Written by Tania Piunno
Increased agricultural efficiency and productivity has the potential to change the economy in ways no other industry can. Utilizing major technologies in farming could mean increased food security for citizens, lower costs on those goods, and even less poverty.
This is why more and more farmers are transforming their infrastructures to make way for sophisticated hardware and software technologies such as sensors, robots, GPS systems, drones, mobile devices and data analytics to make their jobs easier and businesses more profitable. Industries in general are becoming increasingly intelligent, data driven and automated, and agriculture is no exception.
What is Smart Farming?
Smart Farming is the use of technology to collect and analyze vital data to radically change the speed and quality of agricultural production and efficiency.
The agriculture industry is turning to the Internet of Things (IoT) to take their farming potential to the next level while meeting the demands of today’s growing population. IoT enabled sensors placed across the land help with soil moisture and temperature monitoring for better conservation of resources such as water and fertilizer. Additionally, leveraging such technologies grants farmers the ability to forecast the weather, enabling them to adapt to new climate conditions, add water when needed, or monitor soil quality.
Gadgets such as drones help farmers monitor the condition of their land by being able to view it from up above. Animals are tracked and crops are observed more closely, providing agriculture producers a better understanding of their fields. In turn, they can make more informed decisions that positively impact their produce.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is driving efficiency in agriculture by simultaneously increasing food production and decreasing waste. AI-driven equipment speeds up production with minimal human involvement, freeing up the farmer’s time to analyze real-time data.
Why we need agriculture automation
Automation in farming equipment has a huge impact on the speed and quality of the work. That’s because robots are naturally more precise than humans. Today, automated robots are making vital contributions to nearly every industry by performing repetitive tasks that humans may find mundane or tiresome, causing costly inaccuracies. In applying degrees of precision, control and attention with automated farming equipment, hence we can eliminate human error during every step of production.
In addition, automated machines can operate 24/7, whereas humans clearly do not. Driverless tractors for example, are revolutionizing the farming industry by 1) allowing farmers to control their fleet remotely and simplifying their jobs, 2) Helping address the farm labour shortage deficit that is on the rise in this industry.
Key societal advantages of Smart Farming
1. Prices for customers are reduced
Modern technologies are being recognized as one of the key contributing factors to increased food production. Improved labour productivity and analytics with the help of technology assists farmers in cutting down waste. Real-time data insights allows for smarter decisions, so that food is produced in the right quantities and less of it is discarded. Prices naturally go down when food grows in abundance toward a sustainable food supply and demand balance, and more becomes available to consumers.
2. Environmental footprint decreases
A large portion of the environmental damage this world has endured is irreversible however, there are technologies helping lessen the impact of agriculture on the environment, fast-forwarding us to a more sustainable future. Sustainable agriculture is a term used to describe farming practices that are economically, environmentally and public health conscious.
Utilizing autonomous technologies is making a significant positive impact on how we produce food using natural resources such as sun and water. Doing more, with less is already beginning to push us in the right direction and helping agriculture be more eco-efficient.
The greater good
The steady rate at which autonomous technologies are driving change in farming is truly impressive. Needless to say, it is important to be socially responsible when applying technological advancements to agriculture as the potential side effects can be questionable if applied too rapidly, or recklessly. Using automated robots and applications to do our most basic work with a human element to view the “bigger picture” is the ideal balance required to manage a farm for the greater good.
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