It has been 50 years since the agricultural industry underwent multiple revolutions.
Advances in agriculture, particularly in machinery, have led to greater speed, scale, and efficiency of farming equipment – resulting in improved yields.
Agricultural technology has undergone yet another revolution in the 21st century, one that includes robotics, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and many other emerging technologies. In addition to improving yields, we are improving water efficiency, enhancing resilience and sustainability in crop cultivation and animal husbandry.
Before we delve deeper into the different technologies that have improved the agricultural space, let’s briefly examine the importance of agricultural technology in this digitalization-led agricultural movement.
Technological advancements in agriculture
As compared to what happened a few decades ago, agriculture operations and farms today work drastically differently. The space is able to redefine the importance of agricultural technology based on the new technology in agriculture with elements like sensors, GPS, AI-powered devices, etc.
- Productivity increases in crops
- By using less pesticides, water, and fertilizer, food prices will be lowered
- Ecosystems are reduced in impact
- Chemical runoff into groundwater and rivers is reduced
- Safer working conditions for workers
- Managing natural resources with robotic technologies
We will examine how technology has changed farming in the next section, which will look into how technology is changing agricultural activities on a ground level.
Agronomic technology and its impact
In agriculture, technological advances are able to meet the growing need for digitalization, farm automation, and sustainability. By utilizing resources and time more efficiently and lowering crop losses, the space is addressing the question of how technology has changed farming.
Let us examine a few of the technologies that are changing how we approach digitalization in agriculture today.
Things connected to the internet
A conventional farmer needed a lot of time, effort, and equipment to monitor his crops.
Using the Internet of Things, we are able to collect data on farms and receive it instantly through apps. We can use these IoT sensors to facilitate agricultural activities such as –
- Measurement of humidity and temperature in soil
- Tracking livestock and plants
- Agricultural monitoring by remote means
- Crops can be watered automatically
Several startups are also developing innovative connected sensors that interact with robots, drones, and computer imaging in order to improve farming accuracy and agility.
Robots in agriculture
In large farms, there is a lack of labor that makes farming difficult. Agricultural robots are a solution to this problem.
Farmers are increasingly using robots to help them harvest, pick, plant, spray, and weed, which are all manual tasks. The use of agricultural technology to automate repetitive field tasks has already been widely adopted by farmers around the world.
In order to see how technology impacts agriculture, they are investing in robots such as –
- Machines that harvest crops autonomously, like semi-autonomous and autonomous tractors
- Incubators, auto feeders, and milking machines are some of the robots used for livestock management activities
Intelligence generated by artificial means
Through the incorporation of AI-backed tools and data into the field operations, technology is becoming increasingly important in agriculture. By offering weather, crop yield, and even crop prices, artificial intelligence helps farmers make sound decisions based on their knowledge of the weather, crop yield, and crop prices.
Artificial intelligence agricultural technology also includes smart chatbots that make suggestions and recommendations for farmers. On a more widespread level, AI and machine learning algorithms can assist in identifying and monitoring plant and animal anomalies and diseases. While chatbots work on a micro level, they are capable of detecting and monitoring anomalous plant and animal diseases.
Unmanned aerial vehicles
It is difficult to strike a balance between increasing farm productivity and reducing operational costs. A breakthrough in agriculture is the use of drones to help farmers overcome this challenge. The machines collect raw data that is then converted into useful information for farm monitoring.
In addition to aerial imaging and surveying, drones are equipped with cameras which can be used for –
- An analysis of data relating to fertilizer, seed, water, and pesticide utilization
- Monitoring geofencing, tracking livestock, and grazing
Startups are developing drones that measure chlorophyll levels and the chemical composition of soil minerals using drone-based agricultural technology.
Agriculture as a precision science
When treating the entire farm in the same way, inefficiency results, as different parts of the field have different soil properties, sunlight levels, and slopes.
In order to address this issue, the agriculture industry has developed precision-based technologies. In precision agriculture, farmers are using precisely the right amount of pesticides, water, fertilizers, and other inputs in the specific area of their farm. A drone and artificial intelligence-driven analysis are helping gather information.
Farm data is being transformed into actionable insights by big data techniques, which are transforming the restrictions of agricultural technology.
Agriculture technology works in a number of ways, including –
- Studying population, production, land use, irrigation, agricultural prices, weather forecasts, and crop diseases to lay the groundwork for next season’s farming
- Extracting information related to farm operations based on weather events, water cycles, farm equipment, and quantity and quality of crops.
A technology-backed approach to big data in agriculture enables growers to gain insight into patterns and relationships that may otherwise remain hidden.
Technologies for connecting
LPWAN, 5G, and satellite-based communication technologies are vital to smart farming. In agriculture, these technological advancements in connectivity power the adoption of devices that require high-speed, real-time communication, such as robots, sensors, and IoT devices.
Agricultural technologies are becoming more and more prevalent with the use of connectivity, and an ecosystem that is able to connect them all together is able to propel the agriculture industry forward.
A look at the current state of agriculture's connectivity and the potential it holds
While the agriculture sector has undergone digitalization in recent years, very few nations have access to digital tools that can transform data into insights. Only one quarter of all farm areas in the United States use connected devices to access data.
The cost of connected hardware used to be quite expensive, but it is now coming down at a substantial rate, making them more affordable, thereby increasing the scope of agricultural investment. As a result, connectivity in agriculture is projected to add $500 billion to the global gross domestic product by the end of this decade!
Agriculture uses connectivity in the following ways:
- With connectivity, crops can be monitored in multiple ways. By incorporating weather, nutrient, and irrigation data, the use of resources can be improved and yields can be increased by accurately identifying deficiencies. In addition to crop monitoring, soil monitoring is also affected by the tools. Soil sampler machines, for example, usually follow GPS directions while harvesting and are programmed to pull out samples at specific frequencies and collect data.
- Monitoring livestock – Preventing diseases among farm animals remains a global challenge. The use of high-tech technologies such as pulse, temperature, and blood pressure can help identify illnesses, prevent herd infection, and improve food technology by identifying illnesses and preventing herd infections. In the same vein, environment sensors, such as those that monitor barn ventilation and heating, improve the living conditions of farm animals.
- Building and equipment management – Sensors used to monitor and measure warehouse production levels can allow automated reordering to take place and reduce inventory costs. By monitoring the optimal storage conditions, these chips and sensors can also extend the shelf life of inputs and lower post-harvest losses. It is also discussed that predictive-maintenance systems can be used to lower the cost of repairs and extend the life of equipment.
Agricultural technology advancements are shaping the industry’s future in many different ways. As the demand for food continues to outstrip supply, now is the time to lay the groundwork for an environmentally sustainable industry.
Those interested in entering the Agritech space would need a consulting firm that specializes in agriculture IT.
In Revinfotech, we help farmers reduce production costs while increasing yield quality. We specialize in building technological solutions that help farmers reduce production costs. Our team recently worked with IFOAM to design an interactive crop planning app for farmers in NMA nations.
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