How to become a smart farmer with RFID technology
South Africa produces some of the best wines in the world. It has brought an array of economic benefits to the country including many employment opportunities.
Wine farms bring in an estimate of R2 billion to the economy. This includes direct expenditure from tourism/visitors and indirect from goods bought by wineries from other local businesses.
This expansive growth of industries has enabled wine farms to unlock all available opportunities to offer the world the best quality wines.
The issue at hand
Hand-picking is the only way to harvest grapes properly and effectively to ensure that the best quality grapes are selected.
The timely and old process of tracking the number of grapes picked by the harvesters to get their weekly wages is outdated. It involves labour intensive work and human error.
Wine farms continue to grow in South Africa, better processes are necessary to reduce time wasted.
Technology must be implemented to help systemize the process. Allowing processes to be faster, accurate and efficient.
Farmers have found many ways to adopt the latest technology to improve agriculture. Technology is used to save time, cut costs and improve yields.
RFID helps to automate the process of hand-picking in the wine industry.
HID (human interface device, an RFID producer) is finding new alternative ways to help the production process become more efficient, accurate and productive (RFID world, 2021).
With the new solution, each harvester is issued an armband with a unique HID card. The grape collection bins are tagged with HID tags and the vineyard supervisors are fitted with NFC (near field communication) enabled smartphones.
To activate the system, supervisors simply place their smartphone next to the harvester’s armband triggering an audible beep that assures both the harvester and supervisor that the collection bin has been counted and credited to the right person.
This new system will reduce administrative expenses and time, saving the vineyard valuable money and enabling them to get better harvest and yields.
The harvesters are also valued more for their efforts as it is better monitored and measured. They are compensated more fairly and thus motivated to work knowing their efforts will be properly rewarded.
The NFC and RFID system generates more detailed, real-time information that can be used to guide better management decisions. Allowing wineries to present the best wines to their customers. Growing the industry to its full potential.
5 benefits of RFID technology in the wine industry
- Anti-counterfeit wine
RFID track and trace wine preventing fake wines from being put on the market. Both the wine retailer and customer can check whether the wine is authentic by checking the attached tag. Enabling a tamper-proof bottle and placing the RFID tag at the bottom of the bottle defeats counterfeits. Assuring authenticity can build brand reputation and value (Wang Y, 2013).
- Real-time monitoring
Temperature is an important factor in preserving wine and preserving its value. This reduces spoilage of the wine and can monitor its shelf life. By using RFID tags, Bluetooth and 3G networks monitoring temperatures on their way to retailers. Every bottle will arrive with a complete history of temperature change information. This enables the product to be kept at the optimal temperature and not spoil along the supply chain. Consumers can check the safety of the products, making more informed decisions about their purchases.
- Tracking and tracing
Barrel tracking allows you to visibly track your cargo’s movement, improves the efficiency of transport and increases the accuracy of where your cargo ends up. Identification of the bottle enables the farmer to manage cargo and be more cost-effective providing better proof of ownership to reduce theft and increase transparency (Ruiz-Garcia L, 2011).
- Labour cost and saving
RFID does not require human interference, reducing human error and employment costs. More time can be spent on customer services and less on production monitoring, inventory counting and information mix up.
- Data security
The data on RFID technology can only be read through coding preventing counterfeit. This will protect the brand’s value and enhance the brand’s competitiveness in the market.
RFID eliminates many problems. These devices help automate farming processes, enabling farmers to have better control over their products, managing time more efficiently and managing crop inventory.
All of these systems in place make the process easier to sell to its customers. Providing a better experience for all. Ensuring that the quality of the product is not affected and the reputation is upheld.
South Africa has always been admired for offering the best quality products and services including wine. Consumers enjoy this product because of the relaxed sensation and good feeling they receive from consuming the beverage.
To keep moving on this growth path, the wine industry needs to keep on improving with the times. Technology is an important way to help the industry unlock its full potential and become the best producers in the world.
Donaldson, J. (2021). RFID Nips Growing Problem in the Bud. Mojix [Online]. Available: https://mojix.com/rfid-technology-nips-growing-problem/ 29 January 2021
Kumar V & Srivastava A. 2018. The Role of RFID in the Agro-Food Sector. Agriculture research and technology, open-access journal. 14(4): 121-123.
RFID world. (2021). RFID and NFC Technology Helps Automate Age-Old Processes in the Winery Industry. RFID World [Online]. Available: https://rfidworld.ca/rfid-and-nfc-technology-helps-automate-age-old-processes-in-the-winery-industry/1164. 22 January 2021.
Ruiz-Garcia, L. 2011. The role of RFID in agriculture: Applications, limitations and challenges. Science direct: Elsevier. Vol 79(1): 42-50.
Wang, Y. 2013. Research on the Influence of RFID Technology on French Wine Supply Chain Management in China’s Wine Market. Université de Strasbourg. 1(1):2-47.