We've come a long way in the methods that are used in farming. Over the past century, technology has continued to advance, helping streamline farming practices to make them more efficient. The explosion in the population of the earth has necessitated an evolution in farming practices that allow farmers, ranchers, and all others involved in agriculture to increase production to satisfy the demand for more consumable goods. Advancements in technology have made it possible to streamline agricultural operations to deliver more food on tables at a faster pace. The innovations in new farming methods help to save water and protect the environment as well. Here are five key advancements in agricultural technology that have changed the way that we produce foods and beverages.
1. Soil and Water Sensors
One of the biggest achievements in streamlining farming practices, conserving water, and reducing the costs of farming is the development of soil and water sensors. This type of monitoring technology is an environmentally friendly means of determining when crops require water. This helps to avoid wasting this precious resource by only watering when it's necessary. Water sensors also limit the amount of erosion while reducing the levels of fertilizer that wash into lakes and rivers from irrigation practices. Soil and water sensors detect the levels of nitrogen and moisture in the soil to help farmers determine if and when fertilization is needed. Both types of sensors are affordable options for reducing production costs and protecting the environment. Farms use the information to alter their methods from fertilizing and watering on a preset schedule instead of performing these tasks on an as-needed basis. Prescheduled irrigation often wastes water because it does not take into consideration rainstorms or humidity that can decrease the need for watering plants. Using the system of soil and water sensors provides farmers with more precise information that is better for the health of the crops as well.
2. Weather Analytics
Weather Analytics is an advanced technology that uses data collected about the weather to correlate the environmental and climate factors through satellite imagery on plant condition. This technology allows farmers to apply the precise amount of irrigation that is needed to grow healthy and productive crops. The information is also used to predict the likelihood of excessive heat or damage from frost. It gives farmers a heads up about the need to protect plants from harsh conditions. Another benefit of weather analytics is that it helps farmers to plan for the optimum irrigation method for the predicted conditions. For example, in a drought, farmers benefit from using drip irrigation with either manual or automatic valve control for watering the areas that are most in need of irrigation.
3. Drone Technology
Drone technology is another advancement in technology that is improving the way that we produce crops. Drones are efficient for identifying areas in larger farms and orchards that require replanting. Drones are used to fly over crops and identify areas that are failing to thrive or that may have been damaged by extreme weather, pests, or other factors. It's a time-saving method for monitoring plant health over large expanses of farmland. Drones offer video capability and they can be controlled to hone in on specific areas to determine what is going on in specific areas. Field scouting helps by allowing farmers to stay on top of potential issues before they become larger problems.
The photos taken by the drones are georeferenced to provide accurate measurements in cases of crop loss that require evidence for claim adjusters. Drone scouting fields are becoming more widely accepted in agriculture. They're also used for the management of weeds for the identification of problem areas in fields and orchards.
4. Indoor Vertical Farming
Indoor vertical farming is used in areas where available land is scarce. This allows plants to be grown indoors with more plants in a smaller amount of space. The benefits of vertical farms are immense. the practice involves stacking plants on top of one another in a controlled and closed environment. Not only does it take up less space, but vertical farming also lessens the impacts of farming on the environment. Vertical farming is more common in urban areas. The technology used to grow plants in this manner may be grown in soil or hydroponically, supplying nutrients in a bowl of water at the roots of the plants. This type of farming also maximizes crop yield and reduces the cost of labor.
The introduction of robotics into the agricultural industry is a recent innovation that is just beginning to emerge. Small robots are currently used in a swarm to plant corn crops. The AGCO Fendt Xaver is the new invention that has the capacity for replacing a traditional eight-row planter that runs on petrol when using 12 units. The new technology is made with an integrated planting unit that operates on cleaner energy. It requires a 48-volt battery that feeds four electric motors. You can get approximately five hours of work from a 30-minute charge. This creation falls into the agbot category. It became an award-winning invention, taking the Hanover, Germany 2017 silver medal for innovation. Robotics is also being used for mechanical weeding machines that rely on electric power for autonomous fieldwork. each robot is programmed with a customized crop detection system that uses a camera and machine learning to distinguish crops from weeds. This advanced technology also can make turns without human intervention. Robotics show promise for reducing the cost of labor for farmers in the future. Thanks to these advances in technology, farming is likely to become more profitable in the future. Robotic technology is also a cleaner alternative to farming machinery that requires the use of petrol power engines. Robotic tech leaves a smaller carbon footprint. It's a cleaner approach to streamlining farming practices while helping to protect the planet.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson