Agriculture is probably or one can say certainly the most important sector which in this modern world has somewhere left ignored in front of various other sectors like software, defense technology, civil engineering, robotics, etc. Agriculture give us food that we eat and without it our survival is almost impossible.
With around 330 million population living in USA it is not that easy to produce sufficient and nutrition-ridden food for everyone. With the rising population, reducing fertile land because of human encroachment and because of climate change it has become a very serious issue to get the desired production of various food items.
Even at present we have nearly given up on the traditional method of agriculture and have shifted to modern methods of agriculture. But at today’s time, even the modern method of agriculture doesn’t look sufficient to match the needs and also this method has also many side effects. Loss in soil fertility, health issues due to extra chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers, non-nutritious food production are some of the reasons why the modern methods of agriculture are finding it tough to sustain for the times to come.
Scientists, researchers, and the agriculture market have thus now aimed to find another method of technology and have been trying it sincerely to add future agricultural technology to handle the present mess and solve the problem coming our way.
What waits ahead for us?
In the year 2017, $670 million was raised by the tech startups in the agriculture field to help farmers grow crops with scientific precision using various cutting-edge technology, data analytics, software management, and other automated equipment. CEOs of these startups believe that everything related to farming of crop from farm to fork will be influenced by the growing technology.
Various issues have been faced by the farmers in recent years especially due to climate change which has been detrimental for the crop production destroying acres of crops. Another common problem that farmers face are the management of crops in the most efficient way.
Data analytics can help them big in this field by precisely suggesting what needs to be done to ensure that the efficiency of crop production rises and there is no wastage of land or time because of mismanagement.
Artificial Intelligence is another new field that is being planned to be brought into the sphere of farming which will have its own impact on farming and crop production. AI can help in various ways to increase the output and also to provide an eco-friendly condition to the farmers for the cultivation of crops.
USA also faces a shortage of laborers and therefore one can also see the usage of such robotic technology that can assist the farmers in agriculture. Robotics doesn’t always mean robots but machines that are much smarter than the present set of machines and which are empowered by data analytics and AI.
While we have mostly heard about data analytics in the field of business or technology but data analytics has spread itself into various and vast domains. Data analytics as we know is the analysis of data by setting up various parameters to obtain a desired set of results through a different perspective to help our needs.
Data analytics gives better information and perspective regarding a problem and helps us in getting the correct solution. Data analytics can help the farming sector in various ways. One such issue that is generally seen in the farming sector is climate and weather conditions.
Due to global warming and climate change one can easily see the swing in climate and weather which directly impacts farming. Various crops do not grow to their full potential because of untimely summer, winter and monsoon. Delay in rain or short rainfall severely impacts agriculture growth. Heavy rainfall at the same time if it comes untimely can have a severe impact on crops.
All such problems may not be stopped but can be resisted if we have a better understanding of climate and weather. Through analytics, we get to know much more about the weather. Also, it can help in understanding the growth cycle of various crops, how one can manage to grow various crops more efficiently.
There are many other issues that can easily be mitigated using analytics. Analytics can also help in understanding the growth cycle of crops, the amount of water they need and after how much period, the amount of fertilizer requirement, pest control, time after which the crop needs to be reaped, etc. This overall increases the efficiency and production of crops with the least damage and wastage.
Automation in Farming Sector
Farmers are already using various machines and tools in the farming field in order to cultivate their crops. Automation implies smart technologies powered by machines that can helpful to farmers in farming. The automatic and systematic irrigation system can not only water the crops properly but it can also reduce the wastage of water by stopping extra irrigation which also damages the crops.
Automatically managed irrigation also reduces the use of laborers or other farmers and also irrigates the crop proportionally which produces better results. Smart irrigation means irrigation by using data analytics which knows how much water and after what interval is required in which crop. Each and every crop requires a different level of water for its growth till the day of cultivation.
A smart irrigation method will thus make the job easier for the farmers without deploying any labor at the farm field. A lot has been invested in this field.
The driverless automated tractor is another such initiative that will help the farmers in better working without the requirement of extra labor or driver to manage the field. This will help in the deployment of tractors throughout the day without the need of any person. This will increase work productivity which will increase the overall production.
Other automated machines that prepare the field and soil for the sowing crops can be very helpful as preparing the field for sowing crops is the most time taking and tough job. You have to first clean the last remaining crops, clean the weed, irrigate the field, and plow the field, in order to sow new crops.
Automated machines operating automatically in sync with other machines can make your job much easier which will reduce time consumption and can boost productivity.
Genetic Changes in Seeds and Crops
The old traditional crops no longer produce enough food that can fulfill the demand of society. Scientists are already working and have also developed new methods through which a crop’s productivity can be increased. By making genetic changes in the seeds and crops, the productivity of such crops is increased. Various seeds are available in the market that has higher productivity than the normal crops.
Though there have been various criticism regarding the same but the scientists are working to find an eco-friendly solution to this problem. These seeds that are modified have various specialties in comparison to normal seeds. These seeds can grow without much water, in soil that doesn’t have much nutrition, in not-so-favorable weather conditions as naturally needed to grow that crop. These seeds are also resistant to pests and insects which normally impact the production.
Such changes though may not be very much welcomed by the world but it has the possibility to be in usage in times to come.
Increasing the Productivity of Soil by Improving its Quality
Soil has been badly impacted by pollution and extensive usage which has reduced its productivity, nutritive quality and water-absorbing capacity. Extensive usage of pesticides and fertilizers has also killed the natural microorganism required to cultivate a crop. Therefore an imbalance can be seen in the crop growth cycle which has severely impacted production.
New technologies in agriculture are aiming to improve the soil quality by increasing the microorganism levels in the soil, using solutions that increase the water holding capacity of the soil, make it much more fertile, and increases the nutritive quality of the soil. This has remained a big concern in the agricultural world as the reduction of soil quality has made things worse. Now scientists are working on the technology and hopefully will find out the best solution for improving the soil quality.
Whatever technology one is going to witness in the next few decades will also have to ensure that it remains very eco-friendly. Food production is not the only result one aims for but a sustainable and environment-friendly and balanced cultivation of crops that is not only beneficial to human consumption but it also doesn’t have any adverse impact on the soil, microorganisms, animals, and overall the environment.
When technology is used wisely it can literally help us in many ways. Technology or advanced tech in agriculture can not only help in better production but it can also boost the profits of farmers who are finding it hard to get enough returns.
Leaving aside the USA, there are various countries where the farming sector has been severely hit leading to suicides among farmers. If such latest tech is exported to these countries it can help them save their lives.