The agriculture industry plays a critical role in numerous sectors of the economy both locally and internationally, from farmers and employment to supermarkets and restaurants, it's essential to understand what is going on in this industry and how it will affect the production and distribution of food. Agricultural trends that will be coming in the following year are likely to set the stage for many years going forward and beyond. Issues like new vaccinations, the use of global water resources and new technological ability to monitor crops even further will continue to play a role in the across South Africa and agricultural procedures in the rest of the world.
Future of Agriculture Technology
What is the future of agriculture technology? The answer is simple: drones, robots, and sensors. Not to mention that farmers can use scientific data to understand their crops better. For example, crop sensors are some of the most exciting technology on the market now. They can link robots to satellite farming procedures. After collecting sensor data, farmers can find out precisely what their crop needs and how much of it. The integration of technology into agriculture industries has a significant effect on the sector in both the structure of the workforce and the increases in productivity that tech innovations facilitate.
Electronic Ear Tags
Every animal can now have an electronic ear tag, so the farmer will know where they all are. These electronic tags automatically inform the farmer when the animals come near watering points or gates, making the lives of farmers easier as the tags will help decrease stock theft and other issues farmers deal will daily.
In the United States, some farms include digital scales, so as the animals cross them, the farmer can detect animals that might be losing weight and are sick, so they can be quarantined quickly to prevent sickness spreading and to get them treated.
Drone technology has been giving a high-tech makeover to the agriculture sector for some time now, and this has seen new and innovative ways in which drones are used throughout the crop cycle. Below we highlight two ways which drone technology will innovate agriculture in South Africa for the next few years.
- Crop spraying: Drones can scan the ground, spraying in real-time for even coverage and it will result in spraying to be five times faster with drones than tradition machinery.
- Planting: Drone and robotic planting systems can decrease planting costs by 85 per cent. These systems allow shooting seeds and nutrients into the soil, providing all nutrients necessary for growing crops.
Machine learning and Analytics
Farmers spend thousands per year on seeds and fertilizers; however, they still lack reliable information when it comes to deciding which seeds to buy, how many to plant, and which fertilizers or nutrients will produce the best outcome in different regions. That's where artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning come in. Machine learning and advanced analytics are being used to mine data for trends in every sector, and agriculture is no exception.
As technology gets more and more powerful, it enables us to process vast amounts of data that no human being could ever make sense of, arriving at new conclusions that might otherwise have not been possible.
As the world changes, so will the world of agriculture, all we can do is embrace technology as and when it comes. Do share some of your thoughts on the evolution of agriculture; we'd love to hear from you.