Table of Contents
- What is AgriTech?
- Cutting-edge Agriculture Technology
- Pros of Modern Agriculture
- Cons of modern agriculture
- Challenges of modern agriculture
- Get the White Paper
In modern agriculture, innovation is more crucial than ever. The sector as a whole is facing enormous problems, including growing supply prices, workforce scarcity, and changes in customer demands for transparency and sustainability. Agriculture firms are increasingly aware that answers to these problems are required.
The market value of smart farming has increased from $12.4 billion to $17.41 billion since 2020 and is expected to grow up to $34.1 billion by 2026. These numbers mean big opportunities for companies who want to be a part of modern farming. But let’s dive deeper into that topic.
What is AgriTech?
AgriTech, or agriculture technology, is the integration of technology and technical innovation to increase agricultural process efficiency and production. To put it another way, it is the use of technology to improve all aspects of farming and growing operations.
AgriTech applications are diverse and include a variety of agricultural and technology breakthroughs. The goal of all of these AgriTech innovations, however, is the same: to grow more food on less land and/or with fewer inputs.
Automation in AgriTech also helps farmers to save time and money by improving processes and replacing most of the labor required for a farming operation – which is often the most expensive input for a farming system.
Cutting-edge Agriculture Technology
Now let’s look at some examples of things that are new in agriculture technology and shaping the way this industry looks now.
GIS Software and GPS Agriculture
Farmers can use GIS software to track weather, rain, crop productivity, and other data throughout their area. By analysing the conditions of their multiple areas in the past, business owners can prepare for the future.
This technology, combined with GPS, is what leads autonomous tractors, seeders, and combine harvesters across the fields in a precise plan. GIS software is also at the heart of the usage of drones and satellites in agriculture, allowing for midair evaluation of crop biomass and height, weed presence, topography, and weather.
Genetically modified crops are the result of research. Scientists are employing genetic engineering to improve the nutritional content and crop-resistant features of food, starting with a very small quantity of genetic material (minichromosomes).
Because this innovative approach preserves the plant’s native chromosomes, it is a more socially acceptable way of crop enhancement than previous genetic alteration methods. The full potential of this new AgriTech has not yet been realised, but significant advances are expected in the near future.
The development of self-driving farming vehicles is also increasing. Self-driving tractors and robots are becoming increasingly widespread as a way to automatically regulate the costs of payrolls for human employees. There are robots that pick lettuce and strawberries, as well as gather grass, oranges, and cut grapes.
Some are tied to a human-powered tractor, while others are more customised with sensors and attachments that conduct extremely specialised jobs, such as determining where the cows are fed and treating damaged grass to stimulate it to grow again. These robots are frequently led by accurate GPS monitoring in order to travel only in the confined area between crop rows.
Satellites have been utilised for a variety of reasons throughout the years, so it should come as no surprise that scientists have developed a method to use satellites as AgriTech. Modern satellite photos enable farmers to use data from relevant spectral indexes to perform precision agriculture.
The following are the four key agricultural spectral indices:
- Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)
- Normalised Difference RedEdge (NDRE)
- Canopy Chlorophyll Content Index (CCCI)
- Modified Soil-Adjusted Vegetation Index (MSAVI)
The NDVI, NDRE, and CCCI are all methods for measuring the quantity of chlorophyll in crops. Low chlorophyll levels can indicate nitrogen deficiency before severe damage occurs, allowing the farmer to apply fertiliser precisely.
The MSAVI has been particularly designed to identify vegetation in newly sown fields or regions with a lot of bare soil. This score might indicate how effectively the region was planted or the health of crops in sparsely populated areas.
Urban and vertical home farming is growing increasingly popular, allowing producers of some crops to grow year round, independent of the weather outside. However, one of the issues is determining the optimal wavelength of sunlight to adapt to the increase in confined interior areas.
While full-spectrum fluorescent lighting has historically been employed in indoor illumination to stimulate plant development, improvements in light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in recent years have given a cheaper and superior alternative. Farming has become easier and wiser thanks to advances in agricultural technology.
Drones and robotics advancements have ushered in a new method of farming. Self-navigating harvesting combines, as well as robotic sowing and weeding are now possible because of advances in technology. The farm’s manpower requirements are reduced by automating these repetitive chores. Scheduled irrigation may be as basic as automatic watering or as complex as soil monitoring around specific plants.
Farm equipment automation is solving the labour deficit and relieving farm workers of stress. Self-driving machines can work around the clock, resulting in higher yields. When physical work is entrusted to equipment, farmers may focus on long-term commercial success through planning and problem-solving.
Previously, if a foodborne disease was discovered on produce from a certain region, the entire region would suffer a profit-destroying recall to safeguard the public. By correctly tracing the supply chain journey of all items inside a food system, blockchain technology seeks to lessen the widespread consequences of such concerns. That’s because food contamination can be traced back to its source.
For blockchain technology to be successful, each producer must share a real-time digital record of their food’s journey. Some manufacturers still preserve paper records of their sales and shipments, making it difficult to determine the origins of a product fast.
A completely digitised blockchain will increase market openness, revealing precise supply and demand for food goods. This real-time food market knowledge might help companies price their products and plan their production better.
The growth of digital agriculture and its associated technologies has created a plethora of new data opportunities. Remote sensors, satellites, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) may collect data over an entire area 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These can keep track of plant health, soil conditions, temperature, humidity, and so forth. The volume of data generated by these sensors is mind-boggling, and the importance of the figures is obscured in the avalanche of that data.
The goal is to provide farmers with a greater grasp of the situation on the ground by using modern technology (such as remote sensing) that can tell them more about the state of the crops than farmers can see with their own eyes. It’s not only more precise, but also faster than monitoring it when strolling or driving across the fields.
Remote sensors allow algorithms to interpret the environment of a field into statistical data that farmers can understand and utilise for decision-making. Algorithms process data, adjusting and learning based on the information they receive. The more inputs and statistical data are gathered, the better the algorithm will be at predicting a variety of outcomes. And the idea is for farmers to employ artificial intelligence to improve their crops by making smarter judgments in the field.
Soil and Water Sensors
Humans have always depended on their limited senses to perceive their surroundings. Do you have any concerns about your crops? Is there an issue with your food that you can smell or taste? Robotic sensors give information that goes well beyond what we can perceive.
Sensors measure soil temperature and pH, humidity, plant health, and insect stress. When robotic sensors are used on a farm, human error may be decreased and labour time can be handled more efficiently. The information obtained from these sensors is not only accurate, but it is also relayed to the farmer swiftly and remotely.
The data collected by remote sensors is used to generate algorithms. As with any computerised program, accuracy increases as more data is handled. Over time, remote sensors might aid in the development of a farming algorithm capable of reliably predicting a range of crop outcomes based on real-time field circumstances. This information can help farmers plan and adjust in order to avoid crop losses and optimise earnings.
Most farmers used to treat their fields as a single entity. To suit the demands of their crops as a whole, they watered and applied fertiliser or insecticides on the whole area. Technological advancements have enabled farmers to more precisely monitor the demands of their plants. High-tech monitoring of moisture levels, soil conditions, and insect damage enables for targeted intervention on tiny, personalised fields.
Precision agriculture reduces farming costs by reducing the amount farmers spend on fertiliser, herbicides, and irrigation. Farmers are getting more efficient as they focus on individual requirements rather than the farm as a whole.
Agriculture is not the only industry that uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. Farmers are discovering that adding RFID into agricultural technology might enhance crop tracking. RFID is comparable to a barcode that can be scanned from a distance of many feet, even through dirt. RFID tags can store up to 2 KB of data, making them ideal for marking crop name, location, and planting date.
RFID also makes it easier to track agricultural products when they are delivered. A quick scan may show the product’s origin as well as the processing date and time. RFID technology can decrease human error by securely storing data on the product. When RFID is used, retailers and customers may be sure that the origin farm and manufacturing date of food goods are correct.
Modern greenhouses, which were once solely utilised for early season seedlings, now allow year-round agricultural production. Technological advancements have enabled farmers to construct an indoor growing environment using LED lights and automated control systems.
Indoor crops may be grown with the right quantity of irrigation, light, and humidity thanks to robotic devices. Growing techniques that take advantage of the contemporary greenhouse include vertical farming, hydroponic farming, and aeroponic farming.
Indoor Vertical Farming
Indoor vertical farming entails building a confined, regulated environment in which to grow produce piled vertically on top of each other. Growing crops vertically takes significantly less area than typical row farming. While this method has mostly been used in urban areas, anyone trying to optimise productivity might profit from growing vertically.
Vertical farming techniques include standard soil use, hydroponic techniques that employ nutrient-dense water, and aeroponic techniques that spray water and nutrients solely on the plant roots. Indoors, artificial grow lights are used to provide better control over the growing process. Vertical farming often uses 70% less water than conventional farming. It frequently has lower labour requirements, and some vertical farms even use robotic planting and harvesting to further reduce labour costs.
Pros of Modern Agriculture
When discussing agriculture, we must not overlook its most recent development. Given the changing environment and the possibility of harvest failures, modern agriculture’s huge dependence on a few agricultural crops beckons problems. As a result, agriculture has given birth to new farming ventures that claim to eradicate the opposing issues of obesity and starvation.
Experts in agriculture and farmers have been able to increase crop diversity to be ideal for food security and human health. They are also developing novel ways to introduce disease-resistant crops with excellent yields. Furthermore, agriculture has campaigned for eco-friendly agricultural strategies that counter climatic difficulties while also protecting the local natural system and ensuring food and water security.
Farmers can prevent the evaporation and waste of water with drip irrigation systems. These can feed water straight to the roots of the plant.
Farmers can also prevent soil erosion by utilising cover crops and no-tillage agricultural practices. These measures assist in safeguarding the environment while also increasing crop production.
Farmers can minimise their total pesticide and fertiliser consumption by employing precision agricultural practices. This saves money while also protecting the environment from dangerous chemicals.
Agriculture is, undoubtedly, the foundation of human food consumption. With the recent advancements and improved technology, many processed foods have emerged. But all of them can be traced back to agriculture, which includes crop growing and animal raising. Agriculture provides the raw ingredients required in manufacturing. Cotton, sisal, bamboo, and a long list of other raw materials are prime examples of that.
Increased productivity and crops
Agriculture production has improved tremendously as a result of modern technology. Farmers can work greater agricultural tracts more effectively with tractors and other machinery. Automatic in-row weeders help minimise the time required to manually weed crops.
Robotic lettuce and carrot harvesters help to accelerate the harvesting process. Separators can also aid in improving product quality by eliminating broken or undesired materials.
Modern technology has had a huge influence on agriculture, allowing farmers to produce more food in less time. As a result, a greater food supply can assist in feeding the world’s rising population.
Also farmers can more precisely target the regions that require fertiliser or irrigation by employing precision agriculture techniques. This helps to decrease waste and increase crop yields.
Technology has transformed the transportation business, making it more convenient and efficient. Farmers used to have to rely on horses or oxen to move ploughs and carts, while commodities were delivered by wagon or carriage.
Tractors and trucks can now readily travel long distances, while aircraft and trains can move people and products around the world in a couple of hours. Technology has also made it simpler to track cars and design routes, resulting in fewer delays and accidents.
As a result, transportation is now faster, cheaper, and more dependable than ever before thanks to contemporary technologies.
Machines can accomplish much of the heavy lifting on farms, lowering labour expenses. Furthermore, machines can work longer hours than people, increasing farm output.
Precision agriculture may assist farmers in using less pesticides and fertilisers, allowing them to save money while also helping the environment. For example, one can specifically target the regions that need fertiliser by employing GPS mapping devices. This helps decrease waste and has a low environmental effect.
Cons of modern agriculture
New technology in agriculture can also be harmful to the environment. Farmers, for instance, might damage groundwater sources if they abuse pesticides and fertilisers. Furthermore, manufacturing agricultural equipment frequently necessitates the use of hazardous chemicals and materials that might harm the environment.
Uncontrolled chemicals may damage water, air, and soil, making life more difficult for the average person. Dirty water is hazardous to both humans and animals, as it causes waterborne infections, while polluted air causes respiratory problems.
A poisoning from dissolved chemicals is quite likely to result in death. Air pollution is extremely dangerous, especially for the elderly, children, and persons who have difficulty breathing. Their lives will be jeopardised if the air they breathe is contaminated, and their conditions may worsen or possibly lead to death.
Furthermore, if pesticides and herbicides come into touch with an individual’s skin when spraying crops or animals, their health may be jeopardised. This may result in a burning sensation and potential skin injury.
Beef and dairy production may have a negative impact on grassland. By nature, most humans are profit-seeking beings that aim to maximise monetary gain at any costs. This ambition to produce more meat and milk leads to overgrazing, which depletes the pasture and exposes the land to soil erosion agents. It is important because rich soil that is free of erosion nourishes plants.
Eroded soil has little or no nutrients and supports little or no growth. Overgrazing is a dangerous environmental practice since it contributes to semi-aridity. Semi-aridity disrupts the current balance and puts humans, water supplies, and other creatures at risk by exposing them to uncontrolled soil dust, which contaminates water sources and renders them unfit for drinking.
The spread of disease
Some illnesses are easily transmitted from animals to people. These illnesses spread in a variety of ways, including the eating of contaminated animal products such as meat and milk. Consumers might end up in major health problems if they are not properly checked. Given the nature of swine flu, COVID-19, and other diseases caused by the use of toxic food, this situation is not surprising.
Humans require food and nourishment. As the population grows, so does the need for food, forcing agricultural managers to devise new methods of producing more and more. As a result, more land is required, resulting in deforestation and the relocation of certain populations to suit humanity’s ever-increasing need. Deforestation has an impact on the environment and adds to greenhouse gas emissions. The property, which was formerly covered in forest, has been transformed into an agricultural zone. Furthermore, certain crops are cultivated in inappropriate regions, resulting in increased land overuse.
Challenges of modern agriculture
The global food system has a significant environmental impact. Agriculture, in fact, takes up about 38% of the earth’s surface, considerably more than any other human activity. Furthermore, agricultural crop irrigation accounts for 70% of world water demand, and agriculture directly contributes to approximately 18.4% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The expansion of agricultural land can also result in deforestation, increased GHG emissions, and biodiversity loss.
Feeding the growing population
The global food system is expected to supply safe and nutritious food to a population that is predicted to increase from 7.7 billion now to approximately 10 billion by 2056. Not only will there be more mouths to feed, but as wages rise in developing nations, the demand for meat, fish, and dairy will rise as well.
Providing livelihood for farmers
Millions of people rely on the agro-food sector for a living. Most individuals living in severe poverty live in rural regions, where food production is frequently the most important economic activity. There are an estimated 570 million farms in the world now, and millions more engage in food-related jobs.
Agriculture, as one of the world’s oldest businesses, has reached a technical tipping point. The profitability and sustainability of one of the world’s oldest sectors may depend on this technological shift, and those that embrace it from the start may be best positioned to succeed in agriculture’s connected future.
While some modern farming technologies do not require the involvement of a software development company, there are many that need it. In that case, it’s highly important to find a software contractor with strong experience and convincing expertise. Bamboo Agile can become a reliable partner to conquer the AgriTech industry with. To start, just book a free consultation. Our team is open to your ideas and is ready to lead you through the process of modernising farming technology.
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