How maximizing farm equipment can contribute to a sustainable future

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Posted: Thursday, February 4, 2021. 9:04 a.m. CST.

Contribution paid: Food security and sustainable agriculture are key priorities both in the agricultural sector and on the policy agenda, with industry stakeholders striving to maximize operational efficiency. But is there a solution to keep machines moving, while helping to produce our food more sustainably?

Globally, sustainable agriculture and food production are hot topics, with an estimated 800 million people worldwide going hungry. 70% more food must be produced by 2050 to meet the demands of a growing population[1].

Consumers are also increasingly aware of where food comes from and how it is produced, seeking clear farm-to-fork traceability. With 84% of shoppers admitting they check where their food comes from “all” or “most of the time”[2], this presents a unique and complex challenge for food producers around the world.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 2 aims to end hunger, as well as double agricultural productivity and the incomes of small-scale food producers, by 2030. In addition, it aims to secure productive systems. sustainable food by strengthening agricultural practices that adapt to climate changes and other disasters and improve the quality of land and soil.

This combination of factors means that farmers will have to change their business models to play their role in reducing food waste and eradicating hunger at the same time. The availability of agricultural resources will play a vital role in helping them achieve this goal, as well as reap the benefits of more sustainable and competitive production.

The secret of success

Technology is key to increasing efficiency and exponentially evolving the value they deliver. Farmers and food producers now have access to more advanced precision equipment than ever before.

Whatever your take on technology, there’s no denying that agriculture is being revolutionized by Industry 4.0. Drones are increasingly a part of daily farm life, helping producers monitor their crops where soil conditions do not. Meanwhile, GPS technologies installed on tractors now play a vital role in tasks such as soil sampling, field mapping and crop monitoring to increase efficiency.

Today’s industry even has access to autonomous vehicles and robotic technology, which help farmers save something that cannot be quantified financially: time. As sustainable production becomes an integral part of modern agriculture, the productivity of agricultural operations will increasingly depend on the efficient and reliable operation of equipment.

While critics of sustainable agriculture claim that it leads to lower crop yields and reduced efficiency – as well as questions about its actual sustainability – the right lubricants and the right partnerships can help farmers ensure productivity. equipment is maximized. On top of that, it can help protect the environment and expand the supply of natural resources, bringing us as an industry closer to those 2030 goals.

From rupture to breakthrough

Effective lubrication is often underestimated on farms and its benefits are not understood. As a result, equipment breakdowns can be a frequent part of daily life, which is especially frustrating and costly during the busiest times of the farming calendar. Ensuring that equipment is always operating at peak performance will become more and more important as the sustainable agenda becomes more pressing.

Extensive research by Shell has shown that 68% of respondents say maximizing the life of existing equipment is a priority, while 77% agree that effective maintenance can lead to cost savings. However, 41% often experience equipment failures due to ineffective lubrication, while 42% admit that lubrication is rarely a priority. 57% more admit they didn’t realize that effective lubrication leads to shorter downtime[3] – highlight a real lack of knowledge in this area.

But there is a solution. Shell Lubricant Solutions has the staff and expertise to help farmers improve their skills and increase their knowledge of lubricants. This goes hand in hand with an impressive product portfolio that extends equipment life, reduces fuel consumption and extends oil change intervals. This enables farmers to play their part in achieving the UN Sustainable Agriculture Goals.

By using the right combination of lubricants together, businesses can improve the productivity of vehicles and equipment. Lubricant costs can be as little as 1-2% of total maintenance cost, but optimizing lubricant use in all operations can save 30% of operating costs[4].

Knowledge is power

To avoid unplanned machine downtime and optimize cultivation, planting and harvesting, lubrication is therefore essential. Services such as Shell LubeMatch allow farmers to find the right lubricant for their equipment in seconds. While Shell LubeCoach offers an expert-led training program to help employers and their staff improve their performance through an in-depth lubrication training program.

From farmers in the field to tractor manufacturers, sustainability will play an important role in the future of agriculture. The targets set by the UN are just over a decade away, so as an industry we must act now. Products and partnerships are key solutions to this global challenge. Food security is a serious and complex issue, but farmers can play an important role in building a sustainable future.

[1] Agriculture 4.0: The Future of Agricultural Technology, Oliver Wyman, February 2018

[2] Do we care about where our food comes from? Elementary UK, 2017

[3] All Agriculture Data: Global Powering Peak Performance Report, Edelman Intelligence, May 2018

[4] https://www.shell.co.uk/business-customers/lubricants-for-business/agriculture/driveline.html

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