The world has slowly been turned into a global village with technological revolution in almost all sectors, including agriculture. According to recent research papers, it is expected that in the few years ahead, innovative technologies is going to change the agricultural landscape.
Milestones made in invention and innovation in agriculture can be categorized into these three areas:
Engineering Sensors; and Automation
Sensors play a critical role in agriculture by enabling real-time analysis and trace ability of farm machines, crop states and livestock. Crop sensors advise the farmer on when and where to apply fertilizers, and the correct measures needed. Further, these sensors detect the health of each of the crops in the field.
Automation helps agriculture through the use of micro robots and large-scale robotics in evaluation and maintenance of the crops. Some of the agriculture technology that falls under automation includes robotic farm swarms. This involves the use of many agricultural robots, which have multiple microscopic sensors that predict, extract, monitor, and cultivate crops with zero human intervention. Precision agriculture also falls under automation. The farmer here can optimize return and minimizes the use or preserves resources at a larger scale by use of satellite imagery and advanced sensors. The precise sensor can predict farm real-time state and condition by allowing the use of complementary planting methods and advanced automated decision-making. Agbots, or agricultural robots also fall under this category. These robots automate some of the agricultural processes, like, soil maintenance, irrigation, harvesting, ploughing, fruit picking, weeding, or planting.
Today, tablets, phones and other connected equipment help farmers translate wisdom into precise and actionable insights that will guide their decisions throughout the farming processes from growing season, to harvest year after year. The precision that comes along with having relevant and accurate data at the farmer’s fingertips give room for optimizing applications of pesticides and fertilizer, and to predict their yields based on variables like soil type and composition, weather and other inputs. Advances in the digital technology are increasing efficiency and positively influencing large and small-scale farmers more than ever before. Even better, the combination of artificial intelligence with real time data will deliver deeper insights to farmers.
Summary – Top 7 emerging technologies
Soil and Water Sensors
Soil and water sensors are one of the most effective equipment in the agricultural industry. These sensors are mostly durable, relatively inexpensive and unobtrusive. This development has been adopted up-to the family farms level who are finding it cheaper to distribute them throughout their pieces of land, providing numerous benefits. For example, these sensors are able to easily detect nitrogen levels and moisture, and the farmers use this information to evaluate where and when to water or apply fertilize rather than rely on their own predetermined schedule. These results into more efficient use of resources and thus lowering the input costs. Moreover, it preserves the environment by conserving water, reducing fertilizer levels in local water bodies and limiting soil erosion.
Computerized weather modelling has become increasingly sophisticated. There are online weather services these days that put focus exclusively on the agricultural sector. Farmers can have access to such services on dedicated mobile applications that can run on ordinary consumer smartphone. Weather tracking gives farmers enough forecast and advance notice of storms, hail, frost, rains and other weather conditions that need precautions against to protect the crops or mitigate losses to a certain significant degree.
Remote satellite imaging has become common a little bit more sophisticated, allowing real-time crop imagery. These images are of high quality and in resolutions of greater than 5-meter-pixels. Crop imagery allows the farmer to examine his crops just like he were standing there. This enables the farmer to save on time and workforce that would have otherwise been employed to monitor the same. This increases efficiency. Moreover, satellite techniques can also be integrated with water, crop and soil sensors so that the farmers can always get real-time notifications along with other relevant satellite images. Use of drones, which are now affordably available, has further enhanced the imagery technology, capturing all the affected areas of a piece of farm.
Pervasive automation in agriculture technology industry simply means any technology that has minimal operator workload. Examples are the autonomous vehicles which are controlled by robotics or remotely hyper precision and through terminals, such as the RTK navigation systems that make the fertilization and seeding routes as optimal as possible.
The soil and water sensors, which are mentioned above, have set basis for traceability. These sensors offer accurate information to the farmer so that it can be associated directly with farming yields.