For centuries, the agriculture industry has been viewed as slow-paced and old-fashioned. Farmers often use traditional methods, avoiding technology and innovation.
But that’s changing rapidly. Agricultural advances have combined technology with tradition for the best of both worlds. And the results are nothing short of life-changing.
As the population rises, concerns of food shortages and environmental damage increase. We need agriculture more than ever, and these emerging technologies are stepping up to the plate as solutions.
Starvation is still an issue in many developing countries. Without the proper soil and water needed to nourish crops, many people are undernourished and disease-ridden.
Today’s researchers are attempting to solve the problem of starvation. By cultivating genetically modified crops, it’s possible to boost the volume produced.
Data analysis shows which seeds are resistant to common geographical factors and diseases. Plants are strategically cross-bred to grow in these prime conditions.
Through this process, farmers can produce more harvests. Lands that once couldn’t grow crops have options. The goal is to provide a way for everyone to have access to nutritional meals.
The Farmer’s Almanac was the go-to resource for decades when it came to planning for crops. Now, we can use technology to determine the best time of the season to plant and harvest.
Sophisticated weather modeling using computers and virtual simulations give farmers more control. From their smartphone, it’s possible to change the temperature of a greenhouse or cover their crops to protect them from a storm.
Farmers with large fields may not appreciate these smaller functions, but they benefit in other ways. When workers know detailed weather in advance, they can reduce damage. Extreme temperatures and severe precipitation aren’t as deadly to crops anymore.
Farm equipment has become complex over the past century. The advances are helpful, but they come with a serious drawback. The expense of fixing complicated machines was too much for a lot of farmers.
Computerized devices in tractors and other large equipment weren’t cost-effective. Operating the machine, plus the price of preventative measures, was too high. The hefty cost kept most farmers from taking advantage of the technology in the past.
By 2017, though, mass production and cheaper products turned this into a practical part of daily management. Now, enhanced telematics warns the user of a problem before it happens.
The software hooks up to the machine and gives the farmer plenty of notice before something goes wrong.
A mechanic can fix the issue long before it turns into a significant expense. This cuts overhead for farmers and increases the time they can spend on producing and harvesting crops.
Biometrics is a scientific innovation that allows farmers to use unique markers or identifiers to track cattle.
Old-school methods like ear tags and branding helped limit loss and keep track of herds. However, there were a lot of ways for determined thieves to get around those identifiers.
Biometric tags have begun replacing the limited tracking methods. The technology makes it easier for owners to manage their livestock.
These biometrics are similar to what we’d use to identify humans, like a fingerprint. Since animals don’t have fingers, farmers use traits like muzzle print images, retinal vascular patterns, and iris patterns. These characteristics are recorded when an animal is first marked.
With biometrics, an animal with a disease is recognized, caught, and isolated before it can spread the germs further. Animal vaccinations are recorded. If any individual is lost, it can be traced.
The potential use of biometrics in ag is only just being tapped. Since it’s an inexpensive technology, researchers are still working on ideas that it will help advance agriculture.
What happens when you have too many people to feed and not enough room to grow crops? Well, some farmers are raising the level of their harvest by planting food vertically.
Vertical farming is the solution to urban agriculture’s limited space problem. Farmers stack crops in layers instead of the traditional horizontal method. The result is more food, grown faster. The produce can be sold fresher, too, making consumers happy.
Although urban areas were the original target, this technology is spreading. Rural farmers are using it to optimize their harvests and grow crops their land wouldn’t normally support. With so many possibilities, vertical farming is an agricultural game-changer.
As agricultural innovations combine with traditional methods, farmers and researchers see the advantages. Techniques that improve nutrition and global hunger are in place, with infinite potential on the horizon.
Over time, the urgent issues of food shortages and environmental damage will be reduced. These five emerging technologies are already on the scene, fixing problems and creating life-changing solutions.