both Haber and Bosch received the Nobel prize in chemistry. 

Too Much of Something Good

The impact of nitrogen fertilizer on the human population is evident, yet its impact on our environment cannot go unnoticed. As agronomists and farmers noticed hundreds of years ago, knowing what you plants need has a direct impact on their wellbeing and yield. It is not enough to know what compounds they need, how much they need is equally important. More nitrogen fertilizer does not mean more growth. Too much becomes harmful for the crop. In cereal crops too much nitrogen can manifest itself as so-called lodging. Lodging causes the crops to lie down, which increases their moisture leading to their rotting. Lodging also makes it challenging for the harvester to reach the plant. The excess nitrogen that the crops are unable to take up leakes into the groundwater which becomes polluted and a harm to surrounding lakes ecosystems. Thanks to modern technological development, we can determine the exact amount of nitrogen each crop type and area of the field requires for optimal growth and yield.

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History of Farming: What Farming Was like 10 000 Years Ago

History of Farming: What Farming Was like 10 000 Years Ago

What makes a civilization last?

Adaptation. Farmers have always been innovators, and necessarily so. For our societies to grow and thrive, farming needs to adapt to change. In this blog series, we will give a glimpse into some of the most important creations up until today, that allows us to sustain a population of over 7.6 billion people.

The History of Farming

Let us start at the beginning. The time is 10.000 B.C.E, and we find ourselves in the so-called Fertile Crescent, stretching across today’s Middle East. Among the rich soil and marches that covered the area, one of the most important inventions that our modern society still depends on is made. It is during this Neolithic Period that humans transitioned from hunter-gatherers to becoming farmers. We began to domesticate plants.

Plant Domestication

What distinguishes ancient and modern crops?

Our modern crops would considerably stand out among the markets of ancient Persepolis, at first sight due to their size. Plant domestication first began to make harvesting easier. Taking the first wheat as an example, the ripe grains easily scatter with the wind and fall to the ground. This makes the harvest and collecting of grains a labor-intensive process. To make harvesting more manageable, we started to select wheat plants whose grains remain attached to the stem, even when ripe. 

Through this selective cultivation, our crops have grown larger and produce a steadily increasing harvest. This process of selecting plants with desirable traits allows us to raise such a significant quantity of food today. However, not only the size of the crops increased. Through the same selection process, we have produced crops with higher nutritional values than their historic wild counterparts. The wheat, corn, and rice we grow today can make up 40% of our daily calorie intake.

Irrigation Systems and The Plow

Plants need water and the right soil conditions to thrive. Once we had begun to cultivate plans, we started to optimize. Though the landscape of the Fertile Crescent has changed dramatically since the first humans settled there, the intense heat famous for the region today was already present then. To make the most of the land and growing season, around 5.000 B.C.E we began to make use of the natural flooding of floods and waterways to irrigate our crops. The most famous example of this is the Nile. With reliable annual flooding, the farmers of ancient Egypt build waterways to direct the overflowing water out to their fields. Without such an irrigation system, they would not have been able to grow and support the empire that Egypt was soon to become. 

Preparing the soil for a new harvest is a crucial step to ensure proper crop growth and a large harvest. The reason for this lies in the nutrition, and soil health that enables plants to grow. To bring new nutrient-rich soil to the surface for the new seeds to grow, the ancient Sumerians invented the plow. Though initially operated by humans, before it was attached to horses and cattle, it made the everyday fieldwork of farmers across the region much easier. 

Though the ancient Egyptians and Sumerians contributed with great inventions still used today, their once great empires are no longer around. This highlights the importance of adaptation. A rapidly changing climate has played a decisive role in the collapse of many once-great civilizations, including Egypt. The extreme droughts and changing of the previous reliable natural cycles (flooding of the Nile) made the once fertile land uninhabitable. Though the problems farmers around the world faced thousands of years ago may still be on our minds, today, we are equipped to handle them. We can adapt much faster and combat extreme weather conditions such as drought, thanks to modern technology enabling precision agriculture. 

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Partnership with Don State Technical University

Partnership with Don State Technical University

We are delighted to announce our partnership with Don State Technical University, based in Rostov-on-Don in Russia. The university is one of the leaders in innovations of the agricultural sector. They too believe precision farming tools as one of the key drivers to the effectiveness and sustainability of agricultural business today as well as the future.

Together we set out to develop an IT platform for Russian agricultural businesses that automates their production management and provides access to precision farming tools such as:

  • Soil fertility analysis based on soil organic carbon and field zoning
  • Soil productivity maps and yield forecasting based on historical field data analysis
  • Nitrogen prescriptions (crop specific)
  • Plant health monitoring (crop specific either)
  • Water Stress analysis and irrigation maps

We look forward to our work together and see beneficial prospects of optimization of everyday work for Russian farmers.

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Early Access

Early Access

We are constantly working on improvements for our products and services based on the feedback from our Clients & Partners and here we are proud to announce the v 3.0.0 release of VultusApp. We have carefully analyzed the user experience and functionality needs, therefore we present you the latest changes to the App:

Tutorial

We have replaced the tutorial walkthrough with specific help buttons throughout the interface. That way you can easily receive specific information about any section of the interface. This also means that the walkthrough button will no longer be available in the Account Menu tab.

New options

  1. We have added Water Stress and Zoning to the list of available services.
  2. Likewise, there is now an opportunity to ad what crop you grew in the previous years on the specific field. After you have added your field (just like before) do the following:

Select the icon to edit the field > “Crop Types By Years” > Choose date interval > Choose the crop type > “Add” > “Save” > Done!

  1. Want to change the borders of your field after you have already added it? No problem with the new “Change Polygon” button.

Select the icon to edit the field > “Change Polygon” > Modify the boarders of the field as needed > “Save” > Done!

Free Users

We have made the following updates to the free user subscription

  • All users have access to all services
  • The free user date limit to 365 days
  • The maximum field size that can be added is 1000 hectares
  • The maximum hectares for the free subscription is 5000 per user/farm
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SVT Nyheter Interviewed our CEO about Satellite Data in Irrigation

SVT Nyheter Interviewed our CEO about Satellite Data in Irrigation

Vultus in SVT Nyheter!
Our CEO Robert Schmitt and farmer Gustaf Ramel were interviewed by SVT. Listen to our CEO talk about the use of satellites to monitor the water levels in the fields.

Access the full article and video: https://lnkd.in/eKwC4QY

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Forbes Interviewed our CEO about Satellite Data in Farming

Forbes Interviewed our CEO about Satellite Data in Farming

Vultus in Forbes!

Our CEO Robert Schmitt was interviewed by Forbes about the use of satellite data in agriculture.

Accesss the full article via the link below:
https://lnkd.in/eQTbnug

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Al Jazeera Interviewed our CEO about Changes in Farming

Al Jazeera Interviewed our CEO about Changes in Farming

Vultus in Al Jazeera!
Another interview with our CEO Robert Schmitt and Lars Tuvesson from Lantmännen shows how farming has drastically changed.

Learn more about what modern farming technology can do to improve yields, while having a positive impact on the environment.

Watch the entire video via the link below:
https://lnkd.in/gDXfB6N

 
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What is precision agriculture and why we need more of it?

What is precision agriculture and why we need more of it?

Many farmers around the world benefit significantly from adopting precision agriculture practices. The main benefits of it involve reduced costs and environmental harm, as well as the ability to produce much healthier crops. Let’s dive deeper into these issues and discuss what precision agriculture actually is and how it helps farmers optimize their production processes.

So what exactly does precision agriculture entail?

Precision agriculture or precision farming is a modern agriculture trend, which allows farmers to fertilize their crops with a much greater accuracy and, in turn, optimize the crops production. The processes of precision farming involve sophisticated technologies, like satellite systems, that analyze the fields and give farmers exact recommendations of how much fertilizers they need to use for the specific plants.

Significant benefits of precision farming

1.) Precision Farming Increases Plant Health

Simply put, farmers who use precision agriculture technologies can provide a much better care for their fields at a smallest possible scale. The satellite systems divide fields into smaller units, analyze them individually, and provide farmers with detailed plant health analysis, which helps them understand the varied conditions within their fields. The technology also gives farmers exact recommendations of how to fertilize their crops in a most efficient way. This, in turn, allows them to produce much healthier plants that eventually becomes our food.

2.) Precision Farming Increases Fertility of Our Soils

Precision agriculture equipment takes great care not only of the plants but also protects our soils, rivers and, lakes. Currently, about 60% of nitrogen fertilizers, which is the most common fertilizer in the world, go to waste. This happens, because without precision agriculture tools farmers spread their fertilizers rather blindly – they do it evenly across the field. This results in the over-fertilization of our soils, which negatively affects its quality and fertility. A significant amount of unused nitrogen also leaches out into our lakes and rivers, causing them a major harm as well.

Precision farming equipment can prevent all these issues by enabling farmers to use just a right amount of nitrogen and stop the over-fertilization of their fields.

3.) Precision Farming Is Much Cheaper

Numerous farmers around the world have noticed reduced costs after they have started applying precision agriculture technologies to their crops production. Up-to-date satellite nitrogen recommendations save up to 40% of the fertilizers usage, which accounts for a major proportion of the farmers’ variable costs. For a medium-sized farmer, who works in a field of 250 hectares, precision farming would save around 15 thousand euros per year – the money that can definitely be put to a better use.

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