THE FUTURE OF AGRICULTURE
Agriculture is slowly, but steadily, moving from the days of just hoes and cutlasses, when farmers were seen as rickety, old and poor to a highly intellectual and technology-driven endeavour which is practised by the educated and young. Thanks to platforms like www.farmagric.com, anyone can benefit from the opportunity in agriculture without holding a hoe.
Beyond this, a new revolution is brewing up in the field of agriculture. It is no longer news that the world’s population is estimated to reach 9.1 billion and a consequent compulsory increase in food production of 70% by 2050. This poses a real challenge to farmers worldwide and multiple efforts have been concerted to the actualization of this feat.
However, technology, and the more recent advancement in Artificial Intelligence, seems to make this target a realizable one.
So far, AI has proven itself up to the task with its application in different areas of agriculture resulting in increased yield, reduced labour, lesser environmental impact and higher returns.
Farmers are already applying robots in the milking of dairy cows which has reduced the manual labour by 10% to 29%, and shifting resources and effort to management and control.
Driverless tractors have been birthed too. Farm equipment manufacturers are testing prototypes of robotic tractors and sprayers to handle fieldwork without human drivers. The first applications are already being employed in orchards and vineyards, where accuracy is crucial.
To deal more efficiently with the issues of water availability, soil health, and environmental impacts, the development of precision-smart technology has also surfaced in the agricultural industry. LettuceBot, developed by Blue River Technology, is a precision-smart implement that uses cameras, processors, computers and quarter-inch sprayers to thin lettuce plants in the fields. This type of technology results in less chemical use and a lower environmental impact.
Another noticeable feat is the use of drone technology in improving the efficiency of food production. Drones, also called Unmanned Aircraft Systems, are poised to have a major impact on farm production as a relatively inexpensive way to monitor crops. Drones are a much cheaper way to survey fields and collect images than using aircraft or satellites and are much faster than going around the field in person.
These are some of the different ways Artificial Intelligence have been explored in the improvement of agriculture. We, however, are only at the beginning of a whole new phase and we cannot possibly predict or imagine the extent to which this budding phase will change agriculture as we know it. We are only sure it will.
So, now is the best time, as a young person to posit yourself to join the already moving train. We can no longer complain of an inability to fit into a back-bending technology-starved system of agriculture but have, rather, been presented with opportunities to explore the unprecedented possibilities in agriculture using modern tools and technology.
What are you waiting for?