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Nation in Conversation looks into the future to 2035

  • 17 May 2018
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  •  nation-in-conversation

Futurist, Pieter Geldenhuys played host to a panel which included John Deere’s Tavonga Alex Syavora, Grain SA’s Jaco Minnaar, Mezzanine Ware’s Wynand Malan and Kobus Steenekamp of Monsanto
The sad consensus of the discussion is that the future is already here and tech companies have the solutions, but government policies are lagging behind. Pieter Geldenhuys said that bandwith could be made available to the platteland if government “opened more frequencies”.

Some of the evolutions in technology which producers can look forward to is self-driving farm vehicles, electric powered tractors and farm implements, drones to monitor animal and plant health, variable application of fertiliser and pesticides based on area analysis and even hologram interaction.

In the area of seed development, Kobus said that many disruptive technologies are on the horizon. “We have already developed drought and disease resistant seeds. Soon we will be able to identify the genes within a seed which causes gluten allergies for example and remove it from the seed.”
Jaco made the point though, that as farmers “we will always produce what the customer wants.”

Tavonga, who hails from the American mid-West said John Deere was looking at taking data aggregation one step further by looking to develop algorithms which can analyse the data and allow its vehicles and implements to be provide proactive assistance on the farm.
Wynand said his company was working with Vodacom to provided broad spectrum access to platteland areas “soon.”
The panel were in agreement though, that the key to the future was to have all the different data streams aggregated and analyse to send back solutions and applications in real time.
To learn more about what the future holds, watch the episode by visiting

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