With the global population reaching 7.8 billion as of January 2021, Sustainable farming is taking the center stage in the AgroTech industry.
The COVID times have been challenging for most sectors. However, the agriculture sector and allied activities demonstrated extraordinary resilience. The food supply chain responded with innovative models to survive the COVID shock. These technologies and innovation models are turning out to be the growth driver for the longer run.
On the consumer end, the number of people on this planet is increasing rapidly and is only going to go up. The only way to fulfill the demands of such a large population is by injecting innovation and technologies on a massive scale.
Here we explore how innovation in agriculture can help today’s farmers achieve effective farming solutions for precision and increased productivity.
AI/ML and Data-analytics
The use of agricultural Artificial Intelligence optimizes the farming industry by reducing the workloads by harvesting data, analyzing, and yielding healthier crops through seasonal forecasting.
According to a research by Business insider, the number of average data points gathered on a farm will grow from 190,000 to 4.1 million by 2050.
Processing this mountain of data collected from farm machinery, drone images, and crop analytics is practically impossible for humans. Farmers are turning to AI to analyze and extract data intelligence from these data points to make informed decisions for better farming results.
With the help of Internet of Things(IoT) sensors, farmers can analyze temperature, weather conditions, the fertility of the soil, and water usage to determine the most feasible crop choice for that year.
Apart from ground data, computer vision and machine learning algorithms process data captured by drone systems. AI combined with vision systems can capture images to monitor the entire farm in real-time and analyze crop health as-well-as identifying the problem areas inside the farm.
Some of the use cases of AI/ML in Agriculture
- Deep-learning based algorithms for crop health monitoring
- Vision systems(drone/camera) for farm/crop monitoring
- IoT sensors to analyze weather/temperature/soil/light conditions in real-time
- Al-based algorithms to calculate the yield of a farm
- Early detection of pests, weeds, and crop disease (Precision Farming)
Computer Vision In Agriculture
Computer vision and image processing helps in the automatic extraction, analysis, and understanding of meaningful information from visual data be it an image or a video.
This technology is used to effectively inspect the condition and quality of the product which sometimes a human eye cannot do. Specifically, vision systems can be used to classify food into grades, detecting defects, and estimating the physical characteristics such as shape, size colour, and texture.
Some of the use cases of Computer Vision in Agriculture
- Vision system to sort and grade fruits and vegetables
- Quality control system for precision agriculture
- Machine vision for automation of farm devices
- Vision-based farm and cattle monitoring system
The unique decentralized structure of blockchain technology ensures transparency in the food supply chain.
Opposite to the traditional Information and Communication Technology (ICT) where data can be manipulated to favor personal interest, blockchain distributes the power of data management to a very large number of individuals through a peer-to-peer network. Hence, manipulation of recorded data is almost impossible. Alteration of data can only be done after the agreement of all the stakeholders.
It offers a reliable approach of tracing data and information from a product’s creations to its end. The reliable data and transparency of the entire process help in developing data-driven facilities for making farming smarter and less vulnerable.
Some of the use cases of Blockchain in Agriculture
- In bringing transparency to the food supply chain to track & eliminate bad actors and processes.
- In monitoring food item’s journey from farm to table (food traceability)
- Blockchain also helps by establishing a ledger in the network to balance market pricing
- In ensuring fair price of food items by sharing verified transactions with everyone involved in the supply chain
Managing crops, equipment and land is a never-ending job. Moreover, it is not realistically possible for a person to manage farm and livestock 24/7.
In this digital era, smart agriculture solutions are a must to gain total control over your farm and livestock. It helps in automating the workflow and in the hassle-free management of an agribusiness.
Smart sensors and ear-tags are already being used by farmers to monitor the health and location of farm animals. It helps in spotting animals in distress and preventing disease outbreaks. IoT sensors are also used to track and manage the ventilation of barns, improving the living conditions of animals.
Similarly, sensors and chips are being used to automate farm and equipment management, reducing inventory costs for farmers. To reduce post-harvest losses and improve the shelf life of seeds and fertilizers, sensors are used to automatically maintain the optimal temperature of storage areas.
Some of the use cases of Software solutions in Agriculture
- Software for predictive maintenance of farm equipment
- Workflow/Livestock management software
- Farm Accounting Software
- Agriculture Drone Software
The market of opportunity is huge, as ‘urban farming’ is catching up at a rapid pace globally. While the agriculture industry is facing complex challenges, diverse innovation solutions are available to recover from them.
The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted the food supply-chain nationwide. The only way out of this global food crisis is by blending innovation with domain knowledge to form a smart agriculture ecosystem. Precision technologies, for instance, IoT sensors, drone farming, AI/ML solutions, smart farm management software yield a multi-pronged impact in revolutionizing the current farming practices.
Interested in making your farm more efficient, safer, and more profitable? Schedule a meeting with our technology experts.
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