Agriculture plays an important role in the economy of the world; the entire world depends on agriculture for survival. This is attributed to the fact agriculture serves as a source of the basic human needs. Over the years, there has been an increase in the demand for agricultural production especially considering the increase in the world’s population and the need to provide food security in different parts of the world.
With the introduction and the advancement in technology, new farming methods have been introduced, which are slowly replacing some of the commonly used traditional methods of farming. This article is a comprehensive review of the subject of smart farming and how it has influenced agriculture in general. Read along to find out how and why smart farming is the future of agriculture technology.
What Is Smart Farming?
Smart farming refers to a farm management concept that uses modern technology with the aim of increase the quality and quantity of agricultural products. This approach includes aspects such as the Internet of Things (IoT), data management, soil scanning, as well as the access to GPS among other smart technologies. Over the years, smart farming has become useful to all farmers – small and large scale, in that it gives farmers access to technologies and devices that help in the maximization of products’ quality and quantity, while reducing the cost of farming.
Is smart farming the future of agriculture?
Research carried out in 2015 found out that there is a considerable decrease in the land available for agricultural use by about 0.7%. For the world to maintain or increase its food output and become food secure, there is a need for increased productivity. However, with the state of things, any increase in production is not possible without straining the environment if traditional farming methodologies are to be followed. However, smart farming promises a brighter future with the introduction of better farming technologies that aim at reduced cost, better efficiency in farming, and quality and high products.
For instance, with smart farming, you get the chance of effectively monitoring the needs of your farms, use fertilizers and pesticides well and selectively, as well as adjust how you use certain farming practices with the aim of better and healthy output.
The Future of Smart Farming
The prospects are high that smart farming will change agriculture in a great way. Smart farming is expected to bridge the gap between large and small-scale farmers in both developing and developed countries. Technological advancement, growth in the internet of things, and the introduction of smartphones have contributed immensely to the adoption of technology in agriculture. Different countries understand the worth of these technologies, which explains why most countries are eager to promote the implementation of precision farming techniques.
There is no doubt that most agricultural operations that were practiced traditionally have changed significantly nowadays. This can be attributed to technological advancement the adoption of smart farming techniques and methodologies such as the use of machines, devices, sensors, and information technology. Presently, farmers make use of sophisticated technologies like aerial images, moisture and temperature sensors, GPS technology and robots. Such technology makes farming not only to be a profitable venture but also an environmentally friendly, safer, and efficient.
Significance of Smart Farming
Perhaps, you are concerned about the importance of smart farming and agricultural technology. Presently, there is no need for farmers to apply pesticides, fertilizers, and water uniformly across the entire farm. The introduction of technology in agriculture and specifically smart farming allows farmers to use the lowest quantities of these elements, and target certain areas of their farm, or even apply them selectively on given.
Some of the benefits expected following the use of smart farming in agriculture include:
High crop productivity: the use of better and improved technologies in farming following the adoption of smart farming guarantee improved productivity since the focus is on maximizing inputs and reducing wastage.Decrease in the use of pesticides, fertilizers, and water: Traditionally, farmers applied water, fertilizers, and pesticides even without determining where such elements are needed in the farm. However, with smart, you apply water and other chemicals whenever and wherever they are needed, and in the right quantities. Reduced use of these chemicals leads to low food prices, as the cost of farming goes down.Reduce strain on the environment: Nowadays, smart farming has introduced better approaches to increasing productivity while at the same time minimizing wastage of chemicals, water, and other elements applied on the farm. The implication is that you do not have to expose the environment with unnecessary harmful chemicals when you can use them sparingly and where they are highly needed.Increase in the safety of farmers and workers: Smart farming introduces the use of machines and better technologies that limits the involvement of workers on the field hence, there is no need to worry about the safety of farmers and workers anymore.Low disposal of chemicals into groundwater and rivers: Smart farming promotes sparingly use of chemicals and the adoption of environmentally friendly farming practices. This implies that there will be little to no chemicals deposited into rivers and on the environment in general.
Evidently, smart farming is a great farming concept that if implemented appropriately can help farmers reap a lot of benefits including improved output, better quality, and reduced costs. However, such innovation requires capital, knowledge, and professional skills. You need to combine more than just the passion for farming; you need the right technologies and skills to analyze data, account and monitor changes in your farm, as well as analyze market and price changes. On the other hand, you will need to have enough capital to implement smart farming in your farm. However, you do not need to invest a lot in smart farming as you can start with one device or technology and upscale in the future. The bottom line is that while smart farming is important in agriculture and promises better outputs, it is advisable to research extensively on the best practices that align with your farming goals and needs.