Every industry in the world witnesses visible changes that reflect in the way of life of people. The world progressed to the modern one that it is now with the aid of technology, and the agriculture industry is no exception. Technological advancements have revolutionized agriculture and the whole industry no longer sticks to conventional farming practices, which are undoubtedly outdated in the modern world that we are in.
Different from the old times, less area is available for agriculture as multiple settlements and industries have gotten hold of lands that were previously used for farming. The challenge before the agriculture industry is maximizing production from the currently available agricultural lands, and this will not be possible without establishing a connection between agriculture and technology.
Here is a list of the newest technologies in agriculture.
Geographic Information system (GIS) based software is an essential tool that makes precision farming possible. Using GIS software, the farmers can analyze the changes in precipitation levels and monitor plant health and crop yields. By successfully optimizing pesticide and fertilizer application, farmers will be freed from the trouble of treating the whole farm with fertilizers and pesticides. Instead, they can focus on the required areas and save money, time and effort.
In GIS based agriculture, satellites and drones can be used to monitor the field and collect crucial data on weather, soil conditions, vegetation and terrain and the data can be used for accurate decision-making.
The rise of technologies of digital architecture has opened up various new data opportunities. UAVs, satellites and remote sensors gather information over an entire field 24 hours a day, and the collected information can be used to monitor humidity, temperature, soil conditions and plant health.
Analysis of plant health and soil conditions done by walking around the field and inspecting each section can be a daunting task. If farmers are educated well in advanced agricultural technologies like remote sensing, they can get a clearer idea about the situation of the field.
The algorithms of remote sensing interpret the environment of a field as statistical data and process the data to do learning based on it. The ability of the algorithm to predict the outcomes increases as the volume of statistical information collected increases and it helps the farmers in decision-making process.
Drones are especially useful when a small agricultural area is to be monitored and they offer higher resolution when compared to satellites. Farmers can accurately define plant height, presence of weeds, water saturation and crop biomass with the assistance of drones. They are excellent tools to fight the invasion of insect pests and can be used to apply insecticides on areas threatened by insect pests. Using drones for pesticide application reduces the likelihood of direct exposure to pesticides that could lead to chemical poisoning.
Even though drones are easy to use and can collect large volume of field data within a short time, its high price is a downfall. Drones can suitably monitor small areas of agricultural land but when it comes to large agricultural lands, drones often fail in the monitoring or mapping task. Complementing drone technology with satellite monitoring could give better results especially when specific zones need to be rechecked.
After achieving the productivity targets, the next step is food supply and adopting failsafe strategies in food supply is quintessential. Blockchain technology can be used to increase the efficiency of food supply owing to its ability to ensure tamper resistance and track ownership records that helps solve issues like safety recall, inefficiencies in supply chain and food fraud
Food traceability is key requirement that ensures food safety and the food industry is susceptible to making mistakes owing to the perishable nature of food. At times, public health get threatened by food-borne diseases, and tracking down the source contamination as the first step in analysis of root cause is a task that can be made easy with better food traceability.
Blockchain technology has applications in food industry beyond ensuring food safety. By establishing a ledger in the blockchain network, the technology helps in increasing the value of the current market and balances market pricing.
Agricultural sensors are used in smart farming and they monitor crops and optimize the yield by adapting to the detected changes in environmental conditions. The sensors are installed in robots, drones and weather stations and they can be controlled using mobile apps developed exclusively for this purpose.
Some of the agricultural sensors are
Location sensors- They are used to determine the parameters like altitude, longitude and latitude of any position by taking the help of GPS satellites.
Optical sensors- They are installed in drones and robots to measure soil properties like organic matter and moisture content by making use of light.
Mechanical sensors– They are used to measure mechanical resistance or possible soil complications.
To meet the food needs of the world population that is seeing an exponential growth, modern agricultural technology has to change a lot especially in the face of challenges like reducing agricultural lands and other resources.