November 11, 2021

#RoadToNetZero: Harnessing 5G in the agriculture sector

Net Zero, COP26, Climate Change, Agriculture, Farming, Mobile, 5G

COP26 and net zero targets

agriculture icon

As COP26 (2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference) draws to a close, and global parties begin to reflect on what is still left to do to achieve net zero by 2050, we explore how 5G will support the agriculture sector to reduce emissions.  

A digital revolution in farming

Emissions from agriculture accounted for 10% of all the UK’s greenhouse gases in 2018, a significant increase from 7% in 1990. The CCC (Climate Change Committee) have estimated that these gases must fall by 36% under its central scenarios for the UK to reach net zero. Here is how 5G can make that possible:

  • Using 5G technology, means that key agricultural variables such as temperature, moisture, light, humidity, and grassland yields will all be monitored via digitally connected sensors making results faster to obtain and more precise.  
  • Farm machinery will have the ability to be deployed and controlled remotely, without the need for manual handling.  
  • Livestock can be monitored to ensure the health of animals that are spread over vast areas of land, allowing sick animals to be detected early to avoid the spread of infections.
  • Wearable mobile-connected technology worn in cows’ nostrils are currently being trialled in hopes to reduce methane emissions.  

The future

5G enabled agricultural equipment will enable farmers to increase productivity, while being connected to autonomous vehicles will free up time and resources. For instance, 5G-enabled drones will enable farmers to capture images across many hectares of farmland, which can then be used to analyse the quality and quantity of soil to see where fertiliser is required. As well as making farmers’ jobs easier, farms will become more efficient and environmentally sustainable.  

The Government has been actively trialling the use of 5G on farms in Shropshire and Somerset in a bid to boost farmers’ business and the rural economy. Up to ten locations will be chosen to run innovative trials of 5G applications, showcasing how farming can be transformed to help drive business growth, enhance lives and encourage innovation.  

5G connected drones and sensors could improve process efficiency, cutting emissions in agriculture by 1 MtCO2e. This is a significant step in reducing greenhouse gases by 36%, helping the UK achieve net zero by 2050. The adoption of 5G technology can play a huge part in us reaching our targets to reduce our impact on the natural world.  

Reduce emissions from agriculture

Next steps

5G connectivity needs to be implemented to enable the emissions reducing potential of agriculture to be fulfilled. We are encouraging policy makers worldwide to act swiftly and enable network operators to build 5G networks faster so that we can achieve climate action targets sooner.  

To find out how 5G will help lay the path to net zero take a read of our Climate and Connectivity report here.

Read here to find out how 5G could increase rural opportunities.

About Building Mobile Britain

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Building Mobile Britain is a campaign created by Mobile UK seeking to work with national and local government, as well as interested industry groups to overcome the challenges we face with expanding the existing mobile networks, while also developing innovative services for customers.

See here for further information - or #BuildingMobileBritain

Media Contacts

Gareth Elliott
Head of Policy and Communications
Tel: 07887 911 076

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