The need to produce more food is scaling rapidly day by day. Global agricultural land area is around 5 billion hectares which are about 38% of the total land area. The production area hasn’t increased but the increasing demands have to be met, this calls for a change in agricultural methods, techniques and major updates in technology to optimize the use of available resources to avail maximum results. Let’s learn about the technological advancements which have evolved over these agricultural years.
Today crop is used both for domestic and commercial purposes, it includes food crops, feeds crops, fiber crops, oil crops, ornamental crops, and industrial crops, among which crop is the most produced globally with 1.1 billion tonnes followed by wheat and rice with approximately 760 and 756 million tonnes each. China, India, the United States, and Brazil are the world’s top agricultural producers.
Crop production refers to the production of food and fiber and includes the management of all such inputs required to maintain and produce crops. A few of them include preparation of Soil, sowing, irrigation, weeding, application of manure, pesticides, and fertilizers, harvesting and storage. Therefore crop production refers to optimizing these factors to achieve the best yields.
Sustainable agriculture is defined as agriculture that meets societal demands while preserving and improving the available natural resources for present and future needs. It involves both farming and livestock management.
The majority of the resources used by the agro-ecosystem on Earth come from natural sources, and according to recent patterns in population growth and food consumption, by 2050 there will be more people than there will be food and resources. Therefore, employing sustainable farming methods aids in the management of Earth’s resources to enhance and utilize them effectively.
A significant environmental footprint is left behind by the effects of water scarcity, water pollution, land degradation, and resource depletion. Sustainable crop management has opened a door to resolving the issue with natural resources by utilizing a variety of methods to protect nutrients, soil, land, energy, water, and plants.
Resource efficiency, biodiversity enhancement, reduced pollution, environmental preservation, cost and waste reduction, and improved quality are all benefits of sustainable agriculture.
Technologies for climate resilient crop production.
Industry 4.0 is revolutionizing the agriculture industry. Agriculture is evolving with the use of latest tools and technologies that makes farms more productive and efficient. Crop productivity is getting more sustainable.
Digital technologies help to track sustainable practices, optimize usage of resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pave way for a circular economy. Digital technologies foster innovation and collaboration. AI, IoT and blockchain are enabling the future wave of climate change solutions. The unified data sharing platforms bring all the stakeholders onto a single platform in the value chain helping to get aligned on common goals.
Remote sensing technology
It is the use of satellite images to take photos and observe a field or ranch to analyze conditions and take necessary actions without even touching them. By calculating the distance between its reflected and emitted radiation, it determines an area’s physical characteristics.
Light energy from the sun travels in the form of waves, known as the electromagnetic spectrum. When this light hits the green plants, it can reflect, absorb or transmit depending on the plant’s characteristics and quality. These interactions between the plants and the sunlight are deleted by remote sensing. These data are unique to plant species which are determined by spectrums of healthy and affected crops.
- A top view of the land is projected to identify problems like overgrazing, weed infestation, insect damage, etc. even before it is visually identified and can only work on the affected land.
- It is used to identify crop health, nutrient deficiency, wind damage, plant population, water inputs, etc. which acts as a map to make decisions about inputs like fertilizers, pesticides, water and resources.
Blockchain is a ledger-based recording system where data entered is duplicated and shared across the entire network through computer systems that are decentralized, immutable, open-source and transparent.
Every step of crop production is recorded through blockchain, right from the sourcing of seeds until the crops reach the producers and also further into the supply chain. This makes it easier to track and trace if something goes wrong. Processes like procurement of seeds, cultivations, inputs, fertilizers and harvest are linked in a manner to trace back to their source.
Communication Systems using ICT
Information and communication technology (ICT) refers to devices that help transfer information from one place to another. It includes an array of technologies like telephones, smart devices, the internet, sensors, satellites, etc. which help transfer data that aid in the processing and management of agricultural activities.
In recent times, the implications of IOT, Big data, cloud computing, sensors, drones, etc. which help gather vital information and share in real-time aiding farm managers to monitor crops, adapt to changes in the environment, decide on resource inputs, etc. this has increased the efficiency of crop production and optimized the use of available resources.
- Helps in the quick transfer of information resulting in better decisions.
- Real-time data about crop health, weather, soil fertility, production, patterns, etc. can help reduce farmers’ reaction time.
Modern positioning technologies
Apart from the traditional Global positioning system (GPS), Geographical information systems (GIS) and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) are the new additions. These are military-grade systems used in agriculture to map out the exact location of the farmland and data regarding soil, crop, wildlife and many more. It also records any movement and transfers data in real-time.
This software is implemented to increase crop yield and reduce resource utilization. Thus all farming activities are monitored and worked upon to provide the best possible outcome.
- Seed sowing data, fertilizers application and resource inputs data are available in real-time, avoiding overlapping and skipping of areas.
- Maps out rout for automated machinery along with collecting data regarding soil and crop health.
- Yield management, labor and livestock monitoring can be done.
Latest hardware and support system
- Sensors and IOT
A simple but effective tool that transmits data directly from the field to the farmer. Sensors are instruments that are placed in the fields that when trigged do a pre-automated function.
Sensors can transmit various data such as soil quality, moisture content, weather conditions, latitude and longitude, air quality, temperature, pH levels and nutrients. Further with the help of IOT, sensors can schedule, water supply, fertilizer inputs, reminders, etc.
Today, drones are employed for both monitoring and production. With the aerial height that it provides, it becomes easier to monitor crops, farm mapping, detect weeds, pests, soil and crop changes, and many more.
Data Analytics Solution for Agriculture using AI
A majority of farming decisions are based on data and artificial intelligence (AI) provides such vital real-time data to not only automate the farming process but also to maximize yield and quality while reducing the use of resources.
- Soil management activities like monitoring health, moisture content, defects, nutrients, etc. are determined for diagnosing.
- Automates machinery in large areas of land for faster and precision production.
- Farm inputs are intelligently planned based on the type of plant, plant condition, required nutrients, etc.
- Forecasts and insights on time to sow, weather conditions, price fluctuations, etc. can be determined.
Future of farm management
Technology’s use in agriculture is unquestionably a positive development. It has improved many facets of farming, including management, planning, finances, and budgeting, in addition to increasing crop volume. Government assistance has also been provided in the form of investments, subsidies, and laws that support various breakthroughs and technical advancements.
TraceX’s Farm management solutions are powered by blockchain technology. The pre-harvest and post-harvest management modules ensure high crop productivity at low costs. The tracking of sustainable practices in the first mile and adhering to quality standards assures healthy crop yields. The streamlined workflows with process management builds a robust supply chain assuring higher operational efficiency with enhanced profitability.
According to recent estimates, the world’s food supply may run out by the year 2050. There is still a lot of food waste, which influences the environment and food security. By decreasing waste, boosting volumes, using fewer resources, and improving profitability, technology has helped to lessen the impact on the environment. Technological advancements are in synch with regenerative and sustainable agricultural practices to showcase their benefits to the agricultural world.
The food industry has indeed come a long way, over centuries of experience and the use of numerous methods and techniques have brought us to the state, where in we develop tools and machines that can support farmers’ views, in taking farms to the next level.
When technology is in synch with the principles of agriculture, the scope of usage becomes a broad gateway, which is in the process of exploring. There are new advancements made every day to improve the farming experience and to cater to this ever-growing demand. Therefore, this is the right path to venture into the heights of crop production.