Innovation in modern agriculture is more paramount to the industry than ever before. As a whole, challenges from labor shortages, changes in consumer preferences, rising costs in supplies, sustainability and transparency all contribute to the demand for intelligent solutions needed for these challenges. Here are some of the new technologies in the industry that allow farmers to increase production while lowering costs.
Livestock Farming Technology
New developments in livestock management technology are significantly improving this vital industry sector. Tracking and managing the care and feeding of animals, financial records, and worker supervision is now more accessible through data-driven solutions. Livestock farming technology can come in digital, genetic and nutritional forms to enhance animal and livestock welfare and production capacity. Wearable sensors monitor everything from health-related issues to daily activities and provide insight into herd activity. These actionable observations lead to efficient and timely decisions to optimize yields of livestock herds and profitability.
Farm automation, or smart farming, is an innovative technology that automates crop and livestock production processes. New advancements cover mundane tasks that address issues from labor shortages to the environmental footprint of farming. For instance, intelligent water irrigation systems control water flow through wireless sensors, covering both challenges. A drip irrigation timer system can remotely cover extended areas over challenging terrain, saving labor costs. Growers have complete control over irrigation schedules, reducing water use for a more sustainable operation.
Indoor vertical farming is the method of growing produce stacked one above the other in a limited space. The technique uses vertically mounted shelving in a controlled and closed environment. Generally, the setups are hydroponic, where nutrient-dense water bowls are the source for growing vegetables, eliminating the need for soil. Several advantages to vertical farming include:
- Control of variables such as water, humidity and light
- Solving labor shortage challenges with the use of robots to handle logistics, planting and harvesting
The greenhouse industry will be responsible for nearly USD 78.9 billion by 2030. As the market grows, modern greenhouses increase automation to tailor to the growing enterprise. Some innovations include climate control software, pH sensors and automated irrigation systems. These tech-heavy solutions solve pest management and disease challenges, increasing production and allowing farms to scale upward significantly with the growing demand. The industry uses all available sources to build the infrastructure and compete in the current market.
Agricultural Blockchain Technology provides the industry with data traceability to improve food safety, a critical addition. It can track ownership records to solve challenges such as supply chain inefficiency, safety recalls, food traceability and food quality fraud. Perishable foods and the threat of foodborne disease are at the center of the advancement of this technology, and tracking the sources of contamination is a valuable asset to the food chain.
Many opportunities present themselves for the new data provided by the rise of digital agriculture. Farms can track plant health, temperature, humidity and soil condition information 24 hours a day using satellites, remote sensors and UAVs. Artificial intelligence allows farmers more insight into their operations that they cannot see with the naked eye. Algorithms can interpret a field environment and transform it into statistical data, allowing farmers to use the information to make better decisions. The more data it collects, the better the algorithm can assist farmers in achieving goals for a better harvest.
The invaluable evolution of technology for commercial farms is palpable. New precision agricultural companies are changing how farmers control all crop variables to increase efficiency and manage costs. Information technologies are the key to innovative systems such as robotics, GPS guidance, sensors, drones, control systems and autonomous vehicles. Extensive data gathered by these technologies help guide immediate and future decisions for every commercial farm. Key examples are where to apply a particular fertilizer, chemical or seed in the field.
Reimagining the future of commercial farming through technological advancement is defining the agricultural process. The importance of higher crop productivity, sustainability and overcoming the challenges farmers face today stem from these innovations, and the benefit to the industry will continue.