Drones, Robots and Super Sperm - the Future of Farming

How is the agriculture industry changing as digital technology develops?

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Economics

The future of farming: Driverless tractors, drones and robots. How is the agriculture industry changing as digital technology develops?

Unmanned tractors controlled via GPS; drones that kill vermin in the fields from above; and highly efficient bull sperm used to produce genetically optimized calves. This is not science fiction. It’s the future of farming, today. "Smart farming" is the agricultural industry's new buzzword. A survey of almost 600 German farmers has revealed that more than one in two now uses digital solutions to optimize their harvests. Fierce regional and global competition, declining subsidies, higher standards of food quality, environmental protection, and increasing demand are forcing farmers to be highly efficient. This documentary looks at three examples of "smart farming" in Germany. Breeding consultant Johanna Schendel creates optimized dairy cows by selecting the right bull semen. Asparagus farmer Heiner Bartels uses a smartphone to calculate the optimum time to harvest. And drone pilot Bernd Meyer is out to fight pests in maize fields from the air. All three are trying to use modern technology to modify nature to fit the needs of our society. But where are the limits?

A Documentary By: DW Documentary

A Film By: Anke Gehrmann

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