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HomeAgri-nuusNetafim bring die volgende besproeiingsrevolusie na Suid-Afrika

Netafim bring die volgende besproeiingsrevolusie na Suid-Afrika

Die eerste besproeiingstelsel met ʼn brein, NetBeatTM, is pas vir implementering in Suid-Afrika en die SADC bekendgestel. Netafim Suid-Afrika het dié nuwe outomatiseringstegnologie op 5 Junie 2019 by die Landtscap Landgoed in Devon Valley, Stellenbosch bekendgestel.

“Ons noem NetBeat met selfvertroue die grootste innovasie in besproeiing sedert die bekendstelling van drupbesproeiing in 1959,” sê Etienne Erasmus, besturende direkteur van Netafim Suid-Afrika. “NetBeat is ʼn alles-in- een platform en die enigste besproeiings- en kunsmistoedieningsbestuurs-platform wat regstreekse monitering; analise en besluitnemingsondersteuning; asook outomatisering en beheer kombineer.”

Netafim is reeds die afgelope 20 jaar betrokke by die outomatisering van landboubesproeiing en ander landbouaktiwiteite en het reeds verskeie digitale landbouoplossings beskikbaar gestel. “Ons het begin as handelaar van outomatiseringstegnologie. In 2002 het ons egter besluit om ons eie besproeiingsbeheerplatforms te ontwikkel, sê Mark Hill, bestuurder van digitale boerderyoplossings by Netafim Suid-Afrika. Die eerste produk was die NMC (Netafim Mid-Range Controller) en is ontwikkel om die gaping tussen kleinskaalse en grootskaalse besproeiingsbeheerplatforms te vul. Die ontwikkeling van verskeie beheerplatforms en later ook moniteringsplatforms het gevolg.

Al die outomatiseringsvermoëns het in silo’s bestaan. Dit het die boer met die groot taak gelaat om dié gesegmenteerde data te analiseer en verwerk tot iets wat bruikbaar is. “Ons moes ʼn platform skep wat al dié vermoëns in een platform kombineer. Netafim kundiges van regoor die wêreld het by die Netafim hoofkantoor in Israel bymekaargekom om die raamwerk van NetBeat, soos ons dit vandag ken, uiteen te sit,” sê Hill.

Erasmus voeg by dat Netafim skouer aan die wiel sit om die opwindende vierde industriële revolusie na die besproeiingsbedryf te bring. “Dit was duidelik dat Netafim sy bestaande outomatisering- en bestuurstegnologie na ʼn selfs hoër vlak moes neem. Nooit het ons egter besef hoe spesiaal dié skuif sou wees nie. Ons sou ons nooit die onbeperkte potensiaal van digitale boerderyoplossings kon indink nie. Tot waar kan selfleer-gewasmodelle ons neem?

Digitale besproeiingsinnovasie

NetBeat laat jou toe om data vir jou te laat werk en sodoende jou plaas se ware potensiaal te ontgin. Die platform laat jou terselfdertyd toe om die verbruik van water en ander hulpbronne te beperk. NetBeat volg die plant se ontwikkelingsfase en herkalibreer homself volgens regstreekse en voorspelde omgewingsdata vanuit verskillende bronne.

“Alhoewel NetBeat die eerste platform is om die verskeie funksies te kombineer, kan dit maklik deur mededingers nagedoen word.” sê Hill. “Iets moes NetBeat onderskei. Dié werk word gedoen deur die Dinamiese GewasmodelleTM as besluitnemingsondersteuningsdiens. Die integrasie van dié modelle maak belangrike kunsmatige intelligensie- vermoëns moontlik. Netafim se landboukundige, kennis wat oor 50 jaar versamel is, word sodoende met regstreekse data gekombineer om aanbevelings vir besproeiing en kunsmistoediening te maak. Dié pasgemaakte aanbevelings kan aanvaar, verwerp of aangepas word deur die gebruiker.”

Hill verduidelik dat die platform se geweldige berekeningsvermoë moontlik gemaak word deur die feit dat dit wolkgebaseerd is. Die wolkgebaseerde sagteware maak verder afstandsbeheer en die rugsteun van data moontlik asook die integrasie van derdeparty-data.

“Dit beteken egter nie dat die stelsel ʼn voltydse internetkonneksie nodig het nie.” NetBeat bestaan uit hoofsaaklik twee hardewarekomponente – die MCU (Main Control Unit) en die RTU (Remote Control Field Unit). Albei is met die jongste tegnologie toegerus en kan alle huidige en moontlike toekomstige toestelle ondersteun.

Die MCU koppel via verskeie konneksiemetodes aan ʼn wolkbediener, terwyl die RTU’s met die MCU koppel deur middel van ʼn tweerigting Lora-radiokonneksie. “NetBeat kan, sonder om aan die wolbediener gekoppel te wees, normaal funksioneer met geringe verminderde funksie.”

Maklik en vir almal

NetBeat is ontwerp om die bestuur van besproeiing en kunsmistoediening eenvoudig te maak, selfs in ingewikkelde boerderystelsels. Dit is hoekom beide die koppelvlak en die toepassing maklik is om te gebruik en alles bied wat die boer nodig het.

Hill sê dat daar dikwels ʼn wanpersepsie is dat digitale boerdery-oplossings buite die bereik van klein of selfs mediumgrootte boerderye is. Alhoewel dit waar mag wees van ander digitale boerdery-oplossings, bied NetBeat ʼn platform wat aangepas kan word tot jou begroting asook die grootte en vereistes van jou boerdery. Dié aanpasbaarheid word moontlik gemaak deur MCU’s en RTU’s by te voeg volgens die grootte van die plaas en die werk wat gedoen moet word.

Meer met minder

Netafim word gedryf deur sy slagspreuk, ‘Grow more with lessTM’. Dit is presies wat boere in waterskaars Suid- Afrika en SADC nodig het. Die wêreldwye tendens van beperkte hulpbronne en hoë insetkoste tref dié streke veral hard,” sê Erasmus. Netbeat se vermoë tot monitering, analise en outomatisering maak dit vir boere moontlik om elke hulpbron optimaal te gebruik, uiteindelik meer met minder te produseer en sodoende elke sent te laat tel.

“Ek glo dat NetBeat ʼn wesenlike impak op voedselproduksie in ons streek sal hê. Die platform word in elke land waar dit geïmplementeer word anders ervaar en anders toegepas. Dit is ʼn reis wat ons met opgewondenheid aanpak.”

 

 

Netafim brings the next irrigation revolution to South Africa

Netafim South Africa officially launched NetBeatTM, the first irrigation system with a brain, for implementation in South Africa and SADC countries. The launch took place at the beautiful Landtscap Estate in Devon Valley, Stellenbosch on 5 June 2019.

“At Netafim, we are confident to call NetBeat the greatest irrigation innovation since drip irrigation,” said Etienne Erasmus, MD of Netafim South Africa. “As an all-in-one platform, it is the only irrigation and FertigationTM management and control system that integrates real-time monitoring; smart analysis and decision support; and automation and control.”

Netafim has been involved with the automation of agricultural irrigation and other farming activities for the past 20 years and has brought many digital farming tools to the table. “We started as a dealer of automation technology, but in 2002 decided to build our own irrigation controllers,” said Mark Hill, digital farming manager at Netafim South Africa. The first product was the Netafim Mid-Range Controller (NMC), which was developed to fill a gap between small-scale and large-scale controllers. The development of irrigation controllers, fertigation controllers and later monitoring equipment followed.

Erasmus added that Netafim is working hard to bring the exciting fourth industrial revolution into the world of irrigation. “It was obvious that the company needed to take its existing automation and crop management technology to an even higher level. Never did we know how special this move will be. We would have never been able to imagine the unlimited potential of digital farming. Where will self-learning crop modelling take us?”

Bringing it together

All of the automation capabilities existed in silos. This left the farmer with the daunting task of analysing and processing the segmented data. “We needed to create a platform that would combine it all. Netafim experts from around the world convened at the Netafim headquarters in Israel to pen down the framework for NetBeat as we know it today. It is the result of the best software development experts putting their heads together,” said Hill.

Digital irrigation innovation

NetBeat allows you to leverage data, making it work for you to maximise your farm’s true potential while minimising water usage and gaining greater piece of mind. The platform tracks the plant’s developmental stage, based on crop physiology models, it then recalibrates itself according to actual and forecasted environmental data from multiple sources, such as weather, soil, crop sensors and remote imagery.

Hill explained that, although NetBeat was the first to combine these functionalities, this could easily be replicated by competitors. “Something had to differentiate NetBeat. Enter the integrated Dynamic Crop ModelsTM as decision support service. This opens up very important artificial intelligence capabilities that combines the more than 50 years of agronomic knowledge within Netafim with data from the field into irrigation and fertigation recommendations. These tailored recommendations can be accepted, rejected or even edited by the user.”

Hill explained that the platform’s massive computing ability is made possible by the fact that it is cloud-based. It further makes possible multiple remote access and control, the integration of cloud-based third-party data and keeps the farm’s data safe.

“This does however not mean that the system requires a full-time internet connection.” NetBeat consists of mainly two hardware components – a main control unit (MCU) and a remote-control field unit (RTU). Both are equipped with the latest technology, making it capable of all supporting devices currently available and yet to come.”

A gateway MCU connects to a secure cloud server via an array of connection methods, whilst the RTUs connect to the MCU via a bi-directional Lora radio connection. “NetBeat is capable of operating normally, with marginally reduced functionality, without being connected to the cloud.”

Easy to use and scalable

NetBeat was designed to make irrigation and fertigation management simple. Even for complex systems. This is why both the user interface and the application are easy to use and offers most any capability that a farmer could need.

Hill said a common misconception is that digital farming solutions are out of reach for smaller or even medium-scale farming operations. Although this may be true of many other digital farming platforms, NetBeat offers a digital irrigation management platform that is scalable to the size of the operation’s requirements and budget. Scalability is made possible by adding MCUs and RTUs according to the size of the farm and the attached requirements.

Grow more with less

Netafim is driven by its slogan, ‘Grow more with lessTM’. “This is a perfect fit for farmers in the water-scarce South Africa and SADC-region, where the global trend of limited resources and higher input costs hit especially hard,” said Erasmus. The monitoring, analysing and automation capabilities allows the farmer to use every input more efficiently and finally grow more with less and get more bang for his buck.

“I believe that NetBeat will have an important impact on food production in our region. The capabilities of the platform are experienced and implemented differently in each of the many countries where it has been launched. It is a journey that we are excited to start.”