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Doctoral thesis, 2022

Care in digital farming - from acting on to living with

Lundström, Christina

Abstract

Development of digital technology to handle complex situations in agriculture has
for long time mainly been technology driven, resulting in limited adoption. This
thesis aims to: 1) Introduce methods and theories from the research field of humancomputer
interaction in the agricultural domain to improve design and development
processes of digital technology. 2) Introduce the concept of care to increase
knowledge about farmers' technology use in their socio-technical system (practice),
as well as to introduce a relational perspective in agriculture. The two systemically
described complex decision situations are fertilization with a decision support
system, that uses satellite images and automated milking systems. 3) Evaluate two
different theoretical lenses to study the concept of care in practice, Distributed
Cognition and Activity Theory. The studies of farmers' socio-technical systems
show that farmers develop an enhanced professional vision to interpret data from the
technology and learn more about the field/crop or the cow. New technology changes
the relationship between the farmer and the field/crop or cow, but the experienced
farmer supplements what they see through the technology with direct contact with,
for example, the cow. The need for a stockperson’s eye is thus at least as great after
the introduction of robots in milk production. A relational perspective involves an
understanding of our mutual dependence with the crop or the cow in these examples,
as well as nature and its ecosystem services. Introduction of the concept of care and
a relational approach, meaning that farming is to live with, not just act on, can
support the transformation of agriculture that we know is necessary. In this
transformational process, technology has an important role to play. However, it must
be developed in cooperation and dialog with end-users to fit in their socio-technicalecological
system and thus support their care.

Keywords

precision agriculture; precision livestock farming; digital farming; SMART farming; Activity theory; Distributed Cognition; automated milking systems; CropSAT; relational; systemic

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2022, number: 2022:66
ISBN: 978-91-8046-008-8, eISBN: 978-91-8046-009-5
Publisher: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of People and Society

UKÄ Subject classification

Communication Systems
Animal and Dairy Science
Human Computer Interaction

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/119669