Omnia’s Sustainable Agri-Tech: A.I., Robotics, and the future of SA’s Agriculture on display at NAMPO
- Published: Friday, 19 May 2023 13:28
Free State, South Africa, 19 May 2023 – For the past 70 years, the Omnia Group has worked tirelessly to bring the newest innovations to the agricultural sector across South Africa. From its patented total crop management process – the Nutriology model – to partnering with some of the leading tech specialists, innovation has always been at the core of Omnia’s operations.
This week, the chemical services group exhibited a portfolio of its technological solutions – from autonomous robots to A.I. analysis tools – at NAMPO, the largest privately-owned agricultural exhibition in the Southern hemisphere.
“We have evolved from what was once a fertilizer business into a holistic institution that is making a significant and positive impact in the agricultural, mining, and chemical application industries. NAMPO has given us the opportunity to showcase how we have spent decades bringing the newest technological solutions to our region,” says Louis Strydom, Marketing Director at Omnia Agriculture.
Key technological solutions showcased at NAMPO included:
Autonomous Vehicles through the AXIOTEQ and NAIO partnership
Across the world, more agricultural experts are embracing the use of autonomous vehicles to heighten efficiency on their farms. Since it became a part of the Omnia Group, AXIOTEQ has focused on building new equipment solutions that specifically cater to South Africa’s unique climate. Meanwhile, NAIO develops, builds, and markets autonomous systems dedicated to agricultural applications. At NAMPO, AXIOTEQ joined Omnia’s stall to highlight the South African arrival of NAIO’s Orio robot – an autonomous tool carrier for vegetables and industrial crops. Through a live demonstration, the Orio proved that these self-driven devices can be equipped with tools to reduce environmental impact, help limit overuse of pesticides and water, and improve overall farm efficiency.
As a fundamental tool for numerous Omnia products, OmniZone satellite imaging allows farmers to determine the lay of the land, and use that data to predict potential yield patterns, drought cycles, and the best placements for crops. This information can be used alongside A.I. analytics to help reduce overuse of nutrients, water, and pesticides.
Through advanced irrigation scheduling solution, OMNIPIVOT, farmers can maximise plant growth, crop quality, and crop yield. By analysing real-time data to optimise water and nutrient application, OMNIPIVOT helps farmers make informed decisions on how much of these precious commodities to use for more sustainable – and efficient – farming. If irrigation systems are compromised – be it from power failures or other irregularities – OMNIPIVOT has an early warning function to give real time alerts to users so they can rectify the issue.
Biostimulants and specialty products
Biostimulants assist plants in absorbing nutrients more effectively in normal conditions but also induce responses to better tolerate stressful environmental conditions, such as droughts, frost, and heatwaves, limiting loss while still being environmentally friendly. For example, Omnia’s Rhizovator range consists of a specific ratio of biological components, including humic acid, fulvic acid, seaweed extract, and amino acids. Humic acids make an excellent, natural soil conditioner, and have been proven to improve nutrient use efficiency and improvement of soil structure over time. Ultimately, the better the soil conditions, the better the yield, limiting waste and improving crop survival rates.
Mandla Mpofu, Managing Director at Omnia Agriculture , commented, “As a leading player in the South African agriculture sector, we are addressing current and future challenges through innovative solutions. Omnia Nutriology was honoured to participate and add value to this year’s NAMPO conference through showcasing our latest technology that can assist local farmers in managing risk.”
Omnia's speciality fertilizers are sophisticated products that contain plant nutrients and bio-stimulants to optimise nutrient efficiency, crop yield, and quality. These fertilizers consist of water soluble and liquid products that could be applied through foliar sprays or fertigation – and contain all the plant nutritional elements at specific ratios required by different crops and growth stages.
“Our goal has always been to reduce risk. Successful farming requires risk reduction because of the numerous factors that can affect crop yield. Technology is essential to improving overall performance, which is why we offer a wide array of solutions to help manage risk – from new product innovation to agronomic expertise and advice. Each of the products we exhibited at NAMPO are a part of our vision to enhance agriculture,” says Strydom.