Agriculture is the most crucial source of revenue and food supply around the world. Nowadays, we see different improvements in agricultural production and costs reduction with the assistance of advancements in technology. Venture capitalists invested more than 2 billion dollars in agriculture technology startups in 2014 and again in 2015. The demand for innovative farm technology is high. Today, organic fertilizers are used, fewer pesticides are consumed, and different tractors and machinery are used. Farmers no longer need to apply water, fertilizers, and pesticides across entire fields. They can use the minimum quantities required and target specific areas or treat individual plants. This can result in:
- Higher crop productivity
- Decreased use of water, fertilizer, and pesticides, which in turn keeps food prices down
- Reduced impact on natural ecosystems
- Less runoff of chemicals into rivers and groundwater
- Increased worker safety
Moreover, sophisticated technologies such as robots and different kinds of sensors make monitoring and management of natural resources more reliable and provide greater control over plants, production, distribution, and storage, which are beneficial in terms of:
- Greater efficiencies and lower prices
- Safer growing conditions and safer foods
- Reduced environmental and ecological impact
Use of technology in agriculture
- Farm Machines as a Pervasive Automation
One of the most important factors that farmers are faced with is labor costs which continue to increase. Besides, yield and time are the other vital factors in agriculture. It is important to sow as early as possible and harvest at the appropriate time. The introduction of self-driving combine harvesters and planters ensures farmers grow large quantities of food in the shortest possible time. Also, GPS technology provides self-driving tractors and sprayers with tracking systems which result in avoiding serious human errors and saving fuel and equipment.
- Crop Sensors
This technology provides farmers with the opportunity to gather data on the plants which can cause a reduction in the chance of leaching or runoff. In this case, variable rate technology is very beneficial. The crop sensor is designed to specify the amount of water, fertilizers, and pesticides for a specific crop and when to apply by detecting moisture and nitrogen levels. About 70 percent of all freshwater worldwide is used for agriculture. However, about 60 percent of this water is wasted. These sensors helo conserve water, limit erosion, and reduce fertilizer levels in local rivers and lakes, which makes farms more environmentally friendly.
- Global Positioning System (GPS)
GPS is becoming a common technology in agriculture. It provides real-time crop imagery which lets a farmer examine crops. Documentations of yields from a given farm can offer a summary of the entire year’s activities. It can save a farm a considerable amount of time and money. Farmers can rely on the collected and recorded data or yield map for reference when making any decisions. This technology can be integrated with the crop, soil, and water sensors.
Biotechnology is known as genetic engineering. It improves the genes of cultivated plants and makes them resistant to agricultural elements like herbicides, severe conditions, and insects as well as results in good yields. With the use of biotechnology, areas that were originally considered barren can be cultivated.
- Minichromosomal Technology
This is an exciting agricultural technology in a very tiny package. A minichromosome is a small structure within a cell that includes very little genetic material but holds a lot of information. Agricultural geneticists can add hundreds of quite complex traits to a plant such as a drought tolerance and lessening nitrogen use. What is most intriguing about this technology is that a plant’s original chromosomes aren’t altered in any way.
- Weather Tracking
Nowadays, there are online weather services focused exclusively on agriculture. Farmers can access these sophisticated computerized services via mobile apps which run on any consumer smartphone. This technology provides them with enough advanced information about frost, hail, and other weather conditions that can result in mitigating losses to a noteworthy degree.
- RFID Technology
It may seem like science fiction when a bag of potatoes can have a barcode that you can scan with your smartphone in order to access information about the soil and conditions in which potatoes yield best. It is not far-fetched with the assistance of sensors containing information about farming yields. In the not too distant future farms can market themselves and have their own loyal consumers.
- Vertical Farming
It is the method of producing food and cultivating plants in vertically stacked layers. Its most obvious advantage is that it enables growth within urban environments. This technology offers further advantages like having fresher foods available faster and at lower costs and utilizing available land where crops wouldn’t normally grow.